Sued city and CPD and won
By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
Having sued the city of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department (CPD), Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan late Tuesday night held a Consent Decree Community Roundtable hearing at Saint Sabina to gather input needed to ensure the decree will protect the civil rights of the public and police accountability.
Madigan, who is not running for re-election, was among many outraged over the release of the Laquan McDonald video that showed Chicago Police officer Jason VanDyke shooting the teen 16 times as he was walking away from the officer carrying a small knife.
The U.S. Justice Department, then under President Obama, recommended a consent decree for the police department and the city of Chicago following the McDonald shooting. The Trump administration rejected the decree, prompting Madigan to step up and sue the CPD and the city of Chicago. She felt the city’s police reforms were not enough to prevent deadly and excessive police force against Blacks and Latinos.
Madigan’s office is negotiating a plan with the city and CPD “to require effective, lasting reforms that mandate police training and policies and provide officers the support they need to implement safe and constitutional policing practices.”
That is the basis of Madigan’s series of community round tables. She held the 11th of 14 Consent Decree Community Roundtable hearings at Saint Sabina Church late Tuesday night.
Joining Madigan and Father Michael L. Pfleger were Joseph K. Hoereth, director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Alderman David Moore (17th); and Bria Scudder, senior legislative and community outreach liaison from Madigan’s office.
Madigan is seeking input from the public on how the consent degree can best improve public safety while building community trust with the police. The audience broke up into working groups and came up with a number of recommendations.
Some suggestions included better training of police officers; not assigning inexperienced officers at night when crime is highest; eliminating lack of trust through immediate termination of cops who kill unarmed people; termination of officers involved in a cover-up; development of police partnerships with ex-offenders; payment of police brutality settlements out of the police pension fund; holding the sergeant accountable if a rookie cop “messes up;” and changing the shoot-to-kill training to preserving life.
The consent decree came as a result of the October 20, 2014 shooting of McDonald at 41st and Pulaski by VanDyke. The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) investigated and turned all evidence over to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
After mounting protests and under pressure, Alvarez, who was up for re-election, on November 24, 2015 charged VanDyke with first-degree murder. According to Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, VanDyke “was the subject of 18 complaints of misconduct.”
That same day the police department suspended him without pay. “Over the last 10 years, Chicago taxpayers have spent more than $500 million to settle police cases,” Boykin said. After VanDyke shot McDonald, Boykin asked, “Why was he permitted to carry a badge and a gun”?
Madigan said for those who cannot attend her hearings, they can fill out a feedback form at ChicagoPoliceConsentDecree.org/input. The public may share their personal experiences, concerns or suggestions by emailing: [email protected] or call and leave a short message at: 833-243-1498.
She explained that all public comments will be reviewed and considered by her office and the city of Chicago during the negotiating phase and drafting of the consent decree. When completed, the draft consent decree will be posted for public comment at: www.ChicagoPoliceConsentDecree.org.