Chicago’s Former Police Chief Blames BLM for Surge in Violence

Black Lives Matter created an atmosphere of "non-compliance with the police," according to the former top cop.

Garry McCarthy, former police superintendent of Chicago. / REUTERS

Chicago saw its deadliest year in two decades in 2016, closing the year with 762 homicides — surpassing the number in New York and Los Angeles combined — and over 4,000 shooting victims.

Meanwhile, according to an analysis from the Chicago Sun-Times, the number of arrests went down by 28 percent from last year — reaching its lowest rate since 2001 and half that of 2010. During the first three months of 2016, police recorded just 20,908 investigative stops. During the same period in 2015, that number was 157,346 — showing a decrease by 86 percent from one year to the next.

That pattern continued throughout the year. In August of 2015, the police stopped 49,257 people. This past August, that number was 8,859 — reflecting an 82 percent decrease.

But the city’s former police chief believes Black Lives Matter protesters are to blame for the surge in violence. In an interview with John Catsimatidis, Garry McCarthy said protesters have created a “political atmosphere of anti-police sentiment.”

“The simplest way to describe it is we’ve created an environment where we have emboldened criminals,” he said.

“So what’s happening, and this is ironic,” he continued, “is that a movement with the goal of saving Black lives at this point is getting black lives taken, because 80 percent of our murder victims here in Chicago are male blacks. Less than half of one percent of all the shootings in this city involve police officers shooting civilians. But one shooting, and granted it’s a bad shooting … But the solutions that are being applied as a result of that particular incident have it that people are dying in record numbers here.”

The result, McCarthy said, is “a state of lawlessness across this country, the non-compliance with the police and the encouragement of young people not to comply with the police, and the legitimizing of that non-compliance.”

“But because of one incident here, the Laquan McDonald incident, the Department of Justice is here investigating our patterns and practices, and quite frankly I don’t think the police know what they’re supposed to do, what’s expected of them today,” he said.

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McCarthy was fired from his position in 2015 after video footage of 17-year-old McDonald’s shooting death was released. The video, which the city of Chicago resisted releasing for more than a year, shows McDonald being shot while walking away from police — and continuing to be shot while already lying motionless on the ground. McDonald was shot 16 times in total.

McCarthy pointed to the “Ferguson effect,” an unfounded belief that claims police officers are afraid to do their jobs for fear of public scrutiny — or being featured on the next viral video. He said he is “hopeful that the new attorney general, Mr. Sessions, is going to kind of calm this whole thing down as far as restricting the police from being able to do their job and strengthening the criminals.”

The city’s current police chief, Eddie Johnson, made similar statements in a press conference. According to Johnson, anger toward police officers has “emboldened” criminals to commit crimes.

FBI Director James Comey last year made the same implications about police being afraid to do their jobs — and was met with public backlash from leaders in law enforcement as well as the White House.

“Director Comey’s recent comments about a ‘viral video effect’ are unfounded, and frankly, damaging to the efforts of law enforcement,” said Ronal Serpas, chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration.

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Director Comey again makes unfounded statement that cops not doing their jobs out of fear of being caught on video, is called "irresponsible" and "counterproductive."

The White House criticized Comey for drawing conclusions without any factual basis. “This administration makes policy decisions that are rooted in evidence, that are rooted in science,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “We can’t make broad, sweeping policy decisions or draw policy conclusions based on anecdotal evidence. That’s irresponsible and ultimately counterproductive.”

Earnest emphasized that “there’s not evidence at this point to link that surge in violent crime to the so-called viral video effect, or the Ferguson effect. There’s just no evidence to substantiate that.”

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  • This guy deserves to be the FORMER Police Chief. Non-Compliance with police does, in fact, appear to be a factor in a lot of the police shootings of unarmed civilians. However, the problem is that non-compliance itself does not equate with the need for deadly force. The use of deadly force is only justified in situations of self-defense or defense of third-parties, not — for example — when the person stopped is merely slow to respond or appears to be attempting to run away. If the Chicago Police are only making 18% of the stops they were making a few years ago, a more likely explanation for the increase in the percentage of police shootings — if any — is that they are now only making stops in the more serious, violent, cases.

