Column: Donald Trump, butt out of Chicago's business!

President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One on Oct. 8, 2018, on his way to speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police's annual convention in Orlando, Fla.
President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One on Oct. 8, 2018, on his way to speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police's annual convention in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

Do not think for a moment that Donald Trump cares about killings in Chicago.

Don’t let him trick you into believing that he and Kanye West can put their heads together over lunch and come up with a solution to our city’s violence problem.


Don’t buy Trump’s line that he was so concerned about a phony “shooting wave” that he ordered U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to oppose the proposed consent decree that would reform our Police Department.

Trump’s latest attempt to meddle in Chicago’s business has nothing to do with the well-being of our city. It’s all about payback.


Trump hasn’t spoken publicly about the conviction of former police Officer Jason Van Dyke. But based on everything we know about him, you can bet that the president wasn’t pleased with the guilty verdict.

One thing we know for sure is that Trump doesn’t think police brutality is a problem. In fact, he seems to endorse it.

Remember the interview with Bill O’Reilly back in 2016, when he said a “top police officer in Chicago” had told him that he could stop the violence in one week if cops could be tougher?

Of course, no ranking police officer ever said any such thing.


And don’t forget the speech Trump gave to law enforcement officers in suburban New York last year, where he referred to gang members as “animals” and urged police officers to be “rough” when arresting suspects.

Several law enforcement agencies across the country even pushed back on that, saying it sent the wrong message about the relationship police officers should have with the communities they serve.

As far as Trump is concerned, though, it’s OK for cops to do whatever they want to civilians. There is no reason to think that would not include shooting a teenager 16 times, even after he falls to the ground.

Certainly, that’s what the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police seems to think.

“This sham trial and shameful verdict is a message to every law enforcement officer in America that it’s not the perpetrator in front of you that you need to worry about, it’s the political operatives stabbing you in the back,” the FOP said in a statement following the verdict.

These are Trump’s people talking. The national FOP threw its support behind his presidential bid in 2016. In order to make the endorsement, two-thirds of the state lodges had to agree to it. Illinois was among those that did.

So it is no coincidence that days after the jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder — the first murder conviction leveled against an on-duty Chicago police officer in half a century — Trump decided to redirect his attention to Chicago’s violence.

In a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, Trump again touted the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, saying it was meant for cities like Chicago.

And, he said, he had directed Sessions to go to Chicago and help “straighten out the terrible shooting wave.”

“I'm going to straighten it out and straighten it out fast. There's no reason for what's going on there," Trump said. “I've told them to work with local authorities to try to change the terrible deal the city of Chicago entered into with the ACLU, which ties law enforcement's hands and to strongly consider stop-and-frisk.”

The next day, Trump’s Justice Department announced that it would file a statement in federal court opposing the proposed consent decree designed to bring about sweeping changes in our Police Department.

The proposed mandates, which were carefully hammered out in the wake of Laquan McDonald’s shooting, remain our best chance at moving toward reconciliation between the police and minority communities.

This court order is perhaps our last opportunity to build a bridge of communication between residents and law enforcement officials. Mutual trust is what we lack most, and that contributes, at least in part, to the violence.

Trump, of course, cares nothing about building bridges. It’s not in his best interest to help us work toward a goal of mutual respect and accountability. For a man whose goal is to divide, bringing a city together would be counterproductive.

Though it might not seem like it to outsiders, we are making progress in Chicago without stop-and-frisk. Homicides are down 24 percent, and shootings are down 30 percent since the beginning of last year.

And a cop who murdered a resident of our city is in prison.

We are a long way from being able to say we’re proud of our progress. But we do seem to be on the right track.

The last thing we need is Trump getting in our way.

Twitter @dahleeng

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