A screen shot from police dashcam video of the Laquan McDonald shooting. | Chicago Police Department via AP File

Saturday hearings allow public to question finalists for Chicago Police monitor

SHARE Saturday hearings allow public to question finalists for Chicago Police monitor
SHARE Saturday hearings allow public to question finalists for Chicago Police monitor

City residents will have two chances this weekend to lob questions and comments at the four firms vying for a multimillion-dollar contract to oversee reforms at the Chicago Police department.

The four finalists to serve as independent police monitor — a panel of experts who will advise the department on reform efforts and report on CPD’s progress to U.S. District Judge Robert Dow — each will make presentations at the Thompson Center Saturday and answer questions about how they would handle the job. Two sessions are scheduled: one from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and a second from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The hearings come just a week after the judge was barraged with complaints and concerns about the proposed federal consent decree — a legal settlement of a lawsuit filed against the city by state Attorney General Lisa Madigan — that will provide the roadmap for the changes for the monitoring team to follow.

Residents will be able to submit written questions to the finalists at the forum or by email to

Completed applications from the final four are available on the Attorney General’s consent decree website here.

The four finalists are theCoar Monitoring Team, a Chicago-based firm fronted by former U.S. District Judge David Coar; the Police Foundation Monitoring Team headed by Rick Braziel, the inspector general for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and Brian Maxey, the former chief operating officer of the Seattle Police Department;  Schiff-Hardin CNA, a collaboration between Chicago-based law firm Schiff Hardin LLC and non-profit research firm CNA headed by former federal prosecutor and state Inspector General Maggie Hickey, and StoneTurn Monitoring Team, the New York-based team led by former federal prosecutor Katherine Lemire.

The judge will make the final choice of a monitor, with the city proposing an annual cost not to exceed $2.85 million. The monitoring team will be charged with assisting the department in meeting the mandates of a “consent decree”, a settlement agreement between the city and Madigan’s office that is intended to address a pattern of civil rights abuses by the CPD outlined in a Department of Justice probe that began after the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald by Jason Van Dyke.

Police departments in more than two dozen cities across the United States, ranging from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, have been placed under judicial oversight as a result of similar consent decrees, though Chicago’s is unique in that it was the result of a lawsuit brought by Madigan rather than litigation with the Justice Department.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month slammed the agreement in an October speech to the Chicago Crime Commission, claiming a consent decree would tie the hands of police officers in one of the nation’s most crime-plagued cities. The Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing most of the CPD’s rank-and-file officers, also has opposed the decree.

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