FBI Director James Comey once again tread in controversial waters on Wednesday when he reaffirmed his position that the potential for viral video has led to a decrease in effective policing, which is causing a spike in crime nationwide.
Comey believes that a "viral video effect could well be at the heart" of a rise in violent crime, The New York Times reports.
The "Ferguson effect" — police officers hesitant to confront suspects for fear of getting hit with excessive force or brutality, thanks to a video.
"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 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, 'Hey, what are you doing here?'" Comey said to reporters.
Police are under scrutiny in Minneapolis, where shootings are on the rise but arrests are down over the past few months since the police-involved shooting death of Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old black man, Vocativ reports.
In the precinct where Clark was shot, there has been a 45 percent drop in arrests while the number of shootings is on the rise.
According to Vocativ, one police officer was quoted as saying, "Confrontation equals getting indicted, put on the front page or [the Police Chief] will bury you. As far as I'm concerned, we're done working."
Though Comey rejects the term "Ferguson effect," he said the phenomenon "could well be an important factor" in the new statistics he was briefed on Wednesday — rising crime rates in 40 cities in the first quarter of 2016.
"Something is happening," Comey said, The Times reports. "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."
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