Black Aldermen call for changes in police union contracts

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By Crusader staff report

Chicago’s Black aldermen on Monday, February 20, called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove certain clauses in police contracts, saying the provisions help promote racist misconduct within the city’s police force.

The City Council’s Black Caucus proposed 14 changes to the Fraternal Order of Police contract. The recommendations by the Coalition for Accountability in Police Contracts, an umbrella organization for several groups including the ACLU of Illinois, Black Youth Project 100, Enlace Chicago and the NAACP Westside Branch.

The aldermen want to eliminate the requirement for a sworn affidavit by a citizen before a complaint can go forward. They also want to remove a restriction on investigating anonymous complaints and deleting a clause that requires the name and address of a complainant be disclosed to the officer against whom it’s filed.

Other recommended changes included eliminating a provision that gives officers 24 hours before they are required to give a statement after shooting someone and another giving officers a chance to change their statements after seeing video of the incident.

The “contract has been serving and protecting the culture of cultural racism and violence in our Police Department for far too long,” said South Side Ald. Roderick Sawyer, (6th), the group’s chairman. “Now is our chance to change this.”

The mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force and a recent U.S. Justice Department report made similar recommendations after protests erupted across the city over the brutal police shooting of 17-year old Laquan McDonald.

Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, said aldermen signed off on the current police contract.

With questionable police shootings and rogue officers, community distrust has deepened since then, but Angelo maintains nothing has changed.

“This is the same rhetoric we’ve been listening to ever since the anti-police movement began, and we’re expecting these type of statements to be coming out of the chambers of the City Council,” Angelo said in news reports. “When we ratified our contract in October of 2014, we got a standing ovation (from aldermen) and we went back in November of 2015, they wanted my head on a stick, and we did absolutely nothing. We were thrown under the bus. They are deflecting and blaming the FOP, but this is the same populace that has ratified every agreement the union has had with the city since 1981.”

 

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