News

January 31, 2019

Chicago Police Consent Decree Imperfect But Can Protect From Historically Racist And Violent CPD

No longer will police be able to brutalize first and ask questions later.

CHICAGO – The MacArthur Justice Center on Thursday issued the following statement in response to the consent decree intended to reform the Chicago Police Department. The statement can be attributed to Sheila A. Bedi, attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

 

“The consent decree approved today by the court contains some transformative provisions. First, it empowers the communities most affected by police violence with the ability to enforce the decree and seek contempt sanctions if CPD violates its terms. Second, it changes the policing default in Chicago. — No longer will police be able to brutalize first and ask questions later.

“As a result of this decree, every single police officer on our streets will be required to de-escalate and avoid force whenever possible. And the decree also contains critically important provisions aimed at addressing racial bias in policing.

“But, as the Court noted today, the decree is not perfect. Many of the proposed revisions that reflected the expertise of the communities most affected by police violence were not included. This includes provisions about gender-based violence, diversion and survivor rights. The court suggests that these suggestions could become additions at a later time. They should be. They are critical to the success of this decree.

“But this decree – even with the omissions – will protect our communities from an historically racist and violent CPD. We’re here because far too many Black and Brown people were injured or killed or otherwise suffered life destroying consequences because of CPD’s policy and practices. And it was the communities most affected by police violence that led us to this day.”