Jeff Sessions filed consent decree opposition, increases federal law enforcement staff in Chicago
The Trump administration said Friday it will send five new prosecutors to Chicago in an effort to combat the violent crime problem in the nation’s third most populous city.
The move comes on the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a brief opposing a consent decree between the Chicago Police Department and the State of Illinois.
Mr. Sessions signaled the motion would be filed in a statement earlier this week, saying the agreement would undercut police efforts to curb gun violence in Chicago.
“There is one government institution and one alone that has the ability to make Chicago safer that is the Chicago Police Department,” Mr. Sessions said in a statement Friday. “Our goal should be to empower it to fulfill its duties not to restrict its proper functioning or excessively demean the entire Department for the errors of a few.”
“Make no mistake: unjustified restrictions on proper policing and disrespect for our officers directly led to this tragic murder surge in Chicago,” he said.
A federal judge is set to rule on the consent decree later this month. It was proposed after an Obama-era Justice Department probe accused the Chicago police of racially discriminatory tactics.
The actions come as the President Trump continues to bicker with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over issues like stop and frisk policing and Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city,
In addition to the new prosecutors and consent decree challenge, U.S. Attorney John Lausch will create a gun crimes prosecution team that will focus on cases emerging from Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods.
Also, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will assign five violent crime coordinators to the city.
The additional manpower will supplement the Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force, a team of 21 ATF agents and 12 Chicago police officers, created by Mr. Sessions in June 2017.