Orlando, Fla. – President Donald Trump drew an enthusiastic response from a law-and-order crowd Monday, advocating the use of “stop and frisk” policing and saying he has directed the Justice Department to work with local officials in Chicago to stem violence in the nation’s third-largest city.

“The crime spree is a terrible blight on that city,” he said at a convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Trump said he had ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “immediately” go to Chicago “to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave.” He also encouraged the city to embrace the stop-and-frisk policing method, in which large numbers of people are temporarily detained, questioned and sometimes searched for drugs and weapons. It was used extensively in New York City until it was deemed unconstitutional because of its overwhelming impact on minority residents.

“Gotta be properly applied, but stop-and-frisk works,” said Trump, who had traveled to Orlando with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Chicago police said last week that there have been 102 fewer homicides and nearly 500 fewer shooting victims in the city this year, compared with the first nine months of 2017. The city of Chicago reached an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois in 2015 to curb stop-and-frisk procedures after the ACLU threatened to file a lawsuit over the issue. The ACLU said the police inordinately targeted blacks.

A spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasted Trump for reviving criticism of the city’s homicide rate and the agreement with the ACLU.

“Even someone as clueless as Donald Trump has to know stop-and-frisk is simply not the solution to crime,” Matt McGrath said in an emailed statement.

The ACLU of Illinois’ Karen Sheley said Trump’s comments were neither accurate nor helpful. The Trump administration has consistently “encouraged strong-arm tactics and unconstitutional practices by police,” she said, adding, “The solutions to violence in Chicago are not going to come from Donald Trump.”

The White House and Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for more details on what Trump had asked Sessions to do.

Chicago’s violent crime has repeatedly drawn national attention – and Trump’s – as shootings and homicides climbed to levels not seen in nearly two decades. But the number of homicides has fallen – from 771 in 2016 to 650 in 2017, with a further decline expected this year. The number of slayings still exceeds numbers in Los Angeles and New York combined.


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