Sessions in Chicago: If you want more shootings, listen to ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter

Sessions in Chicago: If you want more shootings, listen to ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter
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Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Mueller closes in on Trump Mueller's findings don't matter The Hill's Morning Report — Trump shakes up staff with eye on 2020, Mueller probe MORE said Wednesday that groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Antifa and Black Lives Matter are responsible for an increase in violence in Chicago.

"There's a clear lesson here: if you want more shootings, more death, listen to the ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter and groups who do not know the reality of policing," Sessions said during remarks at a conference in Illinois. "If you want public safety, then listen to the police professionals who have been studying this for 35 years."

Sessions, pointed to a study from the University of Utah released earlier this year, that appeared to show a correlation between Chicago's rise in homicides and a dip in stop-and-frisk police methods.

The study's methodology has been questioned by other reports, which do not point to the ACLU settlement as the cause of Chicago's spike in homicides. Other cities, the Chicago Tribune reported in May, adopted parallel or more stringent requirements for stop-and-frisk practices, but did not see a comparable rise in homicides.

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"The professors found that the increased crime cost a staggering $1.5 billion and noted that 78 percent of its victims were African-American and 16 percent were Latino," Sessions said. "Ninety-four percent of the victims were minorities."

Professors called this "the ACLU effect," Sessions said, in which policing dropped and crime rose.

"As former U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon put it, 'cops stopped making stops and kids started shooting more.'"

The Justice Department, of which Sessions is the head, found last year that the reasons behind Chicago's increase in violent crimes were "broadly debated and inarguably complex." The department also said the Chicago Police Department was less effective due to "systems that have allowed CPD officers who violate the law to escape accountability."

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment further on Sessions's remarks. 

In a statement late Wednesday, the ACLU of Illinois condemned Sessions's remarks.

"Yet again, this administration encourages unlawful behavior and strong-arm tactics, instead of supporting commitments by local police to do the hard work of building respect and relationships with the communities they serve," Karen Sheley, ACLU of Illinois's Police Practices Project director wrote. "Attorney General Sessions essentially argues that police officers are too scared to do their jobs if they have oversight. This claim insults officers and downplays the harms of unlawful policing," Sheley added.

Sessions and President Trump have criticized the level of crime and gun violence in Chicago on numerous occasions. Sessions has called the violence "unacceptable" and pledged to send in federal agents to address the issue.

Sessions's trip on Wednesday came on the heels of explosive comments from Trump in which he tore into his attorney general, telling Hill.TV in an exclusive interview that he doesn't have an attorney general.

-- Updated Sept. 20, 11:51 a.m.