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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a proposed court agreement Friday that sets the stage for a federal judge to oversee reforms in the Chicago Police Department and kicks off what is certain to be months of debate over exactly how the troubled force will be overhauled in the years to come.
The 232-page draft is the first iteration of a planned consent decree that eventually would serve as a court-enforced mandate governing how officers use force, how they are trained and how they will be held accountable, among other areas. The proposal will be open to public scrutiny before it’s filed in federal court for further consideration.
The article goes on to state the following:
Madigan and Emanuel stood side by side to announce the agreement, marking the latest step in a process geared toward long-lasting change to Chicago policing. Those efforts were ignited by the controversial Laquan McDonald police shooting, which resulted in weeks of street protests, accusations of a City Hall cover-up and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found widespread problems in the department.
Madigan noted past unsuccessful efforts to meaningfully reform the Police Department, but she said that “attempts to just talk the talk instead of walk the walk will be unsuccessful.” She pointed to the fact that a federal judge can enforce the eventual decree.
For his part, Emanuel stressed that the reforms would be undertaken in conjunction with officers, noting that some of the changes, such as better training, were sought by the rank and file. He said that the goals of stopping violence and reforming the department are “complimentary, not contradictory.”
“I believe that this agreement will stand the test of time,” Emanuel said. “It is enforceable, sustainable and durable.”
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said, “Let there be no mistake about it: The consent decree will fundamentally change the way the Chicago Police Department does business.”
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham, however, blasted the proposed consent decree as “illegal and invalid,” calling it “politically motivated” and vowing to fight it in court. Graham said the agreement would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The city and FOP are in negotiations over the union’s next contract.
Involving community groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Black Lives Matter Chicago in the consent decree’s creation is “a disaster,” Graham said.
“The city and the attorney general have set a dangerous precedent by granting these groups influence into the policy of the Chicago Police Department,” Graham said. “Their willingness to do so reveals much about the true nature of this agreement and the magnitude of the threat that it imposes.”
The city already has moved toward some of the reforms outlined in the proposal. The proposals would not override the police union contract, but it says the city should work to negotiate changes that would bring the city into compliance.
Among other things, the proposal would call for anonymous complaints against officers to be investigated, would require the department to track foot pursuits, limit officers’ use of Tasers and require police use terms appropriate to people’s gender identity. Under the proposal, the city would aim to meet the decree’s requirements in five years.
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