Competing versions of Civilian Police Oversight Board both stuck in Public Safety Committee – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – On Friday, efforts to create a new civilian oversight panel for the Chicago Police Department were stalled as a key city council committee refused to consider the latest proposal put forward by a coalition of grassroots organizations, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot withdrew her own competing offer from consideration.

The Public Safety Committee was due to vote Friday on the two competing proposals for civilian police oversight, but when Ald. Harry Osterman (48e), the main sponsor of the popular proposal, sought to introduce a new compromise that supporters had worked out, the committee voted 10-9 to decline to consider it.

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Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29e), who chairs the committee, berated supporters of the popular proposal, also known as Empowering Communities for Public Safety [ECPS] order – to wait 30 minutes before the meeting to propose their latest version.

When the committee refused to adopt the new version of the popular plan, Osterman asked to suspend the meeting until Monday afternoon, but when that vote also failed, Osterman and his co-sponsors demanded that the meeting be withdrawn. old version of their proposal for review, rather than facing a yes or no vote that would likely have failed.

“I am disappointed with the outcome of not accepting the substitute for the ordinance given the amount of work and the fact that we have waited four years to vote on this issue,” said Osterman.

The substitution order would have removed a provision calling for a binding referendum in 2022, asking voters to approve the creation of an 11-member board – with nine members elected and two appointed by the board itself – empowered to hire and fire the police commissioner, set CPD policy, negotiate contracts with unions representing officers, and set the department’s budget – removing those powers from the mayor and city council, which Lightfoot opposes vehemently.

Taliaferro said he had warned supporters of the popular proposal for weeks that there was not enough support in the city council to approve putting such a referendum on the ballot, and has said supporters should have come forward with a compromise earlier so aldermen were comfortable voting on it on Friday.

“I shouted it from the roof. I shouted it from the rooftop over and over again about this surrogate and withdrawing the referendum, because I felt it would have a negative impact on our police service. I felt it would have a negative impact on our city, ”said Taliaferro.

The President said he believed that if the latest version of the Basic Proposal had been offered earlier, his sponsors “would have the support you want for the ECPS Ordinance”.

“Nobody listened,” he added.

By abolishing the plan for such a referendum, the latest version of the ordinance would instead establish a civilian oversight commission empowered to define CPD policy; while leaving budgeting in the hands of the city council and the negotiation of union police contracts in the hands of the town hall.

The panel would be empowered to hire and fire the chief administrator of the Civilian Police Accountability Office, which handles investigations of police shootings and complaints of police misconduct.

Osterman said the compromise he and the co-sponsors of the ECPS ordinance reached “provides civilian oversight with appropriate checks and balances for the council, the mayor and the police.”

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Lightfoot came up with its own competing proposal for civilian oversight of the DPC, which would allow it to retain the power to hire and fire the Superintendent of Police, the Chief Administrator of the Civilian Bureau of Police Accountability, and members of the Police Council. from Chicago. She would also keep the final say on departmental policies and budgets.

The mayor has said repeatedly, because she “wears the jacket” for the crime in Chicago, she is essentially unwilling to cede control of the CPD to a civilian oversight board.

Lightfoot’s plan would create a temporary oversight committee, which she would appoint.

Three-member civilian “district councils” in each of the city’s 22 police districts would then nominate candidates for a seven-member civilian oversight commission. The mayor would then appoint the members of the commission from this list of candidates.

The commission would essentially take on the role of the Chicago Police Board in selecting a new superintendent when there is a vacant position; conduct a national research and provide the mayor with a list of finalists to choose from, subject to confirmation from city council.

However, 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.

While the mayor’s proposal was originally slated for a vote at Friday’s Public Safety Committee meeting, Taliaferro said the mayor’s office had asked to be removed from consideration.

In a statement, the mayor’s office said Lightfoot “remains firmly committed to passing a strong and effective civilian oversight ordinance.”

The mayor’s office also said that what happened in the public security committee indicated that the ECPS ordinance did not have the support it needed to pass.

“Last week, the mayor’s office convened stakeholders with the aim of relaunching a serious negotiation process to attempt to resolve outstanding concerns regarding the various proposals, and the mayor is committed to continuing this dialogue. The mayor remains optimistic about the possibility of civilian oversight. It is important, however, that the dialogue and tactics are unifying and not divide, ”a spokesperson for the mayor’s office wrote in an email.

It’s unclear what the next step will be for either proposal, but in a tweet after Friday’s meeting, Osterman said: “We will not be disheartened in our fight to pass this critical and long-awaited legislation. long time”.

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Supporters of the popular plan could still try to use a parliamentary maneuver to try to force a vote on the old version of their plan at the next city council plenary meeting on Wednesday, but it is not clear whether they would have the votes to adopt it, let alone survive a certain veto from the mayor.

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