Chicago, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the city of Chicago on Tuesday, August 29, effectively forcing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand in the issue of police reform for the troubled city that he’s in charge of.
Emanuel, however, says that he supports an outside entity telling him how to run the police department of a city he’s in charge of.
In a press conference, where Emanuel and Madigan appeared together as a form of “partnership”, Madigan said that the lawsuit was filed “against the city of Chicago based on the findings of the Justice Department investigation.”
She then listed her basis for the lawsuit: “policing deficiencies including inadequate training and a lack of supervision to a failure to investigate misconduct and discipline officers.”
In the lawsuit, Madigan said that the Mayor’s reforms were not enough to “prevent the Chicago Police Department from continuing a pattern of deadly and excessive force that disproportionately hurts African-Americans and Latinos.”
After months of stalling by Emanuel, and changing his position more than once on some issues, the sharply-worded lawsuit pushes Emanuel towards accepting federal oversight of the Chicago Police Department, according to The Chicago Tribune.
It also means that he will most likely have to agree to reforms beyond what he has already put in place. Federal oversight alone will cost the city millions of dollars, will likely have to be in place for several years, and will only accomplish changes that the city could implement on its own.
The issue of police reform within the Chicago Police Department can be found as far back as November 2015, when a judge ordered Emanuel to release the Laquan McDonald police shooting video. On Monday, August 29, Chicago Police Officer Marco Proano was found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of excessive force, in violation of the victim’s civil rights.
Sentencing is set for November 20 for Officer Proano, who is on unpaid suspension from the Chicago Police Department. In that incident, he fired 20 shots at a stolen car full of teenagers, and McDonald, who had gotten out of the vehicle and was walking away, was shot and killed. The incident was captured on dash-cam video.
In 2015, Madigan had asked for a federal probe, but Emanuel didn’t agree.
A federal investigation was initiated, and its findings were highly critical of Chicago PD.
The DOJ reported that Chicago PD had a “pattern or practice” of excessive force, but stated that “statistical evidence is not required,” for such a finding, and they didn’t disclose how they came to that finding, according to Heather Mac Donald.
In January, 2017, Emanuel signed an agreement with former President Obama’s administration for a federal judge and court-appointed monitor to oversee and enforce reforms, a last ditch effort before the Trump administration was put in place.
By May, Emanuel was trying to negotiate an out-of-court agreement with President Trump’s administration, which has generally opposed consent decrees which can force extreme and costly changes.
Madigan, former Obama administration officials, police reform advocates, and some black politicians and community leaders have said how “ludicrous” it is for Emanuel to negotiate with a Department of Justice that does not see a need for “constitutional policing.”
He refused to back down until Tuesday, when the lawsuit was filed, despite arguments that the results would be the same as if a consent decree had been issued.
Emanuel now says that he supports the lawsuit against Chicago because the Trump administration failed them.
It isn’t known when she advised Emanuel that she was proceeding with the lawsuit, but she said that she had been “talking for weeks” with Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
An agreement was made between them to proceed with “a consent decree, an independent court monitor and soliciting public input”, but she said that any other agreements would be in the form of negotiations between her office and Emanuel’s administration.
The mayor’s reforms have so far included additional training, hiring more officers, forcing officers to fill out a form after contacts, and increasing the number of body cameras and Tasers issued to officers.