MMB: Dart, Gang Database, Lightfoot

Defunder in Charge

DartThis is just another clear demonstration of how the Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart, tries to manipulate and shape the Sheriff’s Office into whatever will allow him to keep or gain additional power. In this article, Dart tries to position the programs he is running in the jail as being exactly what supporters of defunding the justice system are striving to create.

Tom, you are either being completely disingenuous, or you are clueless. Since we know you are highly intelligent this leads us to believe the former. 

When people call for defunding justice institutions, they are not calling for giving the Sheriff’s Office more money and power. They are not calling for making the time in jail people serve more humane (although that should certainly be done). They are calling for prevention of people ever entering the justice system. New programs in the jail will not do this. Neither will sending Tom Dart more money and power. The goal is to shrink Dart’s clientele and eventually shutdown of as much his office as possible. This will of course shrink his power and his ability to run for higher office. Not something that is in Dart’s political interests.

Also, it is far beyond time to shrink or dismantle the Cook County Sheriff’s police force and provide resources for suburban police departments to police unincorporated areas in suburban areas.

Useless Gang Database Settlement?

Many lawsuits brought about by lawyers demanding massive reforms to police activities start off really loud but end in a quiet thud. This may be one of those instances.

In this lawsuit, plaintiffs were seeking to stop the CPD from creating a new version of their infamous gang database. In the end, there are some gains when it comes to transparency, the information they are allowed to transfer over from the previous version, and a process of allowing individuals to petition to be taken out of the database. These are definitely steps in the right direction, but hardly a victory if the real goal was to stop the CPD from creating a new database.

Now on to WTTW’s reprint of the Mayor’s Statement:

“Based on national best practices and developed in response to concerns voiced by community members, activists and the Office of the Inspector General, and with an imperative of making sure we use all constitutional tools to keep our residents safe, the department’s reformed Criminal Enterprise Information System fulfills that commitment by allowing CPD to better prevent, investigate, and solve gang-related crime while also protecting the constitutional rights of citizens […] We are committed to further engagement and partnership with the community on this important issue as we roll the new policy out, and going forward, to ensure that both our policing needs and the needs of the community are being met.”

Does anyone believe this statement?

Can someone please show me where, in the history of the CPD, they have earned the right to be trusted with collecting and using information in a constitutional manner?

Heather Cherone, your job is to challenge statements and not just reprint them like a stenographer.

The Chicago Inspector General’s Office just recently published a report detailing how the CPD completely fails to live up to their constitutional responsibility to turn over data & records when the CPD is subpoenaed.

Here in interview we did with Deborah Witzburg, the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety, discussing this report.

It is time for the CPD be designated a broken institution and rebuilt from the ground up. These important yet incredibly modest gains will do nothing to prevent us from being in this same position 20 years from now. 

If Only 2% of Journalists Challenged This 2% Stat

Here is another use of a statistic from First Defense Legal Aid that the media just refuses to challenge.

I have written about this before so I am not going to go over all of it again, but I will just say that this 2% stat is at the very least a propaganda derived number that does not reflect reality. Please force everyone to back up their numbers. Pascal Sabino, I know you are just quoting a number you have seen your colleagues at your outlet and others around you use without challenging, but your job is to challenge these numbers regardless.

COPA is What We Thought They Would Be

Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts made a daring comment recently when speaking to the City Council.

“COPA is not the civilian oversight body of Chicago’s past,” Roberts said.

Actually, they are exactly the same. Don’t be fooled people. I helped write the ordinance that created COPA and the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety’s Office and let me tell you. COPA is not any better than IPRA, which in the end was not really any better than the Office of Professional Standards. You can see the pattern, right?

CJP is in the midst of a long-term investigation of a specific case that COPA investigated that we believe in the end will prove this statement to be false.

You can support our transparency work and our in-depth research here

Author: Tracy Siska

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

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