Earlier this month, attorney general Jeff Sessions—David the Gnome’s racist cousin—commenced a review of “consent decrees,” agreements between the federal government and local police forces to address issues of systemic racism and other prejudices. Today, in an op-ed published by USA Today, Sessions broadcasted his support of “proactive policing” without “harmful federal intrusion.”
As The Hill reports, Sessions has already voiced his disapproval of “consent decrees,” which he argues “reduce morale” among law enforcement officers. In today’s editorial, he opens with alarmist rhetoric, proclaiming that police forces have been defanged and that, as a result, cities like Chicago and Baltimore—urban spaces significantly populated by low-income, minority communities—are rife with violence. He specifically bemoans the decrease in arrests, which he identifies as a cause of intensified violent crime.
Via USA Today:
“Yet amid this plague of violence, too much focus has been placed on a small number of police who are bad actors rather than on criminals. And too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.”
Sessions, like other conservatives, separates racist brutality from its native institution by referring to perpetrators as “bad actors.” It’s an inconvenient truth that these individuals were all sworn in as law enforcement officers.
It’s not clear what the Attorney General advises in place of consent decrees. His wording becomes vague—“common-sense reforms”—and his reference to “civil rights” reads like an afterthought. Here’s Sessions again:
“The Department of Justice agrees with the need to build public confidence in law enforcement through common-sense reforms, such as de-escalation training, and we will punish any police conduct that violates civil rights. But such reforms must promote public safety and avoid harmful federal intrusion in the daily work of police.”
Catherine Pugh, the mayor of Baltimore, disagrees with Sessions’s condemnation of consent agreements. When he filed a memo ordering a “pause” on reforms, she objected, stating that it “may have the effect of eroding the trust we are working hard to establish.” Two years ago, in April 15, Baltimore resident Freddie Gray died at the hands of police. No one was convicted.
But now a federal judge, in agreement with Pugh, has ruled that the consent decree between Baltimore and the Department of Justice stands. Sessions, of course, has denounced the decision, warning that this “would result in a less safe city.”