* Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times…
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will file a lawsuit seeking federal court oversight over the Chicago Police Department, pushing Mayor Rahm Emanuel to honor a commitment he made in January, only to retreat from it.
With no other choice, Emanuel is expected to join Madigan at a news conference at the State of Illinois Center.
They will reportedly announce together that they are seeking public input into what a court-enforced consent decree should look like.
But despite months of resistance to the idea of court oversight, a top mayoral aide denied that Emanuel was dragged into a consent decree or that Madigan had somehow forced the mayor’s hand. […]
Police Board President Lori Lightfoot called Madigan’s lawsuit a “significant development.”
“I have a great deal of respect for the attorney general and her team and I will watch with great interest how the process unfolds from here but I am hopeful for a transparent and inclusive process that, in the end, supports our Police Department and is transformative of the way we do policing in Chicago. This is what’s been needed for some time,” Lightfoot said.
*** UPDATE *** The Emanuel administration is pushing back hard on the Sun-Times story, saying the reporter jumped the gun and they’re working with AG Madigan on this.
Anyway, from Karen Sheley - Director, Police Practices Project, ACLU of Illinois…
“Today’s announcement creates an opportunity to address the crisis in the Chicago Police Department. The potential consent decree between the Illinois Attorney General and City of Chicago can be a roadmap for addressing findings by the Obama Administration Department of Justice, including that the Chicago Police Department engaged in a pattern of excessive force, disproportionally targeted at African Americans. The Trump Administration repeatedly made clear its hostility to police reform, and turned the Department of Justice into an obstacle to, rather than proponent of, the fundamental changes the CPD needs.
There is hard work ahead. For reform efforts to succeed, advocates, civil rights organizations, and community groups need a seat at the table, both in crafting the decree and implementing it. The ACLU will monitor the State and City’s deal-making closely to ensure the process does not result in half measures.”
* And from the AG herself…
Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to announce a lawsuit to seek an enforceable consent decree to implement the numerous reforms outlined by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in its investigation of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). In light of the new DOJ administration’s preference not to seek a consent decree in Chicago, Madigan will seek reforms that provide the support police officers need to implement safe and constitutional policing practices and rebuild trust between community residents and police.
Madigan filed the lawsuit earlier today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois based on the findings of the Justice Department’s investigation that revealed a pattern of civil rights violations caused by systemic deficiencies within CPD. The DOJ report cited a number of problems, including the unconstitutional use of deadly and excessive force by officers; inadequate training on appropriate tactics, lack of supervision; a failure to adequately investigate officer misconduct and discipline officers and inadequate wellness and counseling programs to support officers. In its report, DOJ recommended reforms needed to address these problems, specifically calling for a court-enforceable consent decree with an independent monitor to assess the progress of reform and the oversight of a federal judge.
Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson joined Madigan today and expressed the city’s commitment to work with Madigan’s office to negotiate an enforceable consent decree.
“The only way to achieve real, lasting reform in Chicago and repair the broken trust between the communities and police is through an enforceable consent decree that addresses the problems identified in the Justice Department report,” Madigan said. “The city is facing serious problems that have endangered the lives of city residents as well as the police officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities. Together, we will work to provide the people of Chicago with a city and a police department that respects their rights, protects their safety, and provides support and resources to the brave officers who take on these responsibilities.”
“The reforms we have made in recent years, and those that lie ahead, will help us ensure Chicago has the most professional, proactive police department possible,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am proud that Illinois’ Attorney General is standing up – for our city and our officers – where the Trump Justice Department fell flat.”
Madigan’s lawsuit is the first step to obtain a consent decree. Madigan will seek input from the community and police officers in negotiating the terms of the consent decree. Madigan’s office will be assisted by lead expert Ron Davis and by Robins Kaplan, a national law firm retained on a pro bono basis that has a long history of community work on behalf of a wide range of clients.
Davis has a distinguished career in law enforcement. He most recently served as the director of DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) from 2013 to 2017. The COPS Office is responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.
In 2014, Davis was appointed to serve as the Executive Director of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (Task Force). President Obama charged him and the Task Force with developing recommendations to improve community trust in the police while enhancing public safety. The final report of the Task Force now serves as a foundational document in American policing.
Davis has served on two federal monitoring teams with oversight of police reform agreements or consent decrees between the DOJ and the Washington, D.C. and Detroit police departments and as a policing expert on several DOJ pattern and practice investigations. He served over eight years as Chief of Police of East Palo Alto (CA) and 20 years with the Oakland (CA) Police Department. He was recognized for his innovative community policing efforts and for working collaboratively with the community to dramatically reduce crime and violence in a city once named as the murder capital of the United States.