Lightfoot to present its version of civilian police oversight on Thursday, ally says


Mayor Lori Lightfoot will present his own civilian police oversight plan on Thursday, a plan almost certainly devoid of the policy-making, budgeting, hiring and firing powers coveted by police reform advocates.

After months of broken promises, Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), chairman of the city council’s public safety committee, said “the mayor’s team” told him “I should have something on hand on Thursday”.

Taliaferro said he had not seen or been told about the mayor’s version and had no idea how it would be read.

But there is no doubt that Lightfoot is determined to retain the final say on disputes over police policy as well as the power to determine the budget of the Chicago Police Department and to hire and fire the Police Superintendent, Chief of COPA and the president of the police council.

“She was concerned that she would not be able to influence policy-making with respect to policies that affect police officers. The rest of the ordinances basically left her out of the process. And any mayor would be somewhat careful not to be able to hire or fire a superintendent, a chief administrator. [of COPA] and members of the Police Commission. Our mayor is also worried about this, ”said Taliaferro.

“The mayor will have to wear the hat, no matter who appoints him. As city manager, every mayor should bear the blame for what’s wrong and what’s right with our police department. So that would be this mayor’s claim – and mine too – that they should be involved in the process. “

Ald. Chris Taliaferro believes the mayor should retain more power over the Chicago Police Department than a proposed civilian oversight plan would provide. The mayor is expected to unveil his own plan on Thursday.
Sun-Times file

A former Chicago police officer, Taliaferro categorically denied that the mayor’s version would amount to “draining” the powers of a civilian oversight committee. On the contrary, he depicts it as preserving the separation of powers.

“We cannot converge all the powers of municipal government on a single authority. Because then the fight or the comments on the road will be, “Why does this organization have so much power? Why is this power not dispersed? Where are the checks and balances? Said Taliaferro.

“If you give the power to hire, the power to fire, the power to create a budget, the power to do everything in one organization, where are the checks and balances? ”

Earlier this week, the black city council caucus joined with Hispanic and Progressive caucuses in approving a civilian police oversight plan summarily rejected by Lightfoot.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chair of the Black Caucus, said then aldermen were tired of waiting for Lightfoot to honor a campaign pledge to provide civilian police oversight – with the power to hire and fire the superintendent. police force and to be the final arbiter of policy. disputes – during his first 100 days in office.

“We definitely need some level of civilian oversight and accountability in the police service on top of what we have today. This is what our residents have asked for. … It’s an ordinance that ensures that, ”Ervin told The Sun-Times.

“If the mayor sees something different, she has to put something on the table. To date, nothing has been put on the table. … We, as city council, have been waiting for this for several months. She certainly has the opportunity to put something on the table to have a conversation. But you cannot negotiate against yourself.

The compromise approved by the three major caucuses would ask Chicago voters in the 2022 primary to approve a binding referendum allowing a civilian police oversight board to hire and fire the police superintendent, negotiate police contracts and to define the budget of the CPD.

Lightfoot would lose the power to hire and fire the Police Commissioner. Its legal department and hand-picked negotiators would lose the power to negotiate police contracts.

And Lightfoot and the aldermen would lose their power to budget the DPC. This power would be held by a civilian oversight commission of 11 members – nine elected, two appointed by the mayor.

Even if voters reject the binding referendum, the 11-member commission would have the final say in disputes over police policy, unless two-thirds of the council decides otherwise. The commission would also be empowered to take a vote of no confidence in the superintendent and hire and fire the chief administrator of the Civilian Police Accountability Office.

Lightfoot has said she “wears the jacket” for the Chicago violence and is not about to “outsource” control of the Chicago Police Department to a civilian police oversight board.

Support for this compromise from three major caucuses could set the stage for Lightfoot’s first defeat on city council.

But, Taliaferro said: “If the mayor comes up with an ordinance, that would certainly put everything else on hold. Remember that most of our caucuses do not vote as a block every time a vote is taken. Even if the caucus can support it, you may not get each member’s individual vote. ”


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