Chicago, IL – Plaintiffs with active lawsuits against the city of Chicago – including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Black Lives Matter – gained a prominent role in the oversight and reform of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) on Tuesday night.
In an agreement with the city and the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, the groups obtained the power to help construct the consent decree that will govern the police department, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“It’s really setting up the community groups as watchdogs that will have a role to make sure that reform really continues no matter what happens as politicians come and go,” ACLU staff attorney Kathy Muse told the Chicago Tribune.
“Our goals are for a robust consent decree to be entered by a court, and for that commitment to be enforced,” Muse said, according to the Associated Press. “This agreement allows community groups to act as watchdogs during the long-term reform process.”
The anti-police groups will have 60 days to present the rules and regulations that they believe should be contained in the consent decree, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Madigan hailed the coalition as an “important step” in providing “communities that have been particularly impacted” to have a voice about how Chicago’s police officers should do their jobs.
“The agreement ensures that community groups have a clear process to provide their input on the consent decree and enforce its terms,” she told the Chicago Tribune.
As a result of the agreement, the groups agreed to suspend lawsuits against the city, contingent on the consent decree being filed in federal court by Sept. 1.
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president Kevin Graham cautioned the city in a statement following the announcement of the agreement, and pointed out that the law enforcement officers also deserved to have a voice in the process.
“Without the support of the rank and file Chicago Police Officers, their move today will go nowhere,” Graham said. “Anyone who thinks it will is sadly mistaken. As I have said before, we will never give up our collective bargaining rights.”
“The city of Chicago should be careful where they go with a consent decree,” he added.