DRAFT Consent decree to implement police reforms in Chicago

On Friday, July 27, the city of Chicago and the Illinois Attorney General issued a joint agreement proposing police reforms in light of the DOJ report on police misconduct in Chicago. At this stage, their report is only a draft. It has been issued to solicit public comments. A final, revised report is due to be filed in court later this fall.

After the publication of a 2017 DOJ report tracing the recent history of police misconduct in Chicago, the Attorney General of the United States dismissed the findings of the report and refused to enforce it. As a result, a group representing Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, and the Attorney General for Illinois filed separate lawsuits to implement the reforms called for in the DOJ report. Pushed by those suits, the Chicago government began to work with those groups to draft a consent decree desigbed to control police misconduct.

It has been a long and contentious process. The Police Accountability Task Force, offered a report. Community and activists groups prepared a draft decree to help guide the process. When parts of a draft agreement were leaked (here) the FOP objected to the elements of the proposal.

July 31: more reactions to the draft: From a mayoral candidate (and the former president of the Chicago Police Board). From the governor of Illinois.

And from August, another important discussion. Still more here.


Police misconduct in Chicago (predictably) gives rise to problems in the courts:

At least 37 criminal cases have been dropped by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office since Chicago police removed Elizondo and Salgado from street duties on Jan. 31, according to the analysis of Police Department arrest data obtained through an open records request as well as court records.


This sounds familiar

This description of what happened in 1988:

During interrogation, Kitchen says, officers handcuffed him to the wall and beat him repeatedly with a nightstick, a telephone, a telephone book, and their own fists.

Sounds a lot like what Robert Nixon claimed happened to him in 1938:

After that, several officers (Nixon guessed there were about six) had him stand on something while they cuffed his arms to the wall. Once his arms were secured, they kicked whatever he had been standing on out from under him, leaving him hanging by his arms.

Courts and confusion

Confused verdict from the civil suit against CPD Officer Rialmo

In a chaotic finish to a high-profile trial, a judge first announced that a jury had found that a Chicago police officer unjustifiably shot and killed a bat-wielding teen, then wiped away the verdict and the $1 million award to the teen’s family after noting that jurors had also found that the officer reasonably feared for his life when he fired

As the Tribune notes in that article, there was an earlier case with similar confusion:

The situation echoed at least one other case in Cook County over a shooting by Chicago police. In 2015, a jury found that an officer shot and killed a 19-year-old man without justification and awarded $3.5 million in damages. In that case, however, the jury also answered a special interrogatory and said the officer believed his life was in danger when he fired. The judge wiped away the verdict, but the Illinois Appellate Court overturned her decision and reinstated the award in February.

That earlier decision was reversed in February 2018, when the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the jury verdict.