Obama met with Emanuel before speech to police chiefs

Obama met with Emanuel before speech to police chiefs
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President Obama met briefly with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel before his speech to police chiefs in the Windy City on Tuesday, the White House said Wednesday. 
 
“I don’t know if it was an extended conversation, but I know they got a chance to briefly catch up,” spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I think it was a very casual conversation.”
 
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Obama and his former White House chief of staff have been at odds over whether the “Ferguson Effect” is a factor in a crime uptick in some U.S. cities, including Chicago. 
 
In his speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the president offered a rebuke of the argument — made by FBI Director James Comey, Emanuel and others — that the crime spike is partially due to police changing the way they do their jobs out of concern of being videotaped. 
 
Without naming Comey or Emanuel, Obama said statistical evidence does not show there is an overall crime wave sweeping the U.S., arguing that it’s important not to “cherry-pick data or use anecdotal evidence to drive policy or to feed political agendas.”
 
Obama acknowledged that in some cities, including Chicago, “gun violence and homicides have spiked,” but added, “So far, the data shows that overall violent crime rates across the nation appear to be nearly as low as they were last year and significantly lower than they were in previous decades.”
 
Obama praised Emanuel and other city officials for their efforts to repair relations between police and the communities they serve. But he also acknowledged that violence continues to plague many Chicago neighborhoods. 
 
"This is not something that I just think of as being academic," he said. "I live on the South Side of Chicago, so my house is pretty close to some places where shootings take place."
 
Emanuel has argued that anti-police sentiment in the wake of killings of unarmed black men in cities like Ferguson, Mo., have caused officers to stop policing aggressively out of fear of being the subject of a viral video that could end their career. 
 
“We have allowed our police department to get fetal and it is having a direct consequence,” Emanuel told Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a forum in Washington earlier this month. 
 
“They have pulled back from the ability to interdict,” he added. "They don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”