MMB: Defunding the Police Without Accountability

Lightfoot Defunding the Police

DefundingSo, isn’t Lightfoot not filling vacant police positions actually a move towards defunding the Chicago Police Department (CPD)? There is little doubt that defunding the CPD would require staff reductions. I believe Lightfoot is being disingenuous at best when she says stuff like “if we defunded the police, we would have to cut the youngest officers.” That is true, but not in the way she wants you to look at it. By not filling the 600 plus vacant positions she is in effect cutting positions that would be held by the youngest officers she is talking about not wanting to cut. She is in essence defunding the CPD.

The media is allowing Lightfoot to go about defunding the CPD, but not say to people she is doing it. The problem with this version is that it allows Lightfoot to reposition the money into any other budget line for the City. This is the quintessential Chicago way to do it. This should not be allowed to stand. If we are going to start the process of defunding the Department it should be done in a manner that is extraordinarily transparent, with community input on how those resources get redirected. All politicians should be mandated by law to direct those resources where they say they are going to put them. We simply cannot trust any of them to do the right thing. This is certainly true over time, as well as in challenging economic situations like we find ourselves in now.

It is time for the media to step up and call the Mayor out for this and demand a transparent process.

FDLA’s Bogus #s

This is a very important issue but, as usual, the data is being misused for propaganda purposes.

The vast majority of arrests in Chicago are for misdemeanors that do not require arrestees to have council representing them. So, when you see the figure of 2% or the previously reported .2%, you have to take those figures with, not just a pinch, but a gallon of salt.

I was asked years ago to review a report prior to publication authored by a professor from DePaul for First Defense Legal Aid. I told them at that time that I did not think this was an appropriate use of data and that it was completely misleading. Obviously, those warnings were ignored.

If we had journalists in town that fact checked what advocates and justice agencies fed them this would have been uncovered years ago. Unfortunately for Chicagoans, FDLA’s figures were never checked and thus they keep using them.

This is a very important topic but that doesn’t mean you can use misleading data and analysis on purpose. In the end it always comes back to hurt you when you can least afford to be hurt.

Evans Order to Brown

This story just makes me laugh. Brown is the epitome of a machine politician who always put her well being in front of everything else. I challenge anyone to find a politician in such a position to drive reform of the criminal justice system who has done less during their time in office. Brown has been a failure since her first day in office.

Why in the world would a total hack politician like Brown be rushing to implement changes to the operations of the Cook County Courts before she leaves office, when she has spent so many years doing nothing but extorting her employees, making people pay for promotions and jobs, and enriching her family?

We entered into an agreement with Chief Judge Evans on Nov. 2, 2015 to access criminal court data from the day they started collecting, until the day the Judge Evans approved our request. This agreement also mandated that the Clerk provide regular updates to this data set. Brown’s administration has blocked our access to the data by implementing a $25,000 fee for removing a few identifying fields and creating a unique identifier for each case. A corruption tax that Brown is using to make sure she protects the machine.

We hope the new clerk will eliminate this corruption tax.

Use of Force Working Group

You can certainly tell that Mayor Lightfoot and Superintendent Brown’s Chicago Police Department is taking community collaboration seriously. They used all of 3% of the use-of-force review group’s recommendations.

Do you remember when Mayor Emanuel and the Department took input from the community on the CPD’s use of force policy? They issued a new draft policy and then pretty much immediately retracted it and reversed course on almost all of the changes they made.

In this chapter of “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” Lightfoot and Brown initiate this review group just to completely ignore almost all of their recommendations. I guess they both got the public relations points they needed from starting the review group that they didn’t feel compelled to have to actually use 97% of the group’s recommendations. Now, since the recommendations have not been made public, we have no idea to what degree they were sound and backed up by research. The residents of Chicago deserve to know. Don’t worry, CJP is going to submit a FOIA request to make those recommendations public.

Grand Jury in to Eddie

This is a fine story. My issue is why was it published on a Friday at almost 6pm? I understand the rush to get things out first, but isn’t this a bigger story than something you publish at a time when you know that few people are paying attention to the news? I am a little dumbfounded by what the grand jury is investigating, unless it has to do with destroying evidence. The fact that Lightfoot has not released the final report and now there is a grand jury investigation into exactly what the report was researching makes you think that there might be something going on behind the scenes that would explain why it wasn’t released. If Foxx gets indictments, then it would certainly seem that the Mayor and Law Department’s view that the report does not contain evidence of a crime would be at best, incorrect, and at worst, part of a cover up. Time will tell.

GAPA vs. CPAC

If you need evidence of a complete failure of the Chicago media, the coverage of this hearing is all you need. The Public Safety Committee held a hearing last Tuesday on two competing versions of a possible community commission or council that would have some oversight of the Chicago Police Department and the police accountability system in Chicago.

There were exactly two news stories about this hearing.

The Daily Line

Block Club Chicago

The rest of the Chicago media just sat this one out.

The lack of media commitment to the story definitely has had some impact on why the Mayor has chosen to abandon 4 years of talks that both her administration and the Emanuel administration had with the groups pushing the competing ordinances. The lack of coverage is just very sad.

If you are interested in learning about the GAPA ordinance more depth please watch this video from our Chicago Justice Show that is now streamed live from 12-1pm (CT) on Wednesdays on our Facebook page, Twitter page, and our YouTube channel.

Author: Tracy Siska

Tracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.

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