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Task force seeks a use-of-force policy that’s fair to police and citizens

Hardworking police officers should have no fear of our policy review.

Arewa Karen Winters of Justice for Families speaks during a press conference at City Hall to announce the city’s new Use of Force Working Group, designed to to review the Chicago Police Department’s policies pertaining to use of force, Monday morning. Winters will co-chair the Use of Force Working Group
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

I am a Chicago survivor of police torture under disgraced former Police Cmdr. Jon Burge. From the age of 16, I found myself sitting behind prison walls for decades. I served 28 years before winning my release in August, 2009.

I was appointed several weeks ago to the Chicago Police and city of Chicago Use of Force Working Group. I accepted this appointment not to be biased nor to make incorrect judgments about how policy surrounding use-of-force must be revised to ensure that citizens are kept safe from members of the Chicago Police Department.

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Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara appears to have problems with Arewa Karen Winters being assigned to this working group, failing to acknowledge the fact that it’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department that appointed her, as well as myself, to oversee changes in this policy of excessive force.

Many members of the CPD appear to want the citizens of Chicago to believe that Arewa poses some threat or will not be fair. I disagree. We have accepted this task to finally attempt to reform the CPD in a way to protect the interest of Chicago residents and police officers. The FOP should be completely independent from our review of the current policy and how it’s revised.

We are afraid of the police who have shown us that many are street thugs and carry the attitude of protecting dirty cops, exercising the code of silence over the integrity of justice.

Hardworking police officers will have no fear in our policy review and reforming of it, as I believe they will accept the changes that we will make. We are calling on the FOP to cease its attacks upon torture survivors, peaceful protesters and hardworking citizens. Reforms are needed, and that is something that every police officer I have spoken with over the past two weeks has informed me in private. Many feel as if they have been labelled incorrectly as street thugs for the actions of a few. Give us the opportunity to make conditions better for all and not just for police officers.

I am not biased and will not exercise policy change without considering the fact that I have several family members who are members of the Chicago Police Department. An uncle, Mark Davis, served CPD for 32 years before becoming the chief of Calumet Park Police Department. Police officers who openly engage in criminal behavior should and must be held accountable to protect the integrity of justice and not corrupt cops who have shown disrespect toward the rights of citizens whom they have sworn to protest.

Mark Clements, Chicago Torture Justice Center

Rallies take precedence

It’s pretty clear that having rallies is more important to the president than the health of his base. By the time the election rolls around there may be fewer “fans” in his base (to vote).

Lauretta Hart, West Ridge