Thursday, April 14, 2016

Will Chicago Televise Hearings on Civilian Police Accountability Agency?

#ChiPAC: Chicago Police Accountability Council:
Televise the hearings!
(Please retweet and share this message!)

The task force report is loud and clear: policing in Chicago is plagued by systemic racism, and one essential change is the creation of a "civilian police investigative agency."

#ChiPAC: It's time!
I told MY alderman we need an all-elected
Civilian Police Accountability Council for Chicago!
(Please retweet this message.)
Creation of such an agency will require legislation and that legislation should originate with City Council.  City Council has been sitting on its hands, but now it's time to take action. There are important questions to consider, and City Council should hold high profile public hearings, and those hearings should be televised.  (I'm envisioning something like the Watergate Hearings, which the whole country watched every day when I was a teenager.)

A key question is whether the new agency will be democratically elected. I think people need to have their eyes open when they agree to implement an elected agency or council to handle police accountability. I think hearings will help make it clear just how widespread the demand for an elected body is, how many qualified people there are who would be willing to step forward and participate, and how important it is to have full community support and involvement in order to begin to reverse the accumulated factors that add up to institutionalized racism.

READ: "How Chicago's 'Fraternal Order of Propaganda' shapes
the story of fatal police shootings"
in the Chicago Reader.
Another key question is the powers of the new agency: will it have the power to hire and fire? What processes will it have to follow? Hearings will be an excellent opportunity to hear from representatives of the police union -- and to ask them question -- and reveal to the public the wall of resistance that exists against due process in police misconduct cases.

Do you have any doubt that this is a job for City Council? Rahm Emanuel's statement in connection with this story makes it clearer than ever that he just doesn't get it: "I don’t really think you need a task force to know that we have racism in America, we have racism in Illinois, or that there’s racism that exists in the city of Chicago and obviously could be in our department." Chicago City Council: do YOU get it?

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