Agreement reached on board of directors elected to oversee Chicago police: aldermen, mayor | Chicago News

Supporters of the Empowering Communities for Public Safety plan call for greater police accountability at a rally on April 21, 2021 (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

Supporters of a long-standing plan developed by a coalition of community groups that would put an elected board of Chicago residents in charge of the Chicago Police Department said on Friday they were close to a deal with the Mayor Lori Lightfoot who could pave the way for a final vote next week.

Lightfoot said in a statement Friday that there had been “significant progress” in negotiating a deal.

“I look forward to continuing the conversation over the weekend with the goal of reaching consensus on the way forward,” Lightfoot said.

This is a notable change from June 25, when Lightfoot told reporters that the plan drawn up by community groups was a “back door attempt to fund the police department by taking control of the authority of the police. policy development “.

The progress of negotiations prompted the city council’s public safety committee on Friday to postpone the vote on a proposal developed by a coalition of community groups and approved by the council’s Progressive Caucus, Black Caucus and Latin American Caucus, as well as a counter-proposal from Lightfoot.

Aldermen have agreed to negotiate with the mayor and his staff throughout the weekend and have scheduled another meeting of the public safety committee at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in hopes that a deal can be finalized in time for a Chicago city council vote on Wednesday.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) said on Friday that trying to pass such a complicated bill in such a rushed time “is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard”.

City council is expected to take its annual summer break in August.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), one of the main sponsors of the proposal drawn up by community groups, said talks were 80 and 85% complete, and a final deal would only be “a little different” from the proposal developed by community groups.

“We are closer than ever before,” Ald said. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th arrondissement). “But there is still a long way to go.”

Allies of mayors blocked a vote on the coalition’s proposal last month, even after supporters scrapped a provision that would ask voters to give the 11-member council the power to hire and fire the superintendent, negotiate contracts with police department unions; and set the budget for the Chicago Police Department through a binding referendum.

Ramirez-Rosa’s office released a statement from the coalition that developed the proposal they dubbed the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance, or ECPS.

“Mayor Lightfoot’s latest proposal is close to what the ECPS Coalition would like to adopt – the closest we’ve ever been,” the statement said. “However, there are still glaring differences between the mayor’s latest proposal and our ECPS ordinance, which leave open the right of communities to have a decisive say over their own safety.”

The ECPS ordinance would create a two-tiered accountability system for police officers, focusing on each of the 22 police districts as well as the city as a whole. He would recommend candidates for the post of commissioner of police and commission of police to the mayor.

The elected council would have the power to hire and fire the head of the Civilian Police Accountability Office, known as COPA, which is the agency responsible for investigating police misconduct, according to the proposal. of the coalition.

Additionally, the coalition’s proposal would allow the elected supervisory board to pass a resolution of no confidence in the superintendent and any member of the Chicago Police Board with a two-thirds vote. This could trigger action by the city council.

A council made up of non-citizens would advise the commission on issues impacting Chicago’s immigrant and undocumented community, according to the proposal.

The board would have the final say on political disputes between the police service and its two oversight bodies: COPA and the Police Board, which disciplines officers. A two-thirds vote from city council could overturn a committee decision.

Lightfoot vehemently opposed all of these provisions, repeatedly saying that ceding that kind of authority would prevent the mayor from keeping Chicago safe.

The mayor’s counter-proposal would only give elected council members the power to advise the mayor.

The revised proposal under negotiation would give council the final say on Chicago Police Department policy, but give the mayor a veto that could be overruled by a two-thirds vote of Chicago City Council.

The fight over who should have the final say on Chicago Police Department policy has been the critical sticking point in negotiations between Lightfoot and a coalition of community organizations determined to fundamentally transfer control of the police department from the office. from the mayor to elected members of the community since March 2020.

The original proposal from the Grassroots Association for Police Accountability, known as GAPA, gave the board the final say on policy decisions. Even though Lightfoot backed the plan during her 2019 mayoral campaign and vowed to pass it in her first 100 days in office, she demanded that the mayor have the final say on politics just before a vote on the municipal Council.

In September 2020, she completely abandoned her support for the GAPA plan and, nine months later, presented her own proposal, which received no more than nominal support from the aldermen.

Lightfoot’s decision to drop her support for GAPA put her at odds with several of her allies on Chicago City Council, and ultimately led GAPA supporters to join forces with supporters of a competing proposal known as the name of CPAC to work out the ECPS compromise.

Typically, a substantive bill like creating an elected council to oversee the police service is unlikely to pass without the backing of the mayor – but city council could be on the verge of pushing back Lightfoot. , who was elected after leading the city’s response. to the police murder of Laquan McDonald and campaigned to reform the beleaguered Chicago Police Department once and for all.

However, after the middle of his four-year tenure, Lightfoot’s position was weakened by the uproar surrounding a botched police raid that left a social worker naked and begging officers for help along with the police shooting. on 13-year-old Adam Toledo. .

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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