Community and Civic Organizations Challenge Mayor and Police Superintendent: Cease Delays, Act on Consent Decree to Lay a Pathway for Community Safety
For Immediate Release Contact Ariel Hairston (312) 759-8242
February 6, 2023 Shareese Pryor (312) 759-8249
Community and Civic Organizations Challenge Mayor and Police Superintendent:
Cease Delays, Act on Consent Decree to Lay a Pathway for Community Safety
Group Contends the City and the CPD’s approach to Consent Decree Implementation is Insufficient
CHICAGO – A broad and influential group of community and civic organizations committed to the safety, health, and vibrancy of Chicago’s neighborhoods called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown to act on “overdue . . . Consent Decree elements that will help provide the public with transparent staffing insights, opportunities for public safety ownership, and access to critical data.”
The 26 organizations (listed below) joined together to write an urgent letter expressing deep concern with the City’s lack of implementation progress. Many of the organizations participate in community engagement opportunities related to safety issues, while some others regularly provide the public with information regarding the Consent Decree process.
“The Mayor and Superintendent’s contentment with the status quo means no real progress on addressing CPD patterns and practices that disproportionately harm our Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+ neighbors and neighbors with disabilities,” says Cara Hendrickson, Executive Director of BPI. “Constitutional policing required under the consent decree is the bare minimum that our communities should be able to expect from our city’s leadership.”
The group further expressed that “[t]hree years since [the Consent Decree’s effective date], the latest Independent Monitoring Report and residents’ accounts of policing suggest that the City’s and the CPD’s implementation efforts are at significant risk of shifting course in the wrong direction toward more harm, mistrust, delayed justice, and violence.” The group agrees that Chicago cannot suffer any more delays.
The letter raises concerns that have been on the City and CPD’s radar for years: 1) inadequate allocation of abundant resources, 2) superficial community engagement, and 3) fundamental data operations issues.
Hendrickson goes on to say that “the Consent Decree is just one powerful tool that, if successfully implemented, can provide critical data to support further changes that are transformative and life affirming.”
Therefore, within the next sixth months of Consent Decree evaluation, the group’s letter demands that the Mayor and Superintendent take these immediate actions:
- assess and publicize current and future workforce allocation reports, findings, and data, including those made by external partners,
- partner with community-centered groups to develop meaningful community engagement opportunities that empower community ownership over safety efforts, and
- complete and release CPD’s comprehensive data systems analysis, assessing effectiveness.
The Mayor and Superintendent have had years to move from improved policies to reformed operations. Chicagoans have fought, bargained, and waited long enough for safety grounded in people’s inherent value and humanity. “We will not quietly accept anything less than robust action going forward. [These] are only a few steps [City and CPD leaders] can take immediately to signal to our neighbors and us that [they] can usher in profound and sustainable progress toward constitutional policing.”
The letter signees:
- The 411 Movement for Pierre Loury
- ACLU of Illinois
- Access Living
- Better Government Association – BGA Policy
- BlackRoots Alliance
- Black Lives Matter Chicago
- Cabrini Green Legal Aid
- Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
- Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts
- Chicago Council of Lawyers
- Chicago CRED
- Council on American Islamic Relations – Chicago
- El Hogar Del Niño
- Equality Illinois
- The Equiticity Racial Equity Movement
- Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
- Illinois Latino Agenda
- Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
- Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender
- League of Women Voters of Chicago
- Metropolitan Family Services
- Mikva Challenge – Safety and Justice Council
- Network 49
- ONE Northside
- Southwest Organizing Project
A copy of the letter sent to Mayor Lightfoot and Superintendent Brown is available at bpichicago.org/impact.
BPI is a public interest law and policy center that has worked at the front lines of social justice in the Chicago region and Illinois for over 50 years. Our team of lawyers and policy specialists in collaboration with legal aid attorneys, civic volunteers, and community advocates, use innovative and effective advocacy tools to advance racial and economic equality. BPI brings decades of experience making systemic reform by elevating critical public issues, cultivating effective and diverse coalitions, advocating for promising, and advising evidence-based policy solutions.
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