As this story from the Washington Post reports, that appears to be the response to the national campaign that has left police feeling under siege.
CHICAGO — Twice in recent days, FBI Director James B. Comey has stepped to a podium here and asserted that police across the nation are reluctant to aggressively enforce the law in the post-Ferguson era of smartphones and YouTube.
And twice his comments have drawn disagreement and derision from a host of sources, including civil rights activists, law enforcement officials and, on Monday, the White House.
“The available evidence at this point does not support the notion that law enforcement officers around the country are shying away from fulfilling their responsibilities,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday at a news briefing in Washington. “The evidence that we’ve seen so far doesn’t support the contention that law enforcement officials are somehow shirking their responsibility.”
Comey, nonetheless, stayed the course, telling thousands of police officials gathered here for a conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police that a violent crime wave is gripping the nation’s major cities. And he suggested that police officers themselves are in part to blame, made gun shy by the prospect of getting caught on the next video of alleged police brutality.
The “age of viral videos” has fundamentally altered U.S. policing, Comey said Monday in a speech virtually identical to one he delivered last week at the University of Chicago Law School.
His comments have been interpreted as giving credence to the notion of a “Ferguson effect” — the theory that riots and racial unrest in places such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, where police killed civilians, has prompted police officers to become more restrained. That, in turn, has theoretically resulted in an uptick in violent crime as criminals become emboldened.
Comey acknowledged Monday that he has little evidence to support the theory.
Retrieved October 27, 2015 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/fbi-chief-again-says-ferguson-having-chilling-effect-on-law-enforcement/2015/10/26/c51011d4-7c2c-11e5-afce-2afd1d3eb896_story.html