Criminal Justice

Constant filming of police officers is 'impacting their judgment,' Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says

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Chicago police are not acting proactively, because they fear that citizens will film their actions and use it against them, or post the footage to social media, the city’s mayor Rahm Emanuel told U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a recent meeting.

The meeting, which was private, included police chiefs of large cities, FBI officials and a Washington Post reporter, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

“We have allowed our police department to get fetal, and it is having a direct consequence,” Emanuel reportedly said. “They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”

At an unrelated press conference Friday, Emanuel said when asked about his statement during the meeting with Lynch: “It’s impacting their judgment of whether they get out of the car or not. And that is having an impact.”

Emanuel said he came to this conclusion after meeting with officers in the Ogden District on Chicago’s West Side. In a “post-Ferguson, post-Baltimore, post-New York” world, officers are sometimes hesitant in some situations, he said.

The Sun-Times also notes that, according to police department numbers, there have been 359 murders in Chicago through Sept. 27 while there were only 296 during the same time period in 2014.

Dean Angelo, president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, disputes the assertion that Chicago police officers are no longer proactive. “That being said, I do believe that officers are well aware of being recorded. Members regularly relate to us that nearly every traffic and street stop are being recorded.”

Chicago has had to settle some cases in the last year or so in which plaintiffs relied on video footage.

In June, the city settled a police shooting case for $5 million. Police maintained that LaQuan McDonald threatened police with a knife, but his family, relying on video footage from a police dashboard camera, argued that the 17-year old was walking away while he was shot and killed, NBC Chicago reported.

Another case with video footage, which settled for $150,000 in 2014, involved Chicago police raiding a tanning salon, hitting the manager while she was handcuffed and threatening to kill her and her family. The business captured the incident on its security camera, which used cloud-based storage. The court dismissed aggravated battery charges against the manager after viewing the video footage.

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