Black Lives Matter has won a say in the upcoming consent decree process between the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois state attorney general’s office, granting the movement influence over how the CPD may function in the future.
BLM, the Illinois ACLU, and a coalition of other community groups will all be involved in the negotiations, which were deemed necessary after investigation and coverup of the CPD shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2015, The Chicago Tribune Reported Wednesday. The groups will be able to weigh in on the reform negotiations, object if they don’t think the reforms go far enough, and pressure the police department if they don’t think reform measures are being followed.
“It’s really setting up the community groups as watchdogs that will have a role to make sure that reform really continues no matter what happens as politicians come and go,” ACLU Attorney Kathy Hunt Muse told the Tribune. “The city and the attorney general still need to do the hard work here of hammering out the terms of the consent decree, and we really hope that now that we’ve defined this role for involving the community that they’re going to move quickly to draft that consent decree.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the City of Chicago in August 2016 alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel over mishandling of the police department. The city had been working with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to enact reforms, but the DOJ expressed interest in allowing state authorities to oversee the process.
“If the city and state can put in place policies and practices to ensure constitutional, proactive policing that actually serves to reduce Chicago’s rampant violent crime problems, that would be a positive step,” DOJ spokesman Ian Prior told CNN. “However, we have said repeatedly that we will not agree to or support any measure that will endanger the lives of Chicago’s residents or law enforcement by eroding the rule of law or by failing to properly address violent crime in Chicago.”
The new deal stipulates that a federal judge will put a monitor in place to oversee the progress of reform negotiations between the city and the state. The ACLU, BLM, and others have been promised quarterly meetings with this monitor to gather their input.
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Police are not enthused with the community groups’ involvement, however.
“The city of Chicago should be careful where they go with a consent decree,” said Kevin Graham, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. “Without the support of the rank and file Chicago Police Officers, their move today will go nowhere. Anyone who thinks it will is sadly mistaken. As I have said before, we will never give up our collective bargaining rights.”
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