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.Tags: CPD. Police Misconduct