CPD Reform Groups Say Any Plan Without Court Enforcement Is Not Real Reform

Monday, June 12, 2017
For immediate release

CHICAGO – Civil rights and government watchdog groups today warn that the City and the Department of Justice’s reported agreement to select an “independent monitor” to oversee reforms of the Police Department lacks essential enforcement powers and jeopardizes Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s commitment to restore public safety and trust.
 
“The city of Chicago has had longstanding and deep-seated issues with the culture of the Chicago Police Department. Without the power of the Department of Justice to hold CPD accountable for their unlawful actions, injustice will continue to prevail. History suggests that 10 years from now, we will experience the same problems we are encountering today in regards to police brutality, corruption, and more. It is therefore imperative to demand public accountability, or else public trust will further erode,” said Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League.
 
To bring true and lasting accountability and transparency to the Police Department, the City must include strong enforcement mechanisms in the agreement through court oversight. An effective monitor must be sufficiently funded with adequate resources to carry out its tasks, and the City should release the details of the reforms covered by the agreement. A truly comprehensive plan would follow the blueprints for reform written in the Mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force report in 2016 and the DOJ’s investigation released earlier this year.

“We need federal courts, with real enforcement powers, for a monitor to be trusted by the communities in Chicago,” said Harold Winston of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office.

The reaction comes after last week’s public reports claiming that the Emanuel Administration is seeking the appointment of an “independent monitor” to oversee reforms to the Chicago Police Department without a consent decree under court oversight. Former DOJ officials, including the head of the Obama administration’s investigation into CPD last year, have called the proposed agreement toothless and "woefully inadequate" to address the deep-seated problems found in CPD.

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Contact: Paula Thornton Greear
pgreear@thechicagourbanleague.org, 773-451-3536