National Security

Eric Holder rebuffs FBI chief on ‘Ferguson effect’

Former Attorney General Eric Holder is siding with the White House in what seems to be an escalating dispute over whether viral videos of police are making cops stand down.

On Wednesday, Holder said that any evidence to support the “Ferguson effect” was merely “anecdotal,” according to The Associated Press.

“I don’t think it’s connected to the so-called Ferguson effect,” Holder said. “I don’t frankly think police are laying down on the job.”

{mosads}The comments contrast with those of FBI Director James Comey, who in a pair of speeches in Chicago over the last week appeared to say that police have become more cautious in recent months, following the spread of viral videos of police violence.

Scrutiny of police has been on the rise in the wake of multiple instances of police killing unarmed young African-American men, including 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

In a speech at the University of Chicago Law School last Friday, Comey said that police tell him they feel like they’re “under siege.”

Police arrive “surrounded by young people with mobile phone cameras held high, taunting them the moment they get out of their cars,” Comey said.

“In today’s YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime?”

The White House has distanced itself from those comments, underscoring the nuanced politics around the increased focus on police violence in the last year.

“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,” President Obama said before a convention of police chiefs this week.

“What we can’t do is cherry-pick data or use anecdotal evidence to drive policy or to feed political agendas.”

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