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Archive for April, 2016

Where does the CPD go following the Police Accountability Task Force Report?

Posted on: April 19th, 2016 by Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney

Last week the Police Accountability Task Force, which was hand-picked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel following weeks of public protest over the city’s handling of the police shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald, released recommendations for reforming the Chicago Police Department.

Unsurprisingly the report decried Chicago police for “systemic institutional failures going back decades that can no longer be ignored.” Furthermore, it offered a bleak assessment of how the department treats people of color, going on to say that reviewed police department data “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

The executive summary clarifies the primary oversights within the agency, while also targeting the collective bargaining agreements between the city and police union for turning the “code of silence into official policy,” which is unacceptable.

So where does the Chicago Police Department go from here? The report made numerous recommendations, one of which we have been touting for years – to replace the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) which has become extremely biased to racial disparity and discrimination, and over the years has completely lost the trust of the public. In turn, it should be replaced with a new body that should have more authority and resources.

As our great city’s leadership reviews this report, we hope they will be prepared for an open and honest discussion about the future of the Chicago Police Department. Even as the advisory task force called for sweeping changes in oversight, training and philosophy, its members acknowledged that actually implementing the outlined recommendations will depend on City Hall’s willingness to seek change, including during contract negotiations with the police unions. Furthermore, the Chicago Police Department must acknowledge its racist history, restructure from within, and repair its handling of excessive force allegations before true reforms can take place.

Following the report’s release Mayor Emanuel said, “The question isn’t, ‘Do we have racism?’ We do. The question is, ‘What are you going to do about it?'”

We demand that something be done.

Eddie Johnson Named New Chicago Police Superintendent

Posted on: April 7th, 2016 by Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney

As announced last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel evaluated the three finalists for Chicago’s next police superintendent, which were selected by the independent Police Board. In the end Rahm decided to go against all three selected finalists and chose someone who didn’t even apply for the job, Eddie Johnson.

Once again Rahm surprises everyone – Instead of going along with the recommendation of his hand-picked police board, he went against them and chose Johnson. On one hand, Rahm should be commended for being independent, but on the other, he should be criticized for being too independent.

eddie johnson

What sense is there in having a system of checks and balances, such as an “independent” review board if he merely chooses to exercise executive discretion for the purposes of his political reasons? Nothing that we have found or heard suggests the candidates of the review board were ill qualified. It is quite possible the opposite is true.

The Mayor went with a non-vetted choice because it was the safest political path. By all appearances Eddie Johnson is a qualified candidate but what does it say when he never even applied for the position? Will he be committed for the 4-5 years that it takes to implement a long term strategy? For our city’s sake, let’s hope so.