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Lawyer overseeing CPD reform planning special report on recent protests

Maggie Hickey was appointed last year to oversee the court-mandate federal consent decree.

Maggie Hickey
Maggie Hickey, the lawyer overseeing compliance of a court-ordered Chicago police reform effort, said Friday that she’s planning a special report on how the city handled the recent protests. | Sun-Times file photo.

The lawyer overseeing the Chicago Police Department’s court-ordered reform effort said Friday she’s planning a report on the city’s handling of the recent protests after George Floyd’s death.

The announcement comes after peaceful protests in the city against police brutality last weekend escalated into chaos, riots and looting in parts of Chicago.

In promising “transparency,” special monitor Maggie Hickey said she’d draw on a variety of sources in compiling the report, including community members, Chicago Police officers and other law enforcement.

“I agree with that action she is taking today,” U.S. District Court Judge Robert Dow said during a teleconference that included lawyers from the city and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office. The hearing was scheduled to discuss the status of a federal consent decree that went into effect last year and lays out a roadmap for major reform of the Police Department.

One of the lawyers with Raoul’s office took the unusual step Friday of publicly slamming Mayor Lori Lightfoot during the hearing.

Shareese Nycole Pryor said Lightfoot’s comments during a televised address earlier this week suggesting current reform of the the Police Department had been too slow and too narrowly focused rang “hollow.”

“For the past year, we have seen far too much foot-dragging from the city and the Chicago Police Department,” Pryor said.

Pryor said Lightfoot’s comments about the scope of the consent decree ignored the fact the document is “one part of a much broader reform effort.”

And while Raoul’s office agrees that reform has moved too slowly, Pryor said, “The mayor has the power to move this process forward with the urgency it deserves.”

Pryor said the attorney general’s office looks “forward to the mayor backing up her words with immediate action.”

On Tuesday, in her televised address, Lightfoot announced a new set of police accountability reform measures that include training procedures for officers in which community members would share their perspectives on the history of police relations in individual neighborhoods and police districts.

On Friday, shortly after the federal hearing, Lightfoot’s office issued a statement about plans for the independent monitor to review the city’s handling of protests, but didn’t directly address Pryor’s comments.

“The Independent Monitor has been a critical partner on our road toward building a more transparent, accountable and professional police force, and we join in the request for her thorough review of the city’s response to the protests, violence, and looting in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police,” the mayor’s statement said.

Raoul issued his own statement Friday, accusing the Police Department of hiding “behind a a broken accountability system” and of “inexcusably” missing dozens of court-ordered deadlines with no plan in place to catch up.”

“The city owes the community it serves meaningful reform, not lip service, not Band-Aids, and not politics,” Raoul said. “I am calling on the city to recommit to implementing structural change within the Chicago Police Department, to publicly reject systemic racism, and to truly and transparently commit to gaining the trust of communities of color.

“I look forward to the independent monitor’s upcoming special report that will give us a more complete picture of how the CPD is responding to the protests that are continuing throughout Chicago. The protests are proof that the residents of Chicago are tired of waiting.”