The independent monitor overseeing the federal consent decree aimed at reforming the Chicago Police Department issued a new report Thursday showing that the city missed over 70% of its court-ordered deadlines in the latest reporting period.
Independent Monitor Maggie Hickey’s accounting of the second semiannual reporting period, which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, found that only 22 of the 74 deadlines were met between Sept. 1 of last year and Feb. 29. In the first year of the consent decree, the city has met 35 deadlines and missed 89 others.
The federal consent decree was prompted by a lawsuit former Illinois General Lisa Madigan filed against the CPD in the wake of the killing of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old boy who was shot 16 times and killed by former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014.
In a statement, Hickey referenced the current unrest spurred by the officer-involved killing of George Floyd and said she hopes “the current momentum” pushes the city and the CPD to “accelerate its efforts.”
“This is a critical time in history and for law enforcement,” said Hickey. “The recent grief, outrage, protest, and unrest spurred by the tragic death of George Floyd demonstrate the urgent need for police reform across the country and here in Chicago.”
Floyd died last month after an officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Meanwhile, the report notes that CPD hasn’t met the requirements of a paragraph that prohibits officers from using carotid artery restraints, chokeholds or other maneuvers that place direct pressure on a windpipe or airway “unless deadly force is authorized.”
While the CPD issued a new use-of-force policy on the final day of the latest reporting period that complies with that provision, the department still needs to complete a community engagement requirement to come into preliminary compliance.
In a joint statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Supt. David Brown acknowledged that the new report “illustrates how the level of transformational change and reform that we are working towards cannot be achieved overnight.”
“This road toward a more transparent, accountable and professional police force began more than four years ago with the Police Accountability Task Force following the murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke,” Lightfoot and Brown said. “While we have continued to build on a host of police reform and accountability measures since then, we have been clear that this moment is just the start, not the end of our journey.
“We can do better, and we are redoubling our efforts to meet important milestones mandated by the consent decree.”
Lightfoot and Brown touted some changes that have already been made, including updated use-of-force policies emphasizing deescalation, additional training and mental health services for officers and a new emphasis on community engagement. Still, they said those reforms simply serve as “a baseline, not the ceiling, when it comes to police reform.”
“Now, more than ever, we must double down on our efforts, which is why we announced a series of reform measures that will be prioritized over the next 90 days, including crisis intervention and procedural justice training, a new recruit program on police-community relations and additional reform measures,” Lightfoot and Brown added.
In the report, Hickey notes that the recent protests across the country have revolved around calls for “varying forms of increased police accountability and reform” that relate to requirements outlined in the consent decree.
But as activists and aldermen call for the removal of officers from Chicago Public Schools, the monitor reported that the city has failed to meet certain requirements aimed at reforming how schools in the district are policed.
That includes creating a policy that clearly defines the role of school resource officers and developing screening criteria to ensure those officers “have the qualifications, skills, and abilities necessary to work safely and effectively with students, parents and guardians, and school personnel.” While those requirements don’t have a specific deadline, the city blew a recent deadline to comply with another paragraph that requires school resource officers to receive specialized training.
Among other things, the training is required to touch on cultural competency, the use of deescalation techniques and methods and tactics “that create positive interactions with specific student groups such as those with limited English proficiency, who are LGBTQI, or are experiencing homelessness.”