Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new community-led task force to review the Chicago Police Department’s use of force policy — the directives that outline when an officer should use or avoid using a weapon during an arrest.
The task force will be made up of 20 members, including residents, students, experts, lawyers, advocates and elected officials. The task force will work with members from CPD’s Research and Development and Training divisions, Lightfoot said Monday.
Among those named are Craig Futterman, an expert on police misconduct at the University of Chicago; Ald. Chris Taliaferro, the chairman of the city council’s Public Safety Committee; and Mark Clements with the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression (CPAC), the group advocating for civilian oversight of the Police Department. Members from the Community Renewal Society, Communities United and local chapters of the NAACP are also listed. Those organizations have spent years advocating for police reform at City Hall.
After an eight week review process, the Use of Force Working Group will report their findings and new policy proposals to CPD brass who’ve been selected to oversee the CPD Executive Steering Committee (ESC). This includes Superintendent David Brown, First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio and Deputy Superintendent of Constitutional Policing Barbara West.
Lightfoot said these steps will be part of other initiatives recently announced, like bringing the community into the police academy as teachers and providing district training on neighborhood history from the community’s own perspective, so that officers who work in a particular district have cultural literacy about the areas they police. “We need to make all of these things real and meaningful and substantive and we will,” Lightfoot said Monday.
Though the announcement is in response to the local and national protests against police brutality, the task force follows recent policy updates to the guidelines already implemented by the department. Less than four months ago, the Police Department’s use of force guidelines were updated to include language confirming the sanctity of life and the importance of de-escalation.
The federal consent decree also requires the city to provide some way for the public to weigh in annually on the policy. Under the court-ordered agreement, the city must also release a biannual review of how those policies are incorporated, including a requirement that the department observe and report trends and practices by officers. The federal monitor has already requested a probe into the department’s use of force during the recent string of protests and has given the city poor marks as it continuously fails to meet court-ordered benchmarks for reform.
Claudia Morell covers city politics for WBEZ. Follow at @claudiamorell