The Chicago Police Department must face its racist past and change the way it handles excessive force allegations before true reforms can made, according to a blistering new report obtained by the Chicago Tribune.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel established a task force in December after protests erupted over the Laquan McDonald video, which shows an officer fatally shooting the teen as he walked away from police, prompting a federal civil rights probe. A draft of the report, scheduled to be released this week, also takes aim at the department’s primary oversight agency, reports the Tribune:
The 18-page executive summary recommends abolishing the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates allegations of officer misconduct, and implementing a citywide reconciliation process beginning with the “superintendent publicly acknowledging CPD’s history of racial disparity and discrimination.”
“Reform is possible if there is a will and a commitment. But where reform must begin is with an acknowledgment of the sad history and present conditions which have left the people totally alienated from the police, and afraid for their physical and emotional safety,” according to the draft report. “And while many individuals and entities have a role to play, the change must start with CPD. CPD cannot begin to build trust, repair what is broken and tattered unless — from the top leadership on down — it faces these hard truths, acknowledges what it has done at the individual and institutional levels and earnestly reaches out with respect.”
“The linkage between racism and CPD did not just bubble up in the aftermath of the release of the McDonald video. Racism and maltreatment at the hands of the police have been consistent complaints from communities of color for decades,” the report states. “False arrests, coerced confessions and wrongful convictions are also a part of this history. Lives lost and countless more damaged. These events and others mark a long, sad history of death, false imprisonment, physical and verbal abuse and general discontent about police actions in neighborhoods of color.”
It’s a travesty that so many lives had to be lost and that it took so long for such recommendations to be made. We hope the report doesn’t gather dust on a bookshelf, but leads to true reforms.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty