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Black Lives Matter among groups that get legal voice in CPD consent decree talks

Vanita Gupta (left), shown with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, said in January 2017 that a court-enforced consent decree is the best way to ensure true reform at the Chicago Police Department. | AP photo

A coalition of community groups, including Black Lives Matter, now has a legal voice in negotiations over proposed federal judicial oversight of the Chicago Police Department, according to a court filing Tuesday.

The city and Illinois attorney general’s office have been negotiating a consent decree that would give a federal judge power to enforce police reforms recommended in a scathing report by the Obama administration’s Justice Department.

Lamon Reccord, 16, of Chicago Votes and Black Lives Matter, was among the demonstrators who railed against a police-involved killing outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house in 2016. | Getty Images
Lamon Reccord, 16, of Chicago Votes and Black Lives Matter, was among the demonstrators who railed against a police-involved killing outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house in 2016. | Getty Images

The Trump administration signaled its opposition to court oversight of local police departments after the Justice Department’s report, which was released in early 2017, found a pattern of civil rights violations by Chicago officers.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and other legal-aid groups, filed lawsuits last year to force the city to seek federal oversight of the police — even without the Trump Justice Department’s help.

The ACLU, MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University and Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago have now signed an agreement with Madigan’s office and the city that would give them input into the negotiations and the ability to object in court to provisions they don’t like.

The ACLU, MacArthur Justice Center and Mandel Legal Aid Clinic represent groups such as Communities United and Black Lives Matter Chicago. They’re pushing for a consent decree to be filed before Sept. 1.

They’ve agreed to freeze their lawsuits as long as progress is being made toward provisions that would reduce the likelihood of excessive force by officers against people who are black, Latino and disabled.