Rahm Emanuel: Trump Justice Department Is Undermining Chicago’s ‘Public Safety’

Monday on CNN’s “Newsroom‏,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended his lawsuit against the Department of Justice over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plan to withhold some federal grants from police in sanctuary cities.

Emanuel said the move by the Trump Justice Department hurts community policing which “undermines our actual public safety agenda.”

Emanuel said, “We’re a welcoming city and always will be. In addition to that, our police department is built on the principles of community policing. We don’t want officers just patrolling a neighborhood, but to be part of that neighborhood and the fabric. And the fact is, by forcing us or the police department to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department of community policing, I think it’s a false choice, and it actually undermines our actual public safety agenda. And so we’re going to be filing a case, saying that the Justice Department is wrong, both on constitutional legal grounds—That is, we will always be a welcoming city. It’s true to our history and true to our future.”

“But it’s also true as a police department,” he continued. “Our police department are part of a neighborhood, part of a community that is built on the premise of trust between the residents and the police department. It’s not — the police department is a part of the fabric that makes a community safe. And we want people to come forward to work with the police department, not to fear them. And I just think fundamentally; it is not just — it’s not just fundamentally from this premise. One you cannot coerce a city into changing its policies. Two, we don’t run a jail. We can’t hold people longer than 48 hours.”

Emanuel added, “There are two parts. One is, the federal government cannot coerce a city to change its policy. That’s what the court has already ruled on. The second piece, as you just noted is, we don’t run a jail. We do lockups, and until 48 hours, we let you go. You cannot ask us to hold people longer than 48 hours. It’s both a legal piece and a constitutional piece. And the city is on firm ground on that basis.”

Emanuel said if Hispanic communities feared the police department, it would undermine “the very philosophy and also the public safety we’re seeing.”

“I will never allow our police department to become something people don’t see as their partner,” he said. “And I think the Justice Department is trying to coerce people into making a choice between who they are and their values and what you want to see in every neighborhood across the city of Chicago. That’s why we’re going to file a case against the Trump Justice Department.”

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