CHICAGO (August 12, 2020) – The Chicago Progressive Caucus calls for the City to renew its commitment to implementing the federal consent decree quickly and aggressively.
The City of Chicago entered into a federal consent decree with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on January 31, 2019. The goal of the consent decree was a top-to-bottom reform relating to training, supervision, accountability, and transparency within the Chicago Police Department, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and the Police Board. The consent decree outlines an aggressive but achievable five-year timeline within which to implement these reforms. Over the first year, however, the City missed 89 mandated reform deadlines, meeting only 35.
“The Chicago Police Department’s failure to meet over 70% of the benchmarks put in place in the first year of the consent decree is deeply discouraging, particularly with calls for transformational police reform increasing in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arberry, and others,” said Ald. Matt Martin (47). “We need CPD and other public safety entities to adopt a host of significant changes to ensure we get back on track in complying with the consent decree. Based on yesterday hearing, it’s clear we are not there yet.”
“It is disappointing that the City has not made more progress,” said Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Ald. Sophia King (4). “It is unacceptable that we have fallen behind the rest of the nation in police reform. We do not have time to disregard deadlines. We are calling for the implementation of these reforms that make us all safer and will restore trust between citizens and police.”
In addition to failing to meet over 70% of these reform deadlines, the city has failed to sever the $33 million contract between the Police Department and Chicago Public Schools. The U.S. Department of Education reported that in the 2015–16 school year, Chicago Public Schools had the highest number of in-school arrests in the nation. Notably, the Department found that 70% of arrests involved Black children, who make up only 40% of the school population. While the CPS announced it has budgeted less than half as much money this year to pay for police in schools than last year, the Chicago Progressive Caucus is once again calling for the city to invest in systems that have been proven to work and provide safe and restorative learning environments.
“The expectation that our children are to feel safe around Chicago police officers in their schools when they fail to meet the most basic reform is unrealistic and thoughtless,” said Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20). “Our children look on as our officers beat protestors standing up for their rights. Instead of allowing CPD officers to intimidate and bring distress to our children, we must invest in trauma-informed care for our students.”
“It is evident to anyone paying attention that our police department is desperately in need of reform,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6). “We cannot continue to give officers 24 hours to get their stories straight before giving a statement in a shooting investigation. We cannot allow the Chicago Police Department to fall behind on the agreed upon changes necessary to build a fair and just department.”
The Progressive Reform Caucus includes Ald. Daniel LaSpata (1); Ald. Sophia King (4); Ald. Leslie Hairston (5); Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6); Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10); Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16); Ald. David Moore (17); Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20); Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22); Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25); Ald. Felix Cardona, Jr. (31); Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29); Ald. Scott Waguespack (32); Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35); Ald. Andre Vasquez (40); Ald. Matt Martin (47); and Ald. Maria Hadden (49).