President Trump said Monday that Chicago police should "stop and frisk" more pedestrians to reduce violence, saying his administration wants to help local officials lift a legal agreement restricting the practice.
Trump's advocacy of prolific pat-downs follows his years-long criticism of Chicago's high murder rate. Last year, he threatened to "send in the Feds!" to address the city's surge in gun homicides.
On Monday, Trump said he ordered federal officials to help Chicago, emphasizing a desire to undo a 2015 agreement between the Chicago Police Department and the American Civil Liberties Union, which among other things restrained "stop and frisk" policing.
"I have directed the attorney general's office to immediately go to the great city of Chicago to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave — want to straighten it out fast, there's no reason for what's going on there," Trump said in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual convention in Florida.
"I've told them to work with local authorities to try to change the terrible deal the city of Chicago entered into with ACLU which is [tying] law enforcement's hands and to strongly consider 'stop and frisk,'" he said.
"It works and it was meant for problems like Chicago. It was meant for it. 'Stop and frisk,'" he said. "And Rudy Giuliani, when he was mayor of New York City, had a very strong program of 'stop and frisk' and it went from an unacceptably dangerous city in one of the safest cities in the country, and I think the safest big city in the country. So it works. Has to be properly applied, but 'stop and frisk' works."
Civil libertarians oppose widespread use of "stop and frisk," saying it's wrong for police to search people under a low-bar reasonable suspicion standard.
Opponents of the policy argue stops disproportionately impact minorities, result in minor drug possession charges, and have debatable utility — including in New York City, where crime fell after police abandoned widespread "stop and frisk" policing.
Supporters of the policy point out that violent crime — especially murder — increased in Chicago after police abandoned the practice.
Murder in Chicago peaked in 2016, with 588 deaths. The murder rate has remained high during Trump's presidency, with 551 in 2017 and 419 so far this year.
Chicago police previously used "stop and frisk" frequently. About 250,000 people were stopped and frisked without being charged with a crime in a three-month period in 2014, the ACLU found.
Despite frequently denouncing violent crime in Chicago during his 2016 campaign, Trump was criticized by local leaders last year for his alleged lack of engagement.
“We’ve made requests to the White House and the Justice Department for them to support our work — from increasing federal gun prosecution to more FBI, DEA and ATF agents to more funding for mentoring, job training and more,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said about a month after Trump took office. “The mayor made the request in person as recently as last week and we are hopeful the administration will finally respond.”
The Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.