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US 'Protecting every single resident': Chicago approves new layer of civilian police oversight

03:50  22 july  2021
03:50  22 july  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

Chicago approves creation of new civilian police oversight group

  Chicago approves creation of new civilian police oversight group Chicago’s City Council voted 36-13 in favor of creating a new civilian police oversight panel that would provide more power to Chicago residents, prompted in response to renewed calls for police oversight and a Department of Justice review over the killing of Laquan McDonald. The ordinance establishes a seven-person commission that will be able to draft policy for the Chicago Police Department and recommend candidates for the police superintendent position, police board members, and the head of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, according to NBC Chicago.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police reform advocates on Monday announced they have reached an agreement to establish a new civilian oversight agency for the Chicago Police Department, setting up a City Council vote this week after years of often heated debate. If passed, this ordinance would bring an historic, transformative and balanced approach to civilian oversight ,” Lightfoot and members of the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Coalition said in a joint statement on Monday.

If a compromise ordinance on civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department is approved by the City Council, a binding referendum would go on the 2022 primary ballot. Voters would then get to decide if a civilian panel, not Mayor Lori Lightfoot, would have the power to hire and fire the police Two groups that have long pushed dramatically different versions of civilian police oversight followed through on their promise to join forces on a revised ordinance certain to encounter stiff resistance. That’s because it would strip both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the City Council of coveted authority over

CHICAGO – City leaders approved a new layer of civilian police oversight Wednesday after years of protests against officer misconduct.

a man is using his cell phone: Mayor Lori Lightfoot presides over a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. © Ashlee Rezin, AP Mayor Lori Lightfoot presides over a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall, Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

The City Council voted 36-13 to pass an ordinance calling for the creation of a seven-member Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. The commission will be comprised of people nominated by three-member councils of Chicago's 22 police districts and appointed by the mayor.

For decades, Chicago's police department has been besieged by claims of misconduct and corruption, with many elected officials and civilians alike calling for reforms and new methods to hold police accountable.

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Under the ordinance, the commission can vote to remove the police superintendent, but the mayor can reject the recommendation. When the position is vacant, the commission can nominate three people, but the mayor can select one or reject them all, restarting the process.

The commission can also vote to remove the chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates police-involved shootings and allegations of wrongdoing. The chief administrator can be removed if the City Council approves.

Under the ordinance, the commission can draft new police policies, but the mayor can veto the policies. A two-thirds City Council vote could override the mayor.

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Chicago police officers block Michigan Avenue at 36th Street while protesters march toward CPD headquarters last June during a march to demand justice for George Floyd, who had been killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times. Mayor Lori Lightfoot will deliver her own plan for “We definitely need some level of civilian oversight and accountability in the police department in addition to what we have today. This is what our residents have asked for. … This is an ordinance that delivers that,” Ervin told the Sun-Times. “If the mayor sees something different, she’s obligated to

Civilian oversight is undermined by politicians and police , who contend citizens are ill-equipped to judge officers. A painting of Valente Acosta-Bustillos is flanked by names and portraits of others who were fatally shot by law enforcement officers in New Mexico. It's outside the Albuquerque offices of the Southwest Over four years, police had fatally shot 20 people, including a mentally ill Hispanic man struck three times in the back outside his home. Justice officials discovered a pattern of unconstitutional and excessive use of force, and a civilian oversight office that had “simply been too forgiving of the

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Dozens of people affiliated with a grassroots coalition of groups pushing for civilian oversight of police gathered for a celebration of the passage outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago Wednesday.

"We did it," said Desmon Yancy, director at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago, standing beside his son. "And we did it because all of us played a role in this."

Nate Sanders, with Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, called the ordinance "the first step in achieving the ultimate goal, which is to provide public safety."

"It starts the process of giving oversight of the police to the communities that the police are supposed to be keeping safe. It the first of its kind to give the victims of police misconduct a voice on who can police and how policing happens," Sanders said.

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Not a single person spoke in favor of the two police oversight proposals introduced last March by 30th Ward alderman Ariel Reboyras, the meeting's host. An ordinance establishing CPAC, championed by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and introduced by 35th Ward alderman Carlos Activists have collected more than 50,000 signatures in support of a police oversight council made up of elected representatives from each of Chicago 's 22 police districts. The council would have the power to hire and fire the police superintendent, oversee department policy, issue subpoenas

A civilian police oversight agency, also known as citizen review board or civilian review board, is a body of civilians in an American city that is tasked with reviewing and improving police officer conduct. These agencies are an implementation of citizen oversight .

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a former assistant U.S. attorney, said in a statement Wednesday she was "beyond thrilled to give our residents further opportunities to hold those who are sworn to protect and serve them accountable."

"Legitimacy is key to the work that our police do," Lightfoot said during City Council. "If the communities do not trust them because they’re not legitimate to them, they will not be effective in their most core mission, which is serving and protecting every single resident of this city."

Prior to the City Council’s vote, the president of Chicago's police union, John Catanzara, said the department is already under multiple layers of oversight provided by the city’s Police Board, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the police department’s Internal Affairs Division and the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

"Another layer of oversight is just ridiculous. It’s only going to make coppers more (angry) because more oversight means, 'You’re doing something wrong. You need to be watched because you’re not doing something right,'" he said.

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The 7-member commission will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, and be made up of Chicago residents, with no citizenship requirements. The 3-member district councils, which nominate the members of the citywide commission, will be elected by the district residents through a consolidated primary election, starting in February 2023.

Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said the ordinance was "decades" in the making. He said the movement for community control of police was "revitalized" after the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald, the Black 17-year-old killed by a white Chicago police officer who shot him 16 times.

The city released video of the shooting a year later, sparking nationwide outrage, and the Justice Department launched an investigation into the Chicago Police Department. The investigation found the department is beset by widespread racial bias, along with excessive use of force, poor training and feckless oversight of officers accused of misconduct.

Several aldermen also invoked the name of Adam Toledo Wednesday. Toledo, 13, was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer one early morning last March as he dropped a gun and turned toward the officer with his hands up.

Lightfoot acknowledged the ordinance Wednesday "will not solve all problems." She added: "There is much more work to be done."

Lightfoot, who took office in May of 2019, initially pledged to pass an ordinance establishing civilian oversight of police in her first 100 days.

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Protecting every single resident': Chicago approves new layer of civilian police oversight

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