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Republican Sen. John Kennedy grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland for the Department of Justice “losing on crime,” and pointed to how Chicago has become “the world’s first outdoor shooting range.”
“I think the Justice Department is losing,” Kennedy told Garland, who was testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday in regard to the DOJ’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2023. “I think you’re losing on crime. I think you’re losing on drugs. I think you’re losing on immigration. I think you’re losing on Chinese espionage.”
Kennedy grilled the AG on rising crimes in the U.S., specifically in Chicago and why the Department of Justice hasn’t supported stop and frisk measures to curb the crimes.
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“Why doesn’t the Justice Department support stop, question, and frisk?” Kennedy asked.
Garland responded that he’s unsure if the DOJ has a position on stop and frisk, noting that stop and frisk is usually left up to local and state leaders.
Stop and frisk was deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court in 1968 in the case Terry v. Ohio, ruling that it is not unconstitutional for police officers to stop and frisk people suspected of being involved in a crime.
Garland said that the method “in some circumstances” can be successful, “but of course it can be abused.”
“Let’s take Chicago where … we haven’t made any inroads in stopping the killing. Chicago is now the world’s largest outdoor shooting range. We know that a lot of the shootings come from gangs. Why wouldn’t you want to call the police chief and the mayor in Chicago and say, ‘Look, you know who these gang members are. When you have a reasonable suspicion under Terry v. Ohio … why don’t you aggressively stop, question and frisk these gang members?” Kennedy asked, arguing guns, drugs and gang members would be pulled from the streets.
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“The best way for the federal government to stop violent crime is to work at each local level and … let the state and locals determine what the best use of their own resources is,” Garland responded.
“I’m trying to get some answers,” Kennedy responded. ” Just tell me why you won’t do that. Your opinion matters.”
“Because there is no one solution fits all that the federal government can suggest to state and local law enforcement,” Garland responded.
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The DOJ is requesting $20.2 billion for Fiscal Year 2023 to support the department’s law enforcement components and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country.