Crusader Staff Report
Congresswoman Robin Kelly on Monday, July 11, hosted a congressional delegation to Chicago that met with local leaders to address police accountability and aggression towards local law enforcement.
The delegation was part of the Policing Strategies Working Group, a bipartisan group that has held a series of roundtables in Washington, D.C., Detroit, Atlanta, and Houston – to discuss the issues fueling excessive force used by law enforcement and attacks against police officers.
In Chicago, the group in the morning met with officials from the Cook County Public Defender’s office, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several civil rights organizations. In the afternoon, the group met with the police chiefs of Hazel Crest, South Holland, Richton Park and officials with the Illinois State Police.
At her congressional office on the 5th floor of the U.S. Bank Building at 1000 East 111th Street in Pullman, Kelly held a late morning press conference that included State Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and State Representative Val Demings (D-Fla).
Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who formed the group in 2016 along with retired Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, said police reforms are needed in Chicago.
“Chicago I can safely say, has already proven to be a city where this city is most active, perhaps most contentious. We have three legal actions that are pending right now, including negotiations going on between the attorney general of Illinois and the mayor of the city for a potential consent decree, which could help in resolution of some issues, most importantly, improving relations between the police here in the city of Chicago and the African American community.”
Congresswoman Lee said “there is a need for Congress to be involved” in police accountability and criminal justice reform.
“This committee was organized in the backdrop of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Walter Scott,” Lee said, referring to the Black victims who were killed by police in various cities in recent years. “What I’ve learned in the period of time I’ve been in Chicago, is the starkness and the pain that is amongst a community, leaders who are seeking and wanting a relationship with police officers- seeking not to be traumatized by the idea of living in certain communities of color. We cannot ignore race in this issue and in these circumstances. Race is an important component in how we address this question.”