The Latest: Chicago says reforms can work without courts
Posted June 14
CHICAGO — The Latest on community groups in Chicago suing the city to ensure court oversight of police reforms (all times local):
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's chief lawyer says he agrees court oversight is the best way to ensure police reforms are done right but that the Trump administration backed away from that approach.
Edward Siskel spoke to reporters Wednesday after community groups filed a federal lawsuit to force the city to implement reforms under judicial supervision. The lawsuit argues it's the only way reforms will get done.
Siskel defended a draft agreement of the reforms that the mayor's office says it negotiated last month with the U.S. Department of Justice. The draft outlines reforms that won't be done in the form of a court-enforced consent decree.
Siskel says he wishes the Justice Department would have "followed through with their commitment to a consent decree" that was made in the last days of the Obama administration. Still, he says, the draft agreement will work.
Several community groups have sued the city of Chicago to bypass or even scuttle a draft deal between Chicago and the Justice Department that seeks to reform the nation's second largest police force without federal court oversight.
The filing Wednesday in Chicago federal court argues that any Chicago Police Department overhaul in the wake of a damning civil rights report can't work without the intense scrutiny of a court-appointed monitor answerable to a judge.
The lawsuit says that "absent federal court supervision, nothing will improve." Plaintiff attorneys are holding a news conference later Wednesday.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration says the Justice Department is reviewing a draft police-reform deal that calls for a monitor, though not a court-selected one.
A Justice Department report in January found deep-rooted problems with Chicago police.