Is Governor Rauner agnostic on expanding Stop and Frisk in inner cities?

Press Conference held after Gov. Rauner, Sen. Raoul, Rep. Flowers and others discussed a bill to provide offenders a State ID upon release from prison to assist with reentry. Pictured, clockwise, 2nd from left: Neli Vazquez Rowland (President and Co-Founder, A Safe Haven Foundation), Gov. Rauner, Sen. Kwame Raoul and on far right, State Rep. Mary Flowers, Sep. 29, 2016, Chicago, IL

Press Conference held after Gov. Rauner, Sen. Raoul, Rep. Flowers and others discussed a bill to provide offenders a State ID upon release from prison to assist with reentry. Pictured, clockwise, 2nd from left: Neli Vazquez Rowland (President and Co-Founder, A Safe Haven), IL Gov. Bruce Rauner, Sen. Kwame Raoul, Danita and on far right, State Rep. Mary Flowers, Sep. 29, 2016, Chicago, IL

Governor Rauner answering questions at a Press Conference to deal with newsworthy topics other than the legislation to provide criminal offenders with a state ID upon release from prison , September 29, 2016. Pictured:Clockwise, IL Governor Bruce Rauner, Catherine Kelly (Governor's Press Office), A WBBM radio reporter.

Governor Rauner answering questions at a Press Conference to deal with newsworthy topics other than the legislation to provide criminal offenders with a state ID upon release from prison , September 29, 2016. Pictured: Clockwise, IL Governor Bruce Rauner, Catherine Kelly (Gov's Press Office), A WBBM 780 AM radio reporter.

Mike Flannery [WFLD, Fox 32 News, political editor]: Apropos of gun violence, we’ve been told it could be stopped in a week if you started Stop and Frisk. Good idea or bad idea?

State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago): Consider your source [Ed. Note: Presumably, Senator Raoul is referring to Donald Trump, but that’s not quite what Trump said].

Flannery: What’s your view on that?

Sen. Raoul: I think it is an application, as we’ve seen it in other places. It’s been unconstitutionally applied where you are stopping- I think the statistics of the returns of the number of people stopped, as well as the disproportionate impact on African-American males, in particular. I think that’s not the country that we're supposed to live in.  I could be walking down the street in blue jeans and a baseball cap and be subjected to something that somebody else in another hue in the same attire would not be—

Jeff Berkowitz: Senator, so [then NYC Police Chief] Bill Bratton started Stop and Frisk, as you may know, in the 90s under NYC Mayor Guiliani.  It worked very effectively there [NYC] and Bratton brought it to Los Angeles and it worked very effectively there.

Senator Raoul: I don’t care if Martin Luther King started Stop and Frisk-

Berkowitz: Well, there’s empirical data that shows it worked very effectively. You might want to look at Heather MacDonald’s new book titled, “The War on Cops,” and not dismiss these things so easily as unconstitutional. There is a district court judge who held it was- [For more on Stop, Question and Frisk and the general topic of the decline in the last two years of reactive policing in the inner cities, see the forthcoming episode of the TV show “Public Affairs,” airing the week of October 10 in Chicago and other areas, featuring Heather MacDonald, interviewed by show host Berkowitz about Ms. MacDonald’s Book, “The War on Cops.”]

Senator Raoul: You and I could look at that at some time--

Berkowitz: It is not quite as straightforward as you suggest, and I know you are smarter than that.

Senator Raoul: I appreciate your confidence.

Catherine Kelly [Governor’s press office]: Do we have any other “On topic” questions? All right, we will do “Off topic” questions off to the side.(Watch the entire discussion of the importance of the bill providing criminal offenders with a state ID upon release [about 12 minutes] and the follow up press conference of about 16 minutes with Rauner, Flowers and Raoul dealing with "On topic issues," primarily why Rep. Flowers thinks the bill needs further work, even though the Senate passed the bill, as is, unanimously.  The last two minutes of the press conference deal with Stop and Frisk, and can be watched on the above link from 26:24 to 28:12)

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The above is a partial transcript of a Press Conference held after Governor Rauner, State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), Senator Raoul (D-Chicago) and others spoke about the status of legislation to provide criminal offenders with a State ID upon release from prison to assist with reentry into the employment marketplace, residential housing, etc. September 29, 2016, held at the Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, Inc. facility, 700 S. Clinton St., Chicago, IL This press conference was intended to be restricted to "On topic issues," that is, the State ID for offenders, but veered off to Stop and Frisk in the last few minutes.

