The Consent Decree Coalition is a group of community-based organizations and collectives that fought for the Chicago Police Department Consent Decree. We sued for the CPD Consent Decree to end CPD’s systemic, structural, and institutional racist violence. But because the CPD and City of Chicago have continued to ignore the voices of people most directly impacted by police violence, the Decree has failed to live up to its potential.
Now the CPD has announced a counterfeit effort at community engagement focused on home raids and search warrants. In reality, this effort will only delay the changes needed to protect Chicago’s community from CPD violence in their homes. It continues to disrespect the expertise of the Coalition and the communities we represent.
For two-and-a-half years, the Coalition has been demanding changes to CPD’s home raid policies and practices. We sued the City over this issue, challenging CPD’s practices of routinely breaking down the doors of family homes—disproportionately in Black and Brown communities—and pointing assault rifles at young children and their parents, leaving families traumatized and homes in shambles. The City nonsensically argued that the Consent Decree does not govern CPD’s practices of excessive and discriminatory force when inflicted inside family homes. After a year of legal wrangling, the City finally agreed that the Consent Decree prohibits unlawful violent home raids that target Black and Brown families. But then, the City refused to meet with us to negotiate how CPD’s home raid practices will change. Meanwhile CPD is still conducting unlawful violent home raids in our communities
Months later, CPD concocted a “Search Warrant Advisory Group, which would limit rather than enhance community power to influence CPD search warrant policy. CPD’s faux “community engagement” proposal refuses to permit any back-and-forth exchanges between CPD representatives and community members on CPD policy. And it allows CPD to continue to ignore our longstanding demands to end wrong raids. In fact, CPD’ community engagement process prohibits community members from even discussing “policy language.”
The Coalition will not participate in this illegitimate process that deprives Chicago’s communities of a meaningful opportunity to shape CPD policy. This episode is just the latest instance of CPD wasting community members’ time with “dialogues” and “focus groups” that do not create changes to policing on the ground.
The City, the Mayor and CPD can no longer ignore the voices of the people who want to live safely in their own homes, free from CPD’s racist violence. We are the reason the Consent Decree exists. This federal court order should be protecting all of us from CPD’s racist violence —not just serving as a talking point for elected officials and the FOP. Our voices must be heard. This is a matter of life and death.