The below statement can be attributed to Karen Sheley, Director, Police Practices Project, ACLU of Illinois:
“It has been one year since the U.S. Department of Justice issued its highly critical report, finding the Chicago Police Department in desperate need of reform. CPD remains broken. Leadership still does not sufficiently train, supervise, or discipline its officers. Black and Latino Chicagoans, and those with disabilities, continue to face dangerous police misconduct, disproportionately experiencing unconstitutional behavior like excessive use of force. Because the City has failed to act, the ACLU of Illinois came together with neighborhood partners to sue the Chicago Police Department – to ensure the DOJ’s findings lead to real change.
Despite its own lack of action, the City of Chicago filed a motion last Friday night to dismiss our lawsuit claiming the CPD already has reformed itself. To quote the City, the suit should be dismissed “because the policies and practices about which Plaintiffs complain have been discontinued.” This is certainly news to the many communities who are affected by police misconduct every day. The City’s victory lap is premature.
In fact, the City of Chicago has only announced ad hoc measures to address a small fraction of the reforms identified by the DOJ, according to the Chicago Reporter which has been tracking actual reform. Press conferences are not a substitute for the real, tough work of reform.
The City has failed to act on dozens of recommendations. For example, the City has failed to expand its Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program to ensure there are enough CIT officers on duty to respond to calls involving an individual in a mental health crisis. It’s even failed to provide police officers with resources they need after traumatic events. Despite the City’s claim of ‘mission accomplished,’ the City has yet to agree to a consent decree that would ensure the CPD stays committed to reform after the press conferences end.
One year after the landmark DOJ report, the City of Chicago must stop stalling and commit to real change, rather than relying on temporary fixes to stay ahead of the news cycle.”
For more information on the lawsuit, please click here.