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Mike Flannery [WFLD]: Governor, why did you sign Senate Bill 1304? Particularly in light of recent comments about Stop and Frisk, the debate about that.

Governor Rauner: 1304, that’s the one about-

Flannery: the ACLU backed bill [Go here for a liberal summary of this significantly liberal, omnibus criminal law and policing legislation bill (it passed with  overwhelming legislative approval numbers, despite its very liberal slant. IL's legislature is quite blue; it was signed by the Governor last year and  required, among other things,  extensive reporting by police for each Stop, Question and Frisk interaction with an individual that does not result in an arrest) it has been asserted that the onerous reporting requirements have induced police to dramatically decrease their Stop and Frisk interactions, resulting, along with the “Ferguson effect,” in a significant spiking of crime in 2015-16 in Chicago].  

Governor Rauner: Police report on Stop and Frisk- There is a very strong bi-partisan belief—and I agree with it—that we need to do everything we can—to help build the trust, restore trust between police and community residents. Without trust, without mutual confidence and respect, trust won’t exist and then policing effectiveness will be deteriorated even further. And, obviously trust has been badly damaged in Chicago and unfortunately in a number of communities. And, transparency and good flow of information about interactions can hopefully-- will help build trust. And, over time, can help the police officers keep people safer and improve the quality of life in the communities.

Flannery: What’s your view of Stop and Frisk?

Governor Rauner: I’m not an expert at this: Obviously, we need to make sure that police methods are effective at battling crime and stopping criminals but also are constitutional and fair and treat people equitably-- and so there is a balancing act to be done.  [The above 3 exchanges between Flannery and the Governor of this press conference can be watched by clicking the press conference video link, below, and watching from 2:56 to 4:25]     

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Jeff Berkowitz: Governor, since it is so important, as you have spoken, [to deal with] violence in the inner city portion of Chicago and since there is a debate, there are some, some who are here, who say that Stop and Frisk is applied unconstitutionally, improperly, singling out African-Americans, hurting them, but there are others who say, “The law says otherwise [as to its constitutionality] and that this is a way to help Blacks, specifically, in the inner city, since they are the ones who suffer the most from black crime in the inner city.”

Berkowitz (Cont.): So, isn’t it incumbent on you, as the Leader, to work with your staff to find out which of these arguments is stronger-- because I sense that the Mayor [of Chicago] actually supports Stop and Frisk but he needs political support. And, if this issue [Stop, Question and Frisk] were something the Mayor and you agreed on-- which would be necessary to take on those who oppose it- you might make a major dent in [reducing] crime in the inner city and reaching out to Blacks-- which I know you want to do— reach out to African-Americans.

Governor Rauner:  Well, I will say this: we have many challenges in our State and in the City of Chicago and the challenges can only be taken on by all of us, as elected officials, working together on a bi-partisan basis in solving these problems. This is, sort of, what elected officials are in office to do- that is, deal with these issues and come up with solutions. They are complicated- and, as I mentioned earlier, it is a balancing act.

Gov. Rauner (Cont): We have got to make sure that what we do is constitutional, and fair and not discriminatory, but that it helps the police and I am a big advocate, a big supporter for our law enforcement officers. They put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe. I am a big advocate for our police officers.  We have got to help them be more effective and do their jobs well, and respect them and support them, but also make sure that we help re-build trust and that the systems work. And, I will work closely with the Mayor to do it, and I will work closely with legislators from the other side of the aisle to do it. We will try to get it done. [The above exchange between Berkowitz and Rauner can be watched by clicking the video link, below, and watching from 7:38 to 9:37 ]

The above is a partial transcript of the press conference held after the above referenced event and press conference that was intended to focus on issues related to providing criminal offenders with a State ID.  This press conference was intended to focus on "Off State ID topic," issues. However, as you can see, Stop and Frisk was covered at both press conferences.  September 29, 2016. 700 S. Clinton, Chicago, IL  [You can watch here this entire press conference, running about 12:30]

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  • No, he's Prepreluthertarian. Also, he does not want to be what you want him to be. He has his own agenda.

  • In reply to jack:

    "Prepreluthertarian"? Who can argue with that?

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Folks, thank you for your comments,

    Watch out for Jack, Jnorto. He is always going for the jugular, trying to win the argument by using those big words:)

    But, more seriously, Rauner was clearly being agnostic. When he said you have to balance things, that was code for him telling us he needs to study the issue further, get more information before he can decide which direction he wants to go in terms of more or less stop, question and frisk.

