Chicago religious leaders urge vote of no confidence for mayor

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Justice Department Launches Civil Rights Investigation Into Chicago Police.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The number of protesters might have diminished over the past couple weeks, but activists have not given up their efforts to seek changes in the justice system in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, or their demands for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign.

CHICAGO (STMW) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s revamped Police Board on Thursday launched a nationwide search for a new police superintendent amid concern that the furor over the Laquan McDonald shooting video and a federal civil rights investigation could diminish interest in the $260,000-a-year job.The United States Department of Justice will investigate whether the Chicago Police Department has systematically violated the civil rights of citizens when it uses force and deadly force.

With a “code of silence” to eliminate and bridges to rebuild in the African-American community, the Police Board has established a tight time frame to fill the position held since May 2011 by larger-than-life Police Supt. La Shawn Ford (D-8th) told CNN on Thursday. “People are hurt, people have died, people feel that they are forgotten about in the city of Chicago.” Ford reluctantly introduced legislation to amend state law to allow Chicagoans to recall Emanuel, also a Democrat, via ballot measure, after his office received several requests to do so. The day’s protests started with dozens of medical students of different races lying down in front of City Hall for 16 minutes at the start of the work day, some holding signs reading “Do No Harm” in a demonstration broadcast by local media. Protests prompted by the November 24 release of dashcam video of Laquan McDonald’s death at the hands of Chicago police did not dwindle on Thursday. And regardless of the findings in this investigation, we will seek to work with local officials, residents, and law enforcement officers alike to ensure that the people of Chicago have the world-class police department they deserve.” Lynch said the investigation will review the departments’ use of force, deadly force and how it held those officers who used excessive force accountable.

Release of police video of the shooting and the filing of a murder charge against Van Dyke on Nov. 24 came more than a year after McDonald’s death, and the delay, which activists blame on Emanuel and the top local prosecutor, has prompted more than two weeks of protests in the nation’s third-largest city. About 500 people marched from City Hall to Millennium Park, at times stopping traffic and making sharp, unexpected turns that forced police to scramble to catch up. The board will then summon roughly 10 semi-finalists for in-person interviews before presenting the names of three finalists to Emanuel by the end of February. Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, who is also co-chairing Emanuel’s Task Force on Police Accountability, called the search for McCarthy’s replacement “one of the most important” in Chicago history. “Anybody who has been following what’s transpiring in Chicago policing over the last two weeks understands we face challenges. Some protesters called for the abolition of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), and others wanted to see a new citizen body called the Police Auditor’s Office with the power to sue and unconditionally oversee police and IPRA documents.

It’s a chance to rebuild a great organization and put one’s personal stamp on best-in-class practices for policing from top-to-bottom and really be a visionary in 21st century policing. At one point, it seemed as though a protester with a bullhorn was shooing away trouble-makers mixing in with the peaceful protests, although that isn’t completely clear. Emanuel has recently taken steps to reform the police department, including setting up a task force to review police accountability and firing the police superintendent. Lightfoot contended that is not necessary since “anybody worth their salt in law enforcement knows this position is open.” But the board is advertising in a host of law enforcement trade publications and using its “extensive contacts” to network with potential candidates across the nation. Those in favor of such action say the contracts unfairly provide for covering up bad police behavior, such as one provision restricting internal investigators from questioning cops involved in shootings for the first 24 hours following the incident.

For example, candidates will be asked to define “accountability in the context of policing” and to identify the “best practices for early-warning systems” for officers whose actions trigger multiple citizen complaints. They will also be asked how they “assess and address bias-based policing” and how the message gets “articulated to the police force and executed” all the way down to officers on the beat. Although Mayor Emanuel has made apologies and promises while under a lot of pressure this past week, Chicago attorneys seemed to be going about their work unchanged.

On Wednesday, they motioned in federal court to block the public release of video depicting the 2012 police shooting death of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman, a carjacking suspect. Although the feds will be looking over the new superintendent’s shoulder for years and the Fraternal Order of Police is resisting changes to the disciplinary process, Lightfoot claimed she’s not concerned that McCarthy’s shoes will be tough to fill. “Other departments have had similar experiences and had other people come in and lead them. This situation presents a tremendous opportunity for the right person,” she said. “Responsible people in our community recognize that we must have a strong and vibrant police force that does the job the right way with respect for people they’re sworn to protect. We’re going to be looking for somebody who understands the current dynamic, but has a proven track record of earning, maintaining and building upon the trust and respect of the community.

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