FBI Director Blames Viral Videos for Aggressive Policing Decline
With nearly every citizen armed with a smartphone and capable of capturing video at a moment’s notice, FBI director, James Comey, said he believes police officers are pulling back due to “viral video effect.”
"There's a perception that police are less likely to do the marginal additional policing that suppresses crime – the getting out of your car at two in the morning and saying to a group of guys, 'Hey, what are you doing here?’" Comey said after a private briefing Wednesday about the rising crime rates during the first quarter of 2016.
While director Comey admitted he couldn’t offer any statistics to back up his claim, his comments on the “viral video effect” came as the result of several conversations with police officials. Essentially, officers are wary of confronting suspects because they are afraid of ending up in a video, according to the New York Times.
White House officials declined to comment on Comey’s statements, while others insisted Comey was unnecessarily stirring things up.
“He ought to stick to what he knows,” James O. Pasco Jr., executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, said. The organization has more than 330,000 members.
“He’s basically saying that police officers are afraid to do their jobs with absolutely no proof,” Mr. Pasco said.
The new statistics about rising crime rates in more than 40 cities during the first quarter of 2016 have yet to be released to the public, but Comey specifically called attention to rising murder rates of black and Hispanic men in Las Vegas and Chicago.
The spike in violent crime deserves more national attention from scholars, the media, and the public, Comey said.
“Something is happening,” he said. “A whole lot more people are dying this year than last year, and last year than the year before and I don’t know why for sure.”
When reminded of his prior views on the “Ferguson effect” as a possible explanation, Comey said he rejected that particular term, but said he continues to talk with police officials who say “lots and lots of police officers” are shying away from aggressive confrontations with citizens because of viral videos.
Posted in General News