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Public hearings set for comment on proposed consent decree guiding CPD reforms

The Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago. | Google Streetview image

Two public hearings have been announced for late October, at which people can comment on a proposed consent decree that will govern reforms of the Chicago Police Department.

Both hearings — Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 — will be in the John B. Parsons Ceremonial Courtroom on the 25th floor of the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn St., Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office announced Wednesday. Hearings will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.

Speakers are limited to five minutes. Written comments also may be submitted to the U.S. District Court clerk by 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 12. Either deliver them in person at Dirksen, or mail them to: Clerk of Court; U.S. District Court; Dirksen Federal Building; 219 S. Dearborn St., 20th Floor; Chicago IL 60604.

The proposed decree awaits approval by a federal judge. It was filed with the court Sept. 13 after more than a year of negotiations between the city and state attorney general’s office.

At the time it was submitted, Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson stressed that the agreement would lead to lasting reforms of a police department that has long struggled to gain the trust of minority communities.

Video by Max Herman | Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced the sub

The final sticking point of the agreement had been whether 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. 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 earlier this month that were it up to him, 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. In announcing the public hearings, Madigan’s office also outlined the process for selecting the monitor, saying that nine teams of experts have applied. Their applications can be viewed online, where feedback also can be offered.

Finalists picked from those applicants will be announced the week of Oct. 15, and two public forums to hear presentations from, and comment on, those finalists will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Thompson Center. The final decision is up to the judge.

View this document on ScribdContributing: Sam Charles