    • McCarthy did a terrible job in Newark before he went to Chicago, part of Mayor (now Senator) Booker’s administration. Rahm Emanuel is clueless and all roads seem to go back to the one American most responsible for our president elect, Hillary Clinton (Vladimir Putin might be more responsible than Clinton, but I guess we’ll all find out together, it’s never a good idea to insult General Clapper).

  • Garry McCarthy needs to sit down and be quiet. It is easy to take SHOTS at the city of Chicago, now that he is no longer the city’s top cop. Violence was spiking while he was in command and is continuing to spike. However, most Chicagoans, particularly those who live in the areas most impacted by the violence do not see or believe that it is due to BLM movement. Most presume the spike in violence is due to the dismantling of the Chicago Housing Authority public housing units. (under the direction of former Mayor Daley) Gangs and criminal elements were self-contained in these housing projects. However, when they were torn down, gang members were spread across the city and surrounding suburbs WREAKING HAVOC EVERYWHERE. Additionally, the increase in violence can be attributed to a significant decrease in or all out lack of equitable education, jobs, training, healthcare, healthy food, etc… If the middle class has seen no relief in the past sixteen years, what do people think the poor and indigent of a city such as Chicago have seen? Absolutely nothing. The increase in violence here started way before the BLM movement and it is highly irresponsible and dangerous for McCarthy to make such statements! It is reckless to blame this amount of violence on a group of individuals working to create collaboration between law enforcement and the Black community. I just continue to shake my head………

  • Sometimes change forces a swing to the far left and then the far right before we get to a logical middle ground that launches real change. Leaders take responsibility; losers blame others. It is my prayer that officers across America will use all of the standard procedures within their power to preserve peace and protect the public. Deadly force should be the last resort. I can’t think of one of the recent cases where calm communication and humane treatment would not have created a different outcome and a precious life saved. It is my prayer that local governments will tackle the plethora of challenges facing the poor that lead to a cycle of poverty and criminal activity; that local police precincts will make an effort to get to know the children in these communities and create programs that will build strong relationships between communities and officers through more positive interaction at schools, churches, and on the streets. Trust is broken; fear is driving. Its time of focused attention and change.

  • This is the most illogical thinking. Does he not know what is going on his city? There was defunding of a previously effective Chicago anti-violence program based on a public health model. BLM is anti-violence and is calling attention to disparities in use of lethal force by police. Great that a city official used his own racist opinions to link cause and effect, ignoring experts and actual conditions. He needs to talk less, read more DOJ reports, and take a logic and research course now that he is former chief.

  • It is not Black Lives Matter that caused conflict, but only reported it better. It is only a demand that professional treatment by police be be respectfully executed – listen to words that suspects are saying, try to de-escalate situations, not train with war tactics. Talk more with suspects about the protect part, see how best to protect them, even while challenging and curtailing dangerous activities. They understand the police have a job to do, a dangerous and difficult one, but to caricature human beings as enemies, leaves too many accidents. Thoughtful policing. I work in human services, and every situation is a challenge, and professionals are the ones who sign up to be involved, and that requires a need to keep studying factors that make it challenging, keep learning, improve steadily, and share with others, where they are improving.

    Starting “who is to blame” arguments prolongs animosity, when more examples of improvements need to be reported.

  • Mary Borkowski

    I don’t know what to say about a manager of government workers who says his workers are afraid to do their job because of public scrutiny. Who gets to do their job in secret? And what citizen wants public officials not to be accountable. Real leadership would reflect on the need for interaction between the community and the police force and transparencey.

    And I find it very sad that police chiefs and police officers aren’t really upset about what they have seen on those viral videos. An officer in a school slamming a student to the floor, manhandling a teenage girl in a bathing suit, shooting a middle aged, outofshape man in the back as he runs away, stopping African Americans for broken tail lights and ending up shooting them, allowing Freddy Gray to, I guess, commit suicide in your police van because it wasn’t anyone’s fault and no one seems to know how he broke his neck. Police chiefs and police officers need to appreciate what is wrong with the policing portrayed in those videos.

  • More than 4,000 black men, black women and black children have been lynched by the police and others. We should blame White Lives Matter.

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