The Task Force on Police Accountability, created by Mayor Emanuel in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting will hold its fourth and final community forum at Sullivan High School, Thursday, February 25th. Registration takes place at 5:30 p.m. and the forum begins at 6:00 p.m.
The task force is co-chaired by the following leaders in criminal justice, who will be in attendance at the forum:
• Sergio Acosta is a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson and a former federal prosecutor
• Joe Ferguson is Inspector General of the City of Chicago and a former federal prosecutor
• Hiram Grau is the former Director of the Illinois State Police and former Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department
• Lori Lightfoot is president of the Chicago Police Board, a partner at Mayer Brown and a former federal prosecutor
• Randolph Stone is a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, director of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project Clinic, and a former Cook County Public Defender
Former Massachusetts Governor and Chicago native Deval Patrick serves as a senior advisor to the task force. Patrick also served as U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton.
The task force is charged with:
• Improving independent oversight of police misconduct. In response to prior complaints concerning the investigation of police-involved shootings and other claims of serious police misconduct, the City Council created a new, independent, civilian-led agency in 2006 to conduct such investigations–-the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA). The task force will examine if there are additional changes that should now be made to improve the quality, independence or timeliness of IPRA’s investigations of police-involved shootings and excessive force.
• Examining the best ways to ensure officers with repeated complaints are identified and evaluated appropriately. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has previously adopted programs to identify and intervene with respect to officers who have been the subject of repeated complaints of excessive force or other misconduct. The task force will review what the CPD or IPRA can and should do to strengthen those programs to identify officers with problematic conduct, including racial bias, and what can be done to effectively intervene to change that conduct.
• Recommending best practices for release of videos of police-involved incidents. The City (including both CPD and IPRA) has a longstanding policy not to publicly release videos and other evidence relating to alleged police misconduct that is the subject of pending criminal and/or disciplinary investigations until such investigations are concluded so as not to jeopardize those investigations. The task force will consider whether the City should change this policy, and if so, when and under what circumstances should such evidence be released to the public.
The task force aims to actively engage community, victims’ rights, law enforcement, youth, religious and elected leaders to ensure the recommendations are based on input from all parts of the city. Its recommendations will be presented to the Mayor and City Council by March 31st.
I urge you to attend this forum and provide your thoughts and insights on how our Police Department can be made more accountable to the public. You can also submit a comment using the Task Force’s website form, tweet the Task Force @chicagopatforg, post a message on the Task Force Facebook page or send the Task Force a letter at P.O. Box 6289 Chicago, IL 60606.