The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and other community groups filed another lawsuit Wednesday seeking federal oversight of the Chicago Police Department — this time to make sure people with disabilities are part of any reform effort.
The move comes five weeks after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a similar lawsuit timed with a promise by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to embrace federal monitoring of CPD.
Both followed the filing of a lawsuit by Black Lives Matter Chicago and others in June.
“As already announced with the Illinois Attorney General, we are committed to a public engagement process that includes the input of local community groups, police officers and other stakeholders which will result in a consent decree that builds on current reforms and includes an independent monitor overseen by a federal judge,” Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the city’s law department, said in response to the ACLU’s lawsuit.
The Justice Department issued a scathing report in January accusing the Chicago Police Department of civil rights violations. That report came in the waning days of the Obama Administration, though. And Emanuel said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since walked away from the idea of a memorandum of agreement, prompting the mayor to agree to court oversight.
Now, the latest lawsuit complains that, “almost nine months after the DOJ issued its findings, neither an independent monitor nor a plan for reform has been ordered or agreed upon, and disability is not even acknowledged in the lawsuit the city has publicly promised to settle.”
In a press release, the groups filing the lawsuit complain that neither City Hall nor Madigan’s office have explained “how affected communities will be able to influence their private deal-making or whether they will have a role in the enforcement and monitoring of a consent decree.”
A member of one of the groups joining the ACLU in the lawsuit, Communities United, said in the press release that, “the City of Chicago cannot negotiate this agreement behind closed doors.”
“True oversight must involve impacted communities,” Roxanne Smith said. “Communities United is committed along side our partners to guaranteeing positive reforms in the Chicago Police Department and changing how they interact with their community for the better.”