There is a war going on in Chicago, as well as in other parts of the country, between law enforcement and political activists. Meanwhile, the residents of those communities are caught in the cross-fires. This has been a bloody year for Chicagoans, and there does not seem to be any let up in the near future. In the past three months there have been over 100 individuals murdered on the streets of Chicago.
An obvious reason for this could be the link between the ongoing anti-police protests, sparked by political activists, lack of support from superiors for police officers in the field, and police morale. The new spike in violent crimes in Chicago and elsewhere may have everything to do with a combination of all of these elements.
Heightened Scrutiny of Law Enforcement
Whether justifiable or unjustifiable, police officers in the field have come under heavy scrutiny as anti-police protests and rallies criss-cross the nation. Whenever a police officer is involved in a shooting of a person allegedly in the process of committing a crime, the first assumption is that the shooting was unjustified. In many instances, police officers are being targeted and executed by criminals in the undercurrent of the anti-police protests movement. Gang members emboldened by the rift between law enforcement and communities have reaped a bonanza as their lawlessness goes unchecked.
Police apathy in high crime areas is a recipe for disaster. In those areas police presences have been diminished because of the growing distrust of police in these areas, coupled with police apathy in neighborhoods where the relationship between the police and the community is at an all time low. This is known as the “Laquan McDonald Effect.”
What is the “Laquan McDonald Effect”?
The 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by police officer Jason Van Dyke is, in a sense, the catalyst that helped fuel some of the ongoing battles between law enforcement and community activist. There are also other infamous cases wherein the police have been accused of misconduct. Other such incidents were the deaths of Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown, and Baltimore, Maryland’s Freddy Grey.
After a video was released to the public showing the shooting of McDonald, Officer Dyke was arrested and charged with murder and police superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired. In the wake of all the political fallout, the interim police superintendent John Escalante stated that police officers had begun to be less aggressive in enforcing the law for fear of being targeted. See the New York Times and USA Today for more information on this subject.
The Current Anti-Police Movement
After the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2013 and the acquittal of George Zimmerman for his murder, a movement entitled “Black Lives Matter” sprung up in response to what was perceived as judicial inequality in the minority communities. The movement now encompasses perceived police brutality, as well. The movement is responsible for staging massive protests where protesters form human barricades on roads and highways to block traffic. This method is now the most used tactic by the protesters, and is spawning violence between protesters, victims of these protests, and law enforcement officers.
Violent crime in some neighborhoods seems on the rise. There has developed a deep chasm between law enforcement and the communities that they serve, that will need to be bridged in order to quell the rising tide of inner-city violence. Criminal activity and accusations of criminal activity come with the territory, and in today’s climate, the accusations can be politically motivated. In such cases, you will need the assistance of a good criminal law attorney.