Final draft of CPD consent decree submitted to judge

SHARE Final draft of CPD consent decree submitted to judge

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson by her sides, announces the completion of a consent decree on police reform at the James R. Thompson Center on September 13, 2018. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

After more than a year of negotiations between the city and state attorney general’s office, the final draft of the proposed consent decree aimed at reforming the Chicago Police Department was submitted to a federal judge Thursday.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced the submission at a Thompson Center news conference, stressing that the agreement — which is still subject to approval by a federal judge — would lead to lasting reforms of a police department that has long struggled to gain the trust of minority communities.

“This agreement builds on reforms that we have already made,” Emanuel said. “It creates and enforceable, durable and sustainable framework for systemic changes in the Chicago Police Department.”

The final sticking point of the agreement was whether or not officers would be required to document each time they pointed their gun at someone. The attorney general’s office pushed for the documentation, though the city initially resisted.

Last week, it was announced that the two sides agreed to require documentation.

Leadership from the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing rank-and-file officers, has said that requiring officers to document when they point their guns at someone will only make officers hesitate to act and put cops in further danger.

Johnson said Thursday that the newly added language in the submitted draft would prevent just that.

The FOP has pushed back on the very necessity of a consent decree since Madigan’s office filed the lawsuit last year.

Kevin Graham, president of the FOP, said last week that he would “toss out” the entire consent decree. He argued that any changes to the police department could be negotiated between the city, police department and FOP. The union is not a party to Madigan’s lawsuit, which spurred the decree.

The consent decree will be enforced by U.S. District Court Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. It has no expiration date and will be overseen by an independent monitor, who has yet to be appointed.

Asked the potential cost of the decree’s enforcement, Emanuel said he will “embed in financial costs that assume implementing the reform” in his final budget, which will be submitted in about a month.

Emanuel said there’s “a strong focus” on supporting officers’ physical and mental well-being. His comment came just a day after a CPD officer took her own life — the third member of the department to commit suicide in the last two months.

Emanuel also noted that the submitted consent decree is different from those of other cities because it relied upon input from rank-and-file officers and was open to public comment before being submitted to Dow.

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