We’re just a few weeks away from Chicago’s municipal elections, when city residents will vote for mayor and members of the City Council.
Polls show that crime and policing is among the top concerns for Chicagoans right now.
Four years ago, current mayor Lori Lightfoot won the mayoral race in part because of her past experience. As former president of the Chicago Police Board and chair of the Police Accountability Task Force, she excited those seeking police and criminal justice reform.
But in May of 2020, protests and looting broke out in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police in Minneapolis. And the mayor’s response to the actions of some members of the Chicago Police Department during that unrest caught the attention of many, including one listener who asked: How accountable is any Chicago mayor for police misconduct?
In other words, does the mayor actually have the power to make sure the accountability process works, and that there are consequences for officers who break the rules?
This week, we’re revisiting a story from the fall of 2020 when WBEZ criminal justice reporter Patrick Smith sat down with us to help answer that question.
Plus, the police accountability system is on the verge of changing. In this month’s municipal elections, Chicagoans will vote for the first time to elect citizens councils. These three-person councils are intended to give communities more power over policing in their own neighborhoods. Find out what’s in store in this recent interview from Reset, in which host Sasha-Ann Simons talks with Anthony Driver, current president of the Community Council for Public Safety and Accountability.
Patrick Smith is a reporter on WBEZ’s Criminal Justice Desk. Follow him @pksmid. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.