The city of Chicago has agreed in talks on far-reaching police reforms to require officers to file paperwork each time they point a gun at someone, even if they don’t fire, city lawyers told a federal judge Thursday in a lawsuit brought by Illinois’ attorney general.
It resolves a last sticking point in a push for a plan to transform Chicago’s beleaguered 12,000-officer force, criticized in a damning Justice Department report last year for a history of racial bias and excessive use of force.
Word the city no longer opposes the idea came the week jury selection began in trial of white officer Jason Van Dyke, charged with murder for shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. Video of the shooting led to the Justice Department investigation.
Around half of police departments nationwide require that officers document when they draw or point guns as of 2013, university researchers Jay T. Jennings and Meghan E. Rubado found in a 2017 study.
Here’s the agreement on documenting pointing. pic.twitter.com/5meGEZQhhE— Patrick Smith (@pksmid) September 6, 2018
Attorney General Lisa Madigan, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s approval, sued Chicago last year to ensure any reform plan includes close court oversight. A more than 200-page draft in July didn’t include the gun-pointing provision, which Madigan supported.
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said Thursday that he would seek additional community feedback before deciding whether to approve the overall plan. He scheduled two days of hearings starting Oct. 24 for public comment.
Chicago’s police union has opposed requirements for officers to report each time they point their guns, saying it could cause them to hesitate to draw weapons when their lives are actually in danger.
The gun-pointing provision also calls for extensive reviews by police supervisors each time officers report pointing a gun.
Emanuel welcomed the agreement, saying Thursday: “Chicago is on the road to reform, and there will be no U turns.”