Civilian police oversight efforts stall again, but city councilor says compromise with Mayor Lori Lightfoot “extremely close” – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – After years of sometimes heated debates over how to move forward with the Chicago Police Department’s civilian oversight, aldermen again deferred voting on two competing proposals on Friday, but said they were ” closer than ever “to an agreement. on a compromise that would have the support of both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a majority of City Council.

On Friday, the city council’s public security committee was due to vote on two competing civilian police oversight orders – one backed by a coalition of aldermen and grassroots organizations, and another backed by the mayor – but instead Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), one of the main sponsors of the local plan, said the two sides are now working on a deal that could satisfy both sides.

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“We’re working around the clock to make it happen, and I think we’re extremely close,” Sawyer said.

The Lightfoot office also confirmed that a compromise is underway.

“I am firmly committed to adopting a comprehensive, effective and viable form of civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department and its relevant accountability agencies. Recently, significant progress has been made between relevant stakeholders and I look forward to continuing the conversation over the weekend with the aim of reaching consensus on the way forward, ”the mayor said in a statement. prepare.

Sawyer said local plan sponsors met with the Lightfoot administration this week to find a compromise and will work throughout the weekend to try to finalize a deal.

“This potential compromise is being made in conjunction with our two alliance partners… and with the administration working together, and we will be working throughout the weekend to achieve what we believe is still the most comprehensive order. of the United States of America, as far as police surveillance is concerned, and we ask for your indulgence, as well as the indulgence of the committee to let us continue with this work, so that we may have something available to you – for the committee and for the board as a whole – which we think is acceptable to anyone interested in genuine civilian police oversight, ”he told members of the Public Safety Committee.

The announcement of a potential compromise comes a month after the most recent version of the popular proposal was retained in committee.

The popular plan would call for an electoral referendum to empower a civilian oversight board to hire and fire the police superintendent, establish a CPD policy, establish the department’s budget, and negotiate contracts with police unions. Sponsors tried to remove this provision from their proposal last month, in an effort to gain sufficient support for the full passage of city council, but were barred from doing so amid complaints that their change came at the last minute.

Without this referendum, their revised proposal would still allow a civilian police oversight board to hire and fire the head of the Civilian Police Accountability Office, establish a CPD policy, and cast a vote of no confidence. to the police superintendent. However, the city council would retain the power to set the department’s budget, and the mayor’s office would retain the power to negotiate contracts with police unions.

Lightfoot’s proposal would give less power to the civilian police oversight board. While the commission would be able to influence the policy-making of the Chicago Police Department, COPA, and the Police Board, the mayor would still have the final say. Like the grassroots civilian oversight plan, the mayor’s proposal would also allow the commission to vote no confidence against the superintendent, COPA chief or members of the police council. Such a vote would prompt the municipal council to vote on the advisability of recommending the dismissal of the superintendent, the administrator of the COPA or the members of the police council; but the mayor would always have the last word.

Sawyer and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), co-sponsor of the basic proposal, said the mayor’s office agreed to use the basic proposal as the basis for the compromise, while negotiating on a few points where the two plans differ.

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“We are closer than ever before, but there is still a long way to go. Hopefully we can cover that ground over the weekend and have a compromise that we can all support on Tuesday, but I just want to note that it’s a big ‘if,’ Ramirez-Rosa said. . “We’re going to be working around the clock, and that’s what we owe the people of the city of Chicago, because we need meaningful and strong civilian oversight and police reform.”

Sawyer said city councilors had already received a first draft of the compromise plan, which he estimated to be 80 to 85 percent complete.

“What you’re going to look at is the model, or the flesh of the ordinance, and what we’re going to do this weekend is negotiate a few parts of that ordinance,” he said.

Sawyer said the goal is to have a final compromise that the aldermen will consider by Monday morning. The public safety committee is due to meet again Tuesday at 5 p.m. to consider any compromises that can be found, or to possibly vote on competing proposals already on the table. He said supporters wanted a final vote from the entire city council at its next meeting on Wednesday.

Some city councilors, however, were clearly frustrated by another delay in the push for civilian oversight of the DPC.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), one of the mayor’s harshest critics in city council, said he had yet to see the compromise draft and lambasted the plan to hold a committee vote on the plan less one day before a full city council. vote.

“We’re going to have a discussion about probably the most important civilian watch in the city’s history at 5 p.m. the day before our adoption, seems ridiculous to me.” Let me say this, categorically, whichever side you find yourself on. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, personally, ”he said.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), also virulent critic of the mayor, expressed doubts about a possible agreement.

“We’re working on the compromise on the compromise on the other compromise we had, is that what we’re saying?” ” he said.

Beale said Chicagoans were frustrated with “the escalating crime rate” and wanted the city to finally do something about a civilian police oversight plan.

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“The community is looking for some leadership and guidance, and it is looking for results. So we need to deliver results to people as quickly as possible because those numbers won’t change unless we do something drastic. ,” he said.


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