Community groups make demands on CPD consent decree: ‘The buck is stopping here’

SHARE Community groups make demands on CPD consent decree: ‘The buck is stopping here’

Jonathan Projansky of Black Lives Matter Chicago speaks at a press conference Tuesday announcing several community groups demands for the Chicago Police reform consent decree. | Mitchell Armentrout/Sun-Times

A coalition of community groups on Tuesday issued a series of demands to the offices of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan as they negotiate federal judicial oversight of the Chicago Police Department.

The 10 groups — which include Black Lives Matter Chicago, the Chicago Urban League and the NAACP — outlined their recommendations for the consent decree in a 127-page document addressing CPD operations from hiring and firing to training and use-of-force policies.

“The buck is stopping here,” Crista Noel of the Women’s All Points Bulletin group said at a Tuesday press conference. “We’re calling out and on the police to do better jobs in protecting its constituents when called upon to do so.

“You will not kill us,” she said. “You will not beat rape, shoot, steal or be racist and biased.”

The groups broke down their recommendations into a 10-point plan focusing on how officers interact with people of color, people with disabilities, women and LGBTQ individuals.

Among their demands are the removal of CPD officers from Chicago Public Schools, anti-violence and de-escalation training, and an elected police oversight board.

“Any aversion to the demands we’re making is a slap in the face to everybody that has gone through police violence,” Black Lives Matter Chicago’s Jonathan Projansky said.

View this document on ScribdThe 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 in early 2017 that found a pattern of civil rights abuses by Chicago officers — a finding that has been opposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Madigan, along with the ACLU 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 community groups won a voice in the ongoing consent-decree negotiations in March, when the ACLU, MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University and Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago signed an agreement with Madigan’s office and giving them input into the negotiations, and the ability to object in court to provisions they don’t like.

The community groups agreed to freeze their lawsuits against the city 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.

Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said on Tuesday that the city is having “productive conversations” with Madigan’s office, and that they’re “making progress” on a decree.

“Since the beginning, we have committed to a public engagement process that includes the input of local community groups, police officers and many others,” McCaffrey said. “We have received the input from the MacArthur Justice Center, along with suggestions from many others, and we expect to receive more community feedback as we continue to make progress.”

In a statement, Madigan’s office said: “Our goal is to ensure that Chicagoans have many opportunities to engage in the consent decree process. We appreciate the input these community groups have provided.”

The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents rank-and-file CPD officers, called the groups’ demands “ludicrous,” saying they “are based upon a largely false narrative, relentlessly pushed by institutions like Northwestern and never questioned by a morally bankrupt media in the city.

“The truth is that the police are being handcuffed from doing their jobs and protecting the public, particularly those these groups claim they are fighting for,” police union officials said.

In their March agreement, city and state officials agreed to file their consent decree by Sept. 1, according to the community groups.

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