CPD has always been under mayoral control. It’s time to try something new

The Chicago Police Department has always been under mayoral control, and what has been the result?

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Chicago Police Supt. David Brown speaks about what the department and its officers must do better during a press conference regarding the murder of a retired firefighter and the botched raid of Anjanette Young at City Hall in the Loop on Dec. 17, 2020.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

I cannot disagree with you more in your opposition to the establishment of an elected body to oversee the actions of the Chicago Police Department.

The CPD has always been under mayoral control, and what has been the result? Dozens of men, almost all men of color, have been wrongfully convicted due to faked “evidence” or, in the case of disgraced detective Jon Burge, have gone to prison based on confessions obtained through torture. Even worse, no one knows how many people have been killed by the police over the years. 

The local case of LaQuan McDonald is a prime example here, but the only reason it came to light is because video evidence was available. Without that, no one would have heard of him. Although more people now have the means to record police actions on their telephones, one can safely assume that many more incidents take place with no witnesses or recording.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

There are two things that are often missing from the discussion of police misconduct. The first is that in the case of a crime having actually occurred, a wrongfully accused person facing trial may end up in prison while the actual criminal is still out on the streets. Secondly, in the rare cases when police misconduct is identified, the only realistic remedy, besides releasing the convicted from prison, is a cash payment. Over the last 10-12 years the City of Chicago has been paying out about $50 million dollars a year; a bill that we, the taxpayers, have to foot. And one can correctly assume that the size of those payments will rise dramatically due to the recent settlements reached in Minneapolis and Louisville with the families of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor.

Being a police officer is no easy task. I know a few police officers, active and retired, and I understand the difficulties and uncertainties of their job on daily basis. I know I would never want to take on the great responsibilities that they have. Sometimes mistakes are made despite good intentions, but when mistakes are made, attempts should be made to prevent them in the future. Instead, there exists a wall of silence that ignores the errors and allows things to go on as if nothing has happened. This is a disservice to the majority of police who are dedicated to trying to improve our lives by protecting us from criminal elements. 

In part, mayoral control has led us to the current situation and it is time to try something new. I strongly feel that an elected police accountability council would be an improvement and I see nothing wrong with presenting the proposal to the voters and see if they agree. I hope the Sun-Times reconsiders its position.

George Milkowski, West Ridge

Racist crimes cannot be tolerated

I expected this, racist crime. You had a president who clearly saw racist crimes and defended them saying, “there are good people on both sides.” Racists saw a go-ahead from that administration. They are going to push it as far as they can. 

This is what happens when a racist administration opens the bag of devils and let’s them all out. The police need to nip this in the bud. We already have the killings and racist crimes ramping up. These are the real criminals.

We have to pass a law forbidding racist acts. You can think whatever you want, but not act on it. That has to be a punishable crime. Racism cannot be tolerated. There was a guy in the past like that, hated Jews, we all saw how devastatingly that ended.

That is the result of ignoring racist crimes. They all crawled out of the woodwork, now they can crawl back. Because what makes this country really great is the beautiful tapestry of people from all over the world.

Connie Orland, Plainfield

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