On July 27, 2018, the Illinois Attorney General (AG) and the City of Chicago (City) made public a draft consent decree to guide reform of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). A consent decree is a set of promises that the City makes to change the CPD. These promises are court enforced and can have legal consequences if violated. If the City does not follow through on its promises, the AG or a coalition of organizations*, along with plaintiffs in the Campbell lawsuit, can ask the court to enforce the promises. The public has a relatively short, 21-day period to provide comments, which ends this Friday, August 17. Since the release of the consent decree, we've met with our lawsuit coalition partners on several occasions to review the 224-page document and produce a series of recommendations for the City and AG.
While there is value in the development of the draft, this version of the consent decree decree is not complete and lacks essential reforms. It must go further to meet the needs of those impacted by police misconduct in Chicago. Our lawsuit coalition* has drafted a series of recommendations for improving the draft, “A Commitment to Real Reform of Chicago Police”. We also released a red-line version showing how our plan would look as edits to the draft consent decree.
We believe that the consent decree can only be successful if the following items are added:
- Guarantee enforceability and transparency of reform
- Require the City to share and use information related to potential officer misconduct
- Create checks on the code of silence
- Divert individuals in a health crisis away from the criminal justice system
- Transform crisis intervention training (CIT) from an add-on to an operational program
- Use data to assess de-escalation, diversion, and CIT, while protecting private information
- Provide guidance on how to engage people with disabilities and regularly train officers about disabilities and individuals in crisis
- Include sign language in reforms and require officers to use nonverbal communication before force, whenever safe to do so
- Commit to providing police services to people with disabilities
- Limit use of force and arrests in schools, and get input from outside of CPD
- Require a foot pursuit policy
- Recognize that pointing a gun at someone is a use of force and should be documented
The public only has until August 17, 2018 to comment on the draft. We need you to take action now! Send an email to the Attorney General and the City of Chicago—add your voice and provide comments for improvements.
*Lawsuit coalition: ACLU, Communities United, Community Renewal Society, Equip for Equality, Next Steps, and One Northside.