    Of course, the onerous forms required now of the cops have almost killed off the stops, so you can't get many fewer stops than you have now. That was the intent of the ACLU in Chicago.

    But, I don't think Rauner knows the current status. When he said "I am not an expert on this," in response to Flannery's question on this issue, that was quite an understatement:) He should invite Heather MacDonald in for a sit down, or watch my show with her the week of Oct. 10, as should everybody:)

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    " When he said you have to balance things, that was code for him telling us he needs to study the issue further, get more information before he can decide which direction he wants to go in terms of more or less stop, question and frisk. "

    In short he was being rational. We can't have politicians like that.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thank you for your comment.
    So, you basically have given the definition of agnostic to describe Gov. Rauner's current state of mind.

    But, he should have done and should be doing more to get familiar with the research and analysis of the relevant information. For example, he should have read Heather Mac Donald's recent book, "The War on cops," and should watch my forthcoming show this or next week on the subject. Also, Mac Donald has published some op Eds in the WSJ that he should have read,

    At a minimum, Rauner's staff should have summarized the above for him and he should be able to discuss the topic at a press conference.

    On one of the more important issues for his state and especially the inner cities of his state, he should be playing offense, not playing an agnostic.

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    He's more interested in whether Leslie Munger gets reelected, not that I can see why she would want that job. Also seems more interested in getting Michael McAuliffe reelected. Also, seems more interested in getting a term limits petition together, despite not articulatin' how he is gonna get it past the Illinois Supreme Court.

    In short, he believes in economically efficiency by puttin' his money where his mouth is, rather than crammin' for some news conference on an issue that has no upside for him. His view is let Rahm handle it. He was not elected head criminologist in Illinois, only, in this instance, to decide whether to call up the State Police or National Guard.

    BTW, AG Lisa Madigan is supposedly a law enforcement official and authority on Constitutional Law; why don't you ask her? I'm sure she is willing to spout off on an academic question, as she doesn't seem to have much else to do, other than to rule on FOIA requests to the DGPD.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    jnorto: "Prespreluthertarian" was a reference to a reference to who attended Rev. Lovejoy's church, while a large number of other Springfield residents attended Temple Beth Springfield or Temple Beth Western, and Lisa, Carl and Lenny were Buddhists.

  • Heather McDonald's book, "The War on Cops" has been embraced by the right, from Rush Limbaugh, who has called her as an exceptional on-air guest and interviewed her for his membership magazine, to Glenn Beck, Fox News and many others. However, her book has not received the same approval by those who study stop and frisk. An example of critics of her book is found in:
    http://reason.com/archives/2016/07/16/there-is-no-war-on-cops

    Governor Rauner faces enough problems trying to lead the state government in Illinois that he does not need to be distracted by issues of local law enforcement. He would be well advised to stay away for this issue.

  • Jnorto, thank you for your comment. But, the guy you cite, Tim Lynch, and his organization, Cato, believe "The government is a greater threat to our liberty than all criminals combined."

    I don't know about you, but when I walk down an inner city street, say in Lawndale, as I did recently to attend a press conference of the Governor's, I fear criminals way more than I do the cops, who are a part of our government. Moreover, the minorities I know who live in those areas feel the same way. They want more police and fewer criminals.

    Further, Lynch's review of Mac Donald's recent book is not worthy of discussion. Lynch concedes in his Reason article, cited by you in your comment, that the studies that support his arguments are "Admittedly anecdotal."

    While one can use anecdotes for illustration, you can't base your entire argument on such. Not if you want to be a respected social scientist.

    Heather Mac Donald's book, "The War on Cops," does relate some anecdotes. But, it is based in large part on solid empirical evidence. Don't take my word for it. Read the book and watch my show: youtube.com/publicaffairstv.

    If you all have to counter my arguments is Tim Lynch, you have bupkis, in the words of my mom.

    Governor Rauner's approval rating is 33% and he says he wants to reach out to minorities. He could start addressing both those issues by reading Mac Donald's book and doing what he could to encourage the use of Stop, Question and Frisk as a way to improve the public safety in Illinois. He might want to hold some Town Hall meetings on the South Side and West Side of Chicago to discuss these and other crime issues.

    Minorities in inner city areas who are doing nothing wrong don't mind occasionally being stopped and let go after being questioned by the police, if they are treated respectfully, as they usually
    are.

    That's much preferred to being killed by a criminal. Don't you agree?

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