Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office still have not reached agreement on whether the consent decree that will govern reforms in the Chicago Police Department should force officers to document every time they point guns at people.
Lawyers for the officials said in federal court Thursday that — barring a breakthrough — they plan to litigate what has been the key sticking point as they work toward a court agreement expected to serve as a blueprint for a sweeping overhaul of the Police Department in coming years. Officials in Madigan’s office want the incidents documented, but the Emanuel administration has resisted.
A draft of the decree was made public in July, and the two sides plan to submit a new version of the agreement to U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr. “as soon as practicable,” said Gary Caplan, a lawyer for Madigan’s office.
Some 17,000 public comments have been collected on the proposed decree, Caplan said.
On Thursday, Dow said the public would be able to submit written comments on the proposed decree and that he planned to hold hearings Oct. 24 and 25 to hear people’s thoughts on the agreement.
The final document is expected to cover departmental functions including the use of force, training, supervision and accountability.
An eventual consent decree would be one of the most significant consequences of the scandal sparked in late 2015 by the court-ordered release of video of white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black teen Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke is scheduled to stand trial on murder charges starting next week.
The video touched off sustained protests and led to an investigation of the police force by the U.S. Department of Justice. That inquiry resulted in a January 2017 report that described a broken Police Department in which badly trained police officers have engaged in brutality and misconduct with little risk of consequences.
Emanuel alternated between embracing and backing away from court-enforced reform before August 2017 when Madigan sued the city to force a consent decree and the mayor agreed to negotiate. Groups including Black Lives Matter Chicago and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois also brought lawsuits seeking changes, and the Emanuel administration and Madigan’s office reached a deal giving those activist groups a role in creating and enforcing the consent decree.
Under that deal, the activist groups agreed to put their lawsuits on hold as the parties worked toward a consent decree. A written memorandum holds that the groups could revive their own lawsuits if no proposed consent decree was filed by Sept. 1. The memorandum also said, however, that the groups would not do that if the city and attorney general’s office were working “in good faith” toward filing by the end of 2018 a proposed consent decree that addresses the activist groups’ concerns.
As of Thursday, lawyers for the activists groups had not suggested they planned to abandon the deal.
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August 30, 2018 at 04:15PM