Community Proposes Civilian Oversight of Chicago Police

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By Khrystyna Stetsiv 

Edgewater Ald. Harry Osterman (48th Ward)  led the charge create a civilian commission that oversees police at a City Hall meeting on March 13. 

Osterman worked with the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward) to draft the proposal. 

“People wanted more community input as opposed to mayoral control,” Sawyer told the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to the Sun-Times, the proposed seven-member elected district council would be empowered to investigate police wrongdoing, select a chief of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) and conduct annual reviews of the Chicago’s police superintendent, the COPA chief, and the Police Board president. All three could be fired for cause.

The commission would aim to establish police policy and improve relations between the community and police.

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Police Board President Lori Lightfoot told the Sun-Times that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will face a furious political backlash if he refuses to empower the civilian oversight board or attempts to stall a City Council vote.

“The mayor endorsed this process two years ago….Any effort to stall it and not let it see the light of day…will be met with extreme, extreme hostility,” Lightfoot told the Sun-Times.

According to ABC 7 Chicago, Emanuel acknowledged GAPA’s hard work and pointed out recent police reforms yet did not say whether he supports the proposed civilian commission.

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