Demonstrators protest outside the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel at City Hall following press conference where the mayor announced the firing of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Dec. 1, 2015, in Chicago.
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

How officers with the Chicago Police Department interact with black and brown people as well as those with disabilities, young people, women and LGBTQI individuals is the focus of a proposed consent decree that would overhaul the accountability and disciplinary systems as well as create new performance metrics for the evaluation of police officers.

The 125-page “Recommendations for the Consent Decree in State of Illinois v. City of Chicago” (pdf) was made public Tuesday by community groups involved in the Campbell v. City of Chicago class action lawsuit. That lawsuit was filed June 14, 2017, in an effort to force federal courts to oversee reform of the CPD.

The recommendations and provisions of the decree include the following:

Use of Force

  • A mandate that officers resolve incidents without force whenever possible, through trauma-informed and tactical de-escalation techniques;
  • A specific prohibition of officer behavior that escalates incidents and the prohibiting of the use of force as retaliation for speech or as a form of punishment;
  • The development of supportive services for police-violence survivors and their families.

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Diversion

  • The creation of programs that will ensure a least intrusive policing model, including a prearrest diversion program that will allow officers to address incidents without arrest, a community-based mediation/restorative-justice program that will allow communities to defuse conflict and maintain peace, and a citation program for minor offenses;
  • Crisis-intervention teams to support people with behavioral health issues or who are in crisis;
  • The elimination of financial incentives that officers have to arrest, ticket and escalate encounters with community members.

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Racism and Gender Bias

  • Numerous provisions aimed at eradicating racism and bias, including ensuring that officers are trained about CPD scandals, like Jon Burge;
  • The mandatory collection, analysis and reporting of data tracking various kinds of profiling and selective enforcement and, with community input, the development and implementation of corrective action plans based on the data;
  • Prohibiting the selection of particular communities for policing based to any degree on the racial or ethnic composition of the community;
  • Prohibitions on officer sexual harassment, sexual abuse and on-duty sexual activity, and the creation of an affirmative duty for officers to treat all civilians, including LGBTQI and gender-nonconforming individuals, with respect, professionalism and courtesy.

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Accountability

  • An accountability system made up of an elected council that has the power to hold police accountable and hire the superintendent, and that is wholly independent from City Hall and the CPD;
  • Independent civilian investigations into all serious uses of force and all police-misconduct complaints involving the abuse of community members, including sexual abuse and assault. Provisions that guarantee the resources, powers, robust transparency and community oversight to ensure independent, rigorous, high-quality and unbiased investigations into police misconduct;
  • Provisions that prevent and root out officer collusion, protect officers who report police abuse, require officers to report misconduct, and fire officers who lie or retaliate against witnesses in misconduct investigations;
  • Procedures to identify, investigate and fire individual and groups of police officers who are engaged in patterns of abuse.

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Hiring and Retention

  • Hiring, retention and supervision practices ensuring that the CPD force reflects the diversity of Chicago and implements nonbiased and least intrusive policing;
  • Implementation of hiring and promotion practices that ensure that CPD hires and promotes officers who demonstrate a commitment to upholding the sanctity of life, implementing the least restrictive police response necessary in any given situation, and engaging in nonbiased policing.

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Transparency

  • The creation of a public database that reports, in real time, critical public information about police-misconduct complaints and major uses of force.

Monitoring and Enforcement

  • Provisions ensuring that the people most affected by police violence will monitor and enforce the decree.

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In January 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded a yearlong investigation into the CPD that found the department was guilty of using excessive force—especially when dealing with black and Latinx people.

In June it was reported that the Justice Department would not be forming a consent decree agreement with the city of Chicago or its Police Department. Instead, the city filed a proposed agreement with the DOJ that would not be backed by federal oversight.

As a result, a class action lawsuit—Campbell v. City of Chicago—was filed by a group of plaintiffs that included four private citizens and 10 community-based organizations: Black Lives Matter Chicago, the Chicago Urban League, Blocks Together, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Justice for Families-Black Lives Matter Chicago, Network 49, Women’s All Points Bulletin, the 411 Movement for Pierre Loury, and the West Side Branch and Illinois State Conference of the NAACP. The defendants named are the city of Chicago as well as 16 individual Chicago PD officers.

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The attorneys for the plaintiffs in Campbell v. City of Chicago include lead attorneys Craig Futterman of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School and Sheila Bedi of the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. The plaintiffs’ legal team includes Alexa Van Brunt and Vanessa del Valle of the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; Randolph Stone, clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School; Brendan Shiller of Shiller Preyar; Jeanette S. Samuels of Samuels & Associates; Cannon Lambert Sr. of Karchmar & Lambert; Andrew Stroth of Action Injury; and the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton of New York.

For more information about the Campbell efforts and recommendations to the city and the state of Illinois, including the Chicago Community Consent Decree, visit CPDclassaction.com.