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Sessions praises NY's criminal justice efforts amid 'soft on crime' spat

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“I would say this about New York – New York has done some great things in criminal justice. They are following policies that have proven to reduce crime in America,” Sessions said during a press conference touring the border in San Diego.

“We’ve had a disagreement with the mayor over sanctuary city policies, I strongly disagree with his ideas on that. But for many years now, the broken windows philosophy, community based policing philosophy, the way they process criminal cases in New York have created a murder rate far below that of cities like Chicago and Baltimore,” he added.

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“I do believe that what New York has to be cautious about is altering those highly successful policies that have proven really to be models that I think other cities should consider.”

The DOJ accused New York of being “soft on crime” in a release that announced the department’s letters to so-called “sanctuary cities” demanding that they help federal officials enforce U.S. immigration law.

“New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance,” the DOJ said in its release.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) blasted the department for the statement, calling it “unacceptable,” “outrageous” and “absurd” while calling for Trump administration officials to renounce it.

“We did not become the safest big city in America by being ‘soft on crime,'” De Blasio said.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James O’Neill also ripped the DOJ statement, saying his “blood began to boil.”

“To say we’re soft on crime is absolutely ludicrous,” he added.

Around the time Sessions was speaking in California on Friday afternoon, a DOJ spokesman issued a second statement saying that that the department’s initial “soft on crime” remark was aimed at De Blasio’s policies.

“Those policies, implemented by New York City’s Mayor and his administration, are directly responsible for a dangerous MS-13 gang member walking out of Rikers Island in February,” DOJ spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement to The Hill.

“Unfortunately, the Mayor’s policies are hamstringing the brave NYPD officers that protect the city, and only serve to endanger the lives of the hard working men and women of the NYPD who care more about keeping their city and country safe than they do about city hall politics.”

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