DOJ reports on unconstitutional policing are 'pretty anecdotal,' attorney general says

Sessions delivered his latest broadside to a crowd of attorneys general on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after peddling a series of sensational remarks to reporters about the purported perils of pot use.

There was a rise in violent crime in 30 major cities, with the murder rate almost doubling in those cities last. "In California, we have seen crime rates drop precipitously since the '80s and '90s and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento; big cities have seen that, as well".

Ever since IL began the use of 1980, crime rates have fallen to historic lows.

"The Justice Department has an absolute duty to ensure that police operate within the law...but we help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness, and I'm afraid we've done some of that", Sessions said.

As my colleague Ed Krayewski wrote: "The DOJ found significant racial disparities in arrests, citations, and other police action, but its findings about the pattern and practice of Constitutional violations by the FPD pointed to fundamental problems with the policing, and not just its racially-disparate application".

Preliminary FBI data for the first half of 2016 confirm the increase is becoming a trend, he said. Crime statistics for 2015, the latest year with complete data, showed a 3.9 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In one 2014 study of the 11 states that legalized medical pot from 1990 to 2006, there was no increase in the seven major categories of violent crime and "some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault".

"These numbers should trouble all of us", Sessions said in reference to upticks in murder rates of major United States cities.

"We have the most remarkable, wonderful legal system the world has ever known". "I want to see (federal) gun prosecutions go up".

Yes, incarceration is painful for the families of inmates, and every conviction represents a failure on multiple levels of society. Crime statistics are notoriously volatile, making long-term trend analysis far more credible than short-term comparisons. Drug crimes and violent felonies change the lives of victims forever.

He waded into the controversial topic of legalizing marijuana and said the department was weighing how to approach the increasing number of states, including California, that are decriminalizing the drug even though it remains a federal crime to sell or possess it.

We will work to take down drug trafficking cartels and dismantle gangs. It is not so much the Attorney General's job to decide what laws to enforce.

It turns out that electing a man with a history of racism to enforce this nation's civil rights laws results in exactly the sort of "enforcement" you would expect.

"Given the rhetoric coming out of the White House and the selection of Sessions as attorney general, an increase in the federal prison population and a chilling effect on state reforms is a very real possibility", said Inimai Chettiar, justice program director at the Brennan Center for Justice.

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