“People following them around with cameras watching everything they do, suspicious that they’re always afraid to break the law, leaving police afraid to even get out of their cars for fear that someone might whip out a phone and brutally film them. Who can imagine how that must feel?” he said. “If you listen carefully, all the police are saying is, ‘Phones down, don’t shoot.'”The term has been used to explain violent crime increases in some US cities, arguing that officers have been cowed into not doing their jobs “proactively” for fear that they would be recorded by witnesses and subsequently accused of using excessive force.
Last week, FBI Director James Comey described it as “a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement,” a statement that led to him being rebuked by President Barack Obama. Earlier in the day, Obama told NBC News that Comey was using “anecdotal” evidence, and that there was no statistical evidence backing up his theory.
Similarly, Noah cited a study by the American Psychological Association that stated that it is “too soon” to blame any crime increases on increased scrutiny of police, since crime has been declining for the past 20 years.
“But these are just facts,” Noah warned. “They don’t count. It doesn’t matter what the facts are. The only thing that matters is how the police feel.”