As part of its pending lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department, or CPD, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office is holding a series of community roundtables this spring to collect residents’ input on reforms.
The sessions are being held weekday evenings and Saturday afternoons at sites around the city through mid-April. They are free to attend, and food is served. (Yes, you can and should go.)
How Did We Get Here?
After police camera footage of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald was released in November 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice under President Obama launched a civil rights investigation of CPD. The findings of that investigation were released in a 164-page report in January 2017, and the headings in the table of contents say it all:
- II. CPD Engages in a Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Use of Force
- III. Chicago’s Deficient Accountability Systems Contribute to CPD’s Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Conduct
- IV. CPD Does Not Provide Officers With Sufficient Direction, Supervision, or Support to Ensure Lawful and Effective Policing
- V. CPD Must Better Support and Incentivize Policing That is Lawful and Restores Trust Among Chicago’s Marginalized Communities
Dissatisfied with the response of the new Justice Department leadership to the findings, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the CPD in August 2017. According to her office, “Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson committed to negotiate a court-enforceable plan” that would be detailed in a federal consent decree. The decree will be approved and enforced by a federal judge, and an independent monitor will be appointed to provide oversight and support.
What Will Be in the Consent Decree?
That’s where the community comes in. Madigan’s office has said it’s holding the roundtables to collect input from residents that will be compiled into a report and incorporated into the consent decree.
At a recent roundtable discussion in Garfield Park, Madigan encouraged residents to “share your voices and your experiences to move forward in a productive way.”
Madigan isn’t seeking re-election, and she had assurances about concerns that the consent decree process may falter under her successor.
“I am here now, I will be with you every step of the way,” she said. “I want you to know that this is intended to be enduring work.”
In addition to the nine remaining meetings listed below, roundtables have been held in Bronzeville, Pilsen, Pullman, South Shore and Garfield Park.
Consent Decree Community Roundtables
Note: Weekday sessions are from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays are 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 3
JCC Horwich Community Center
3003 West Touhy, Chicago, 60645
Wednesday, April 4
Back of the Yards
St. Michaels’ Archangel Social Center
1949 West 48th Street
Saturday, April 7
Lawndale Christian Health Center
3750 West Ogden, Avenue
Monday, April 9
By the Hands
415 North Laramie
Tuesday, April 10
1210 West 78th Place
Thursday, April 12
Apostolic Faith Church
3823 South Indiana
Saturday, April 14
Humboldt Park – Casa Central
1343 North California
Tuesday, April 17
4730 N. Sheridan Road
To RSVP to any of the roundtables, or to request reasonable accommodations (including interpreters or translators), email SpecialEvents@atg.state.il.us or call (866) 376-7215 (voice) or (800) 964-3013 (TTY).
What if I Can’t Make it to a Roundtable?
Click here to fill out a feedback form: Only your zip code is required, and all other identifying information is voluntary. For more background and information about the consent decree, visit chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org.