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State wants judge to help decide whether cops should record gun pointing

Lisa Madigan speaks at a press conference on the draft of the consent decree in Chicago, IL on July 27, 2018. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

A month after acknowledging an impasse over whether Chicago police should make a record each time they point a gun at a person, it appears state and city lawyers will put the question to a federal judge.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office filed a motion Wednesday to partially lift a stay of her lawsuit seeking a consent decree to govern reforms at the Chicago Police Department. That stay has given her office a chance to negotiate with City Hall.

Now, partially lifting the stay over just the handgun issue would likely put that matter in the hands of U.S. District Judge Robert Dow.

“Focused litigation on a single, limited issue” could play out at the same time as the consent decree approval process, Assistant Attorney General Cara Hendrickson wrote in Wednesday’s motion.

The two sides are due back in court Thursday. Madigan spokeswoman Maura Possley said lawyers for the state and city are still talking, despite Wednesday’ motion, in hopes of coming to an agreement without litigation.

Despite their disagreement, the two sides revealed last month a 225-page draft of a consent decree. It is wide-ranging and would address virtually every aspect of policing in Chicago. Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham blasted it as “illegal and invalid.”

Earlier this month, Dow denied the FOP’s bid to intervene as a party in the case, though he promised to give “all Chicago police officers” a chance to be heard. The FOP is appealing the decision.

Work toward a consent decree has its roots in the fatal Oct. 20, 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald. Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with McDonald’s murder and is set to go on trial next week.