FBI says public scrutiny impacts policing - KCTV5 News

FBI says public scrutiny impacts policing

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The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was in Kansas City on Thursday talking about policing in a pressure cooker.

Since he was in Kansas City, James Comey used baseball to explain a crime trend. What would happen if just one or two pitchers threw balls that hit batters in the face, then Major League Baseball decided to watch those pitchers, then fans pulled out cell phones and started recording?

“I think I know what would happen. Pitchers would move the ball a little closer towards the center of the plate and the consequence would be more hits and more runs,” Comey said.

He then explained how that could be transferred to police officers under a microscope.

“To me my common sense that may be a phenomenon that’s at work here. And like I said, hundreds of police officers and chiefs have told me privately they think that's what’s going on,” Comey said.

Hey explained that officers might start to be afraid to step out of their patrol cars and engage in community policing, concerned things could get misconstrued, get out of hand and then end up on the web.

“I could be wrong, but I haven’t heard a good alternative explanation,” Comey said.

Comey points out that violent crime is on the rise in 30 out of 50 major cities.

Some call officers becoming afraid to really go after crime as the “Ferguson Effect.” Comey said he doesn’t like that term.

He thinks police are afraid of cell phones. While there’s no data to support him, he said it’s what he hears privately when he’s talking to officers.

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