The Chicago City Council's Black Caucus held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to propose a seven-point plan aimed at improving the Chicago Police Department's relationship with the city's black community. The plan comes as a result of the ongoing reports of police abuse, shootings and misconduct in minority, particularly black, communities after the public release of the dash-cam video depicting the shooting death of Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke.
"The breakdown in the system was real, and it was the direct result of decades of racism and neglect of communities of color," said Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6th), chair of the City Council's Black Caucus. "These are just the first steps, but we will remain committed to delivering full justice and making our Chicago the best that it can be for all of its citizens."
The City Council has raised eyebrows over its approval of a $5 million settlement with McDonald's family without having viewed the dash-cam video, according to the statements of several aldermen, who along with Emanuel, deny having seen the video prior to its public release Thanksgiving week. The Black Caucus' proposal seeks to prevent such an incident from taking place in the future, while also ensuring that city leaders are kept abreast of potential cases of police misconduct.
"We are instituting protocol wherein the full City Council will receive a full briefing on these matters that will include all of the evidence, full discussion of the underlying case and a recommendation from Corporation Counsel," Sawyer said. "To ensure we receive the full story, the plaintiff's counsel will be on hand as well. Finally the video, if one exists, will be made available to the full Council at the briefing."
The Black Caucus laid out the following intitiaves in their seven-point plan:
- CPD must stop shooting people in the back.
- CPD employees who file false reports must be prosecuted. So far, the Cook County State's Attorney has not pressed charges against the officers who filed false reports in the Laquan McDonald case. It has been more than 400 days, and still, no charges. This is unacceptable.
- City Council and the Emanuel Administration must engage directly with the FOP to reform the disciplinary sections of the contract which at times have hindered proper action against officers who use excessive force or engage in other inappropriate behavior.
- A special prosecutor is needed to pursue justice in all police involved shooting cases.
- City Hall must support full integration with federal agencies to bring the resources necessary to tackle the systemic economic issues that have caused the conditions in our community.
- The Blue Ribbon Task Force must be broadened to include community members, representation from the City Council, clinicians and members of the Defense Bar.
- Due to the fractured nature of the relationship between the African American community and the CPD, we need full and serious consideration of an African American police superintendent to replace Supt. Garry McCarthy.