GAPA held a press conference on the Consent Decree, Thursday, June 22, 10:00 a.m. at Chicago's City Hall.
Statement on the Consent Decree
June 22, 2017
The Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) came together in direct response to the Police Accountability Task Force’s 2016 recommendation to develop a Community Safety Oversight Board that would allow the community to have a powerful platform and role in the police oversight process. From the beginning, one of our primary goals is to get this process right, after decades of police misconduct…pattern and practices of excessive force…and civil rights violations.
In the year since this broad-based coalition began working together, we’ve talked with thousands of residents across the city about their experiences with the Chicago Police Department. The number one issue we continue to hear in neighborhoods directly impacted by violence and police brutality is a lack of trust between residents and police.
It’s for this reason that we at GAPA must speak out against the mayor’s decision to enter into a secret Memorandum of Understanding with President Donald Trump’s Justice Department instead of a consent decree as he announced in January. We keep hearing Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent Eddie Johnson say, “Trust me,” but the residents we work with everyday did trust city leaders. They trusted them to serve and protect. They trusted them to tell the truth. They trusted them to not violate their civil rights. Yet, following the release of the Laquan McDonald video, we have seen example after example of none of that being true, which led to the Justice Department identifying a number of systemic deficiencies including:
“Failure to adequately address racially discriminatory conduct by officers—which in some respects is caused by deficiencies in CPD’s systems of training, supervision and accountability—and the corrosive affect on police legitimacy of excessive force, which falls most heavily on Chicago’s communities of color.”
The City of Chicago continues to create one iteration after another—the Office of Professional Standards, the Independent Police Review Authority and now the Civilian Office of Police Accountability—all without community input. As Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, it is ludicrous for us to think this time will be the exception without a federal judge to oversee real and sustainable reforms within CPD.
For decades the city has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to families and victims because of police misconduct, wrongful deaths and convictions. We cannot continue to shortchange Chicago residents by taking a short cut to real police reform that involves oversight by a federal judge who has no stake in Chicago politics as well as legitimate community input.
We’ve seen this movie before and we know how it ends. We have a chance to rewrite the ending and make Chicago a model. GAPA iswill continue to lift up the voices, particularly of Chicago’s most negatively impacted residents, to city leaders to demand an agreement on police reforms that promotes transparency, accountability and inclusion.
Read about the Consent Decree in the news:
Chicago Tribune, 6/2/2017, Emanuel backs off from commitment to court oversight of Chicago police reform