CHICAGO – Early today, the Independent Monitor overseeing the federal consent decree designed to reform policing on the streets of Chicago issued her fifth report describing progress toward implementing the decree. The following can be attributed to Michelle García, Deputy Legal Director for the ACLU of Illinois:
Today’s report should be a wake-up call for Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the leadership of CPD. They must move beyond timid, preliminary steps and fully embrace the measures necessary for fundamentally changing the nature of policing in Chicago. While the City is likely to celebrate reaching preliminary compliance on a number of discrete “check the box” policies, the focus instead should be on the flashing red lights in this report. The report makes clear that the City continues to fail in seeking and meaningfully incorporating community input into changed CPD policies and practices. That failure was clearly revealed when the CPD recently adopted a foot chase policy that ignored the concerns raised by the community after the police shootings of Anthony Alvarez and Adam Toledo. True reform requires working with impacted communities to incorporate their criticism and input into policies and training, and holding officers accountable when they violate the policies and the law. We have yet to see this happen.
The Monitor also found that the City failed to prioritize reforming policies and practices to hold officers accountable for shooting and killing Chicagoans. This is alarming because the Office of Inspector General in March 2022 found that CPD continues to disproportionately use force against Black and Latinos.
We should not have any illusions. We risk seeing 2022 as a lost year in terms of building trust between the police and the diverse and vibrant community they serve. Rather than do the hard work of creating true dialogue and implementing changes needed by the community, CPD is instead implementing a quota system for unregulated contacts with the public – in hopes they will be positive. The City should abandon these so-called ”Positive Community Interactions” and truly get to work to fully embrace change in the way CPD patrols the city’s streets.