The Chicago Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) is holding four community forums next month in order to gain insight from the public before sending the mayor recommendations on what changes need to be made within the city's police department.
"We are at a critical moment in Chicago's history and one that, while difficult, presents great opportunity," said Lori Lightfoot, chair of the Police Accountability Task Force. "The job of the Task Force is to lay the foundation that will restore trust between the police and the communities they serve by facing hard truths and creating a roadmap for real and lasting transparency, respectful engagement, accountability and constructive change. To do that effectively, we need to hear from Chicago's community residents."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel formed the task force in December in response to the public outcry following the release of the police dash-cam video of the Laquan McDonald shooting. According to the mayor's office, PATF is tasked with the following:
- 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. 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 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 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 if the City should change this policy, and if so, when and under what circumstances should such evidence be released to the public.
The schedule for next month's PATF community forums is as follows:
Tuesday, February 2
JLM Life Center, hosted by Mt Vernon Baptist Church
2622 W. Jackson Boulevard
Thursday, February 11
South Shore Cultural Center
7059 S. South Shore Drive
Tuesday, February 23
Benito Juarez Community Academy
1450 W. Cermak Road
Thursday, February 25
Sullivan High School
6631 N. Bosworth Avenue
Each meeting will follow the same format with registration beginning at 5:30 p.m. and a task force and working group overview at 6:00 p.m. Public comment will start at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m.
The task force has a March 31 deadline to present its recommendations to the mayor and city council.