COPA Compliance with Video Release Policy

COPAAn audit of the Citizen’s Office of Police Accountability’s (COPA) compliance with the City of Chicago’s video release policy shows systemic failures in the police accountability system in Chicago that lead to COPA failing to live up to the office’s obligations under this policy.

The policy was put in to place in the wake of the release of the video showing the murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Office Jason Van Dyke. The video was withheld by the Emanuel administration to help Rahm Emanuel win re-election.

Until this time the City of Chicago had no policy in place to mandate the release of video from police shootings and misconduct cases. This was exploited by Emanuel to hide the video of a white officer brutality murdering a black teenager.

In this episode of the Chicago Justice Show we sit down with Deborah Witzburg who is the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety in the Office of the Inspector General for the City of Chicago. We discuss her office’s audit of COPA’s compliance with the City’s policy on releasing video from these types of cases.

The audit reveals massive system flaws in the how the Chicago Police Department and the police accountability system in Chicago policies and practices are aligned to almost guarantee that COPA will fail to live up to the requirements of the policy.

This is problem that started under Rahm Emanuel but still continue to exist under Mayor Lightfoot’s administration. The basic fact is that the Chicago Police Department will not live up to any policy that is not in the interest of the Department or the interest of its officers. The Department must be forced to obey the simplest of policies because internally the agency is fundamentally broken and corrupt. It is perpetually in a coverup at all costs mode that is a complete disservice to the residents of Chicago as well as the majority of the officers within the Department. This audit is just another clear example of this fact.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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This is our Chicago Justice Podcast that covers crime, violence, and justice issues in Chicago. We will feature deep dives in to justice system data, interview with researchers and justice system reform advocates, as well as evaluations of justice system practices.

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