Just Go Ahead and Lie, ACLU Edition

In my last post, I noted that, when the sentencing reform crowd runs out of room to distort language, they just flat-out lie.  The example I gave was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who claims, in the face of an astonishing surge in NYC murders, that the City is “safer.”

The ink was barely dry on that post when I saw, courtesy of Sentencing Law and Policy, an entry about an ACLU report out today, July 27.  The ACLU makes the following assertion (emphasis added):

Nearly every county jail that we examined [in 29 big cities, not including New York] reduced their population, if only slightly, between the end of February and the end of April. Over this time period, we found that the reduction in jail population was functionally unrelated to crime trends in the following months….We found no evidence of any spikes in crime in any of the 29 locations, even when comparing monthly trends over the past two years. The release of incarcerated people from jails has saved lives both in jails and in the community, all while monthly crime trends were within or below average ranges in every city.

Did I mention something about a flat-out lie?

I won’t go into detail, since practically everyone who reads this blog will be chuckling about the breezy audacity of the ACLU claim.  Instead, I’ll just link a number of mainstream media reports about the national crime explosion that the ACLU says doesn’t exist  —  reports that I found in less than two minutes on Google.

Crime is surging in US cities. Some say defunding the police will actually make it fall (CNN)

Major U.S. cities, gripped with crisis, now face spike in deadly shootings, including of children (Washington Post)

NYC Homicides Soar 21 Percent in First 6 Months of 2020, Shootings Up 46 Percent (NBC New York)

A trying first half of 2020 included spike in shootings and homicides in Chicago (Chicago Tribune)

Violent crime in US cities surges in summer amid pandemic, protests: ‘Perfect storm of distress’ (Fox News)

Violent crime, homicides in Charlotte up in 2020 compared to same time last year (WBTV Charlotte)

Police Wrestle With Surge in Crime in U.S. Cities Amid Defunding Efforts (Wall Street Journal)


UPDATE:  I should note that in the original ACLU story (and not included in the SL&P entry) is a chart with this note in fine print:  “Police data is [sic] often dynamic, and constantly updated based on new reports. Reported incidents may have changed since time of analysis (early July, 2020).”

Let me translate that:  “We’re leaving out a raft of data which, if included as they easily could be given that we’re publishing this in the last few days of July, show that the impression we’re doing our best to convey  —  that crime over recent weeks and months is down  —  is complete bunk.”

CORRECTED UPDATE:  The first sentence above might convey the erroneous impression that the sleight-of-hand going on is in the SL&P entry, not the ACLU’s claim.  That is incorrect.  The SL&P entry is perfectly forthcoming.  The Update’s first sentence would be clearer if it said, “I should note that the original ACLU story contains a chart, understandably not contained in the SL&P condensation, with a note in fine print at the chart’s bottom in which the ACLU quietly lets on that, “Police data…….”