Mayor Emanuel, Protect Us from Police Misconduct

Have you already seen the horrific video?

The Chicago Reporter broke the story last month when it released a police car dash-cam video of Officer Marco Proano firing more than a dozen shots into a car full of unarmed black teenagers—hitting two of them. Nearly 18 months have passed since this shooting occurred; Officer Proano is still a paid employee of the Chicago Police Department, and his case is still under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), with no end in sight.

This case is only one example, among many, that demonstrates the system of police accountability in Chicago is broken and must be overhauled. Over the past four years:

  • Police officers shot 210 civilians—nearly every victim was black or brown;
  • Only 800 of 17,700 complaints against Chicago police officers (4%) were sustained; and
  • The eleven officers with the highest complaint totals (253 complaints combined) collectively received a grand total of 5 days of suspension.

Take action now to tell Mayor Emanuel that Chicago’s police accountability system is broken, and that you are disappointed he will not agree to significant structural reforms to make the police accountable to our communities!

On July 15, 2015, a dozen leaders and representatives from Community Renewal Society and Jane Addams Senior Caucus met with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his staff to demand a series of structural police reforms that would bring accountability and transparency to our city’s police force. Once again, we can only conclude that the mayor believes the police accountability system is working just fine, as he refused to support meaningful structural reform to police accountability in Chicago.

Here is exactly what we asked Mayor Emanuel on July 15, 2015 and his responses:

  1. Will you publicly support legislation to remove the requirement for a civilian to complete a sworn affidavit in order to file a complaint against a police officer? The mayor said NO—he will not publicly support a proposed change to state law removing the requirement at this time.
  2. Will you amend the IPRA city ordinance to remove the Police Superintendent’s authority to veto or amend the recommendation for disciplinary action from IPRA? The mayor said he leans “strongly against” this reform.
  3. Will you create an independent Police Auditor Office or an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council to audit police operations and investigate patterns of police misconduct? The mayor said NO—he will not consider an independent agency to audit the police at this time.
  4. Will you amend the Police Board ordinance to require that the 9 members of the Police Board be publicly elected and undergo mandatory training? The mayor said NO to allowing the Police Board to be publicly elected (the mayor currently appoints the 9 member board). 

We spent months asking the mayor to meet with us and held three public actions when he refused to do so. Only after these actions did he agree to meet with us in April. After three meetings with the mayor and his staff, we have little progress to report. We simply cannot wait any longer. 

Take action now to tell Mayor Emanuel that Chicago’s police accountability system is broken, and that you are disappointed he will not agree to significant structural reforms to make the police accountable to our communities!

We accomplished one minor victory yesterday when the mayor agreed to our demand to require mandatory training for all members of the Police Board. While this is a positive step forward, we know with certainty that this reform alone will not even begin to address the utter lack of police accountability in Chicago. 

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