Lightfoot pushes police reform in televised address

The mayor also announced a $10 million grant fund for businesses hit by looters, with grants “equity weighted” to South and West side establishments.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivers an address from City Hall Tuesday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivers an address from City Hall onTuesday.

City of Chicago

With her third televised address barely a year into office, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday announced a set of police accountability reform measures in the wake of days of city unrest. 

As George Floyd protesters continued marching in different parts of the city, Lightfoot said the city is “under a [federal] consent decree, but the process of reform has been too slow and too narrowly focused.”

In a 20-minute speech from her City Hall office, Lightfoot said she’d given directives to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown outlining “some immediate necessary steps on our journey toward reform … ones that build bridges between police and community.”

The mayor said over the next 90 days, the city will implement new training procedures for officers incorporating community members to provide “perspective” on the history of police relations in individual neighborhoods and police districts. It’ll also include neighborhood tours for trainees led by community members, Lightfoot said. 

Lightfoot also said the city would implement a “real officer wellness” program with a pilot intervention system “for officers in crisis, improving peer support and providing counselors to those in need, and holding people accountable.”

That will include “mandating crisis intervention and procedural justice training for all officers” and create a “new recruit program program on police-community relations and community policing with views from the city from the community about what works,” Lightfoot said. 

The mayor said CPD “will be totally transparent in these efforts.” 

“This is just the start, not the end, of our journey for police reform and accountability.”

The address followed the chaos Saturday night and Sunday when peaceful protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s killing devolved into riots and looting in various pockets of the city

Lightfoot said the city would start a $10 million grant fund for businesses hit by looters and solicit more from private donors. The grants will be “equity weighted” to South and West side businesses. 

“We will clean up these broken windows, but we can’t stop there. We must also repair and clean up broken systems,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot last held a televised address March 19 as the COVID-19 pandemic first ground business in the city and state to a halt. And last summer she used a TV slot to outline an $838 million budget hole facing the city — one that’s certain to grow in the wake of the shutdown. 

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