Chicago, IL — While speaking at the University of Chicago Law School on Friday, FBI Director James Comey claimed that public outrage over recent police brutality videos might have caused an increase in violent crime. Shortly after making his speech, Comey acknowledged that he has no data to back up his claims. But according to the FBI’s own crime statistics, violent crime has declined across the country.
The FBI Director believes that cops have become timid and less aggressive due to the rapid proliferation of viral videos depicting police abuse online. In an interview with The New York Times, Comey stated that police officers are no longer confronting suspicious-looking people because they are afraid of being recorded on cellphone videos. Comey asserted, “I’ve been told by a senior police leader who urged his force to remember that their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video.”
But if the officer does not break any laws nor violate the suspect’s civil rights, then the cell-phone video would actually provide beneficial evidence in the cop’s defense. Instead of standing up for police accountability, Comey appears to subscribe to the old system of cops protecting cops. Unable to support his erroneous claims, Comey has reportedly upset several top officials at the Justice Department with his recent inflammatory comments.
Responsible for cracking down on corrupt cops, the FBI routinely assists the Justice Department with investigating and arresting law enforcement officials charged with accepting bribes, using excessive force, selling drugs, stealing evidence, etc. Instead of showing support for the DOJ’s recent initiative to hold officers accountable, Comey is holding the public responsible for a hike in violent crime that he admits may not even exist.
According to the FBI’s most recent crime statistics, the violent crime rate in 2014 declined 1.0 percent compared to the 2013 rate. The property crime rate declined 5.0 percent. Meanwhile, people have been recording videos of police brutality since the Rodney King beating in 1991.
Shootings and the overall crime rate in Oakland, California, are reportedly down. Violent crime and the overall crime rate in Washington are also down. According to Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, crime in her city has decreased this year.
Instead of attempting to perpetuate the debunked war on cops, perhaps the FBI Director should go back to his job of locking up crooked cops and other law enforcement officials. By openly endorsing the theory that transparency and holding officers accountable leads to a rise in violent crimes without any data to back him up, Comey has merely confirmed that he is completely out of touch with the current social climate. He also insulted every police officer in the country by implying they are all cowards who easily break under public scrutiny.