L’lerrét Ailith, Communications Manager
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report with findings from a year-long investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD), but no findings come as a surprise to the many Black and Brown Chicagoans who live with the daily consequences of CPD’s actions. But the DOJ’s findings do point to a need for real police accountability, divestment from police, and investment in the communities most affected by police misconduct.
The DOJ reported that CPD not only has a long history of unconstitutional patterns of use of force, but that current accountability measures are not enough. Police union contracts allow these unjust practices to continue unchecked and it’s time for the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to change that. “We can’t trust the DOJ under the incoming Trump administration to monitor any changes in the CPD,” says Janaé Bonsu, National Public Policy Chair of BYP100. “Police accountability should start with the Chicago City Council and Mayor making sure that this year’s FOP contract isn’t approved without changes that stop the city from letting cops get away with murder, brutality, and harassment.” The current contract makes it too easy for officers to lie, too hard for them to be investigated, and too hard for people to complain. It also doesn’t hold officers who have been found guilty of misconduct financially responsible, and Chicagoans have paid over $210 million dollars in settlement money over four years alone. Officers should be required to carry liability insurance for misconduct claims, and other provisions in the contract that allow officers to disregard Black lives must be eliminated.
But making Chicago safe for all residents must go beyond accountability after police misconduct has already happened. More police, and even more training does not make us safer. The DOJ report is just more evidence that the City of Chicago needs to stop rewarding CPD with salary increases and more hiring. As Maxx Boykin, Organizing Co-Chair of BYP100 Chicago says, “The best solution I see out of this report is to reallocate CPD funds in order to support the communities most impacted by their terror.” This means less cops, more social services, better public schools, and more affordable housing in Black communities. In the face of DOJ’s findings, our commitment and demand to #StopTheCops and #FundBlackFutures remains unchanged.