It is troubling that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ordering a review of all Justice Department agreements with cities about police conduct when only a few months ago, his predecessor issued a report which “determined the Chicago Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of unreasonable force—including deadly force—in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
The Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability is not surprised that the current federal government does not see the importance of supporting necessary reforms to repair the historically shattered relationship between police and residents, particularly those in black and brown communities. It is clear that we cannot count on the Justice Department to aid in fixing Chicago’s broken policing system, therefore, it is even more important that groups like GAPA and people across the city work together to push for much needed reform. It is in everyone’s best interest to do the right thing and move forward on the path of building legitimate police-community relationships, for the safety of all Chicagoans.
It is misguided for Attorney Sessions to take a broad view on police rights and a limited view on the rights of citizens, particularly citizens who are consistently marginalized, abused, and mistreated by law enforcement officials. If there is commitment from the federal government to provide support to local law enforcement agencies to effectively “do their job,” there must be equal commitment to rid local law enforcement agencies of officers who commit, assist and cover-up the irrefutable pattern and practice of misconduct against residents…especially in communities of color.
GAPA, is made up of a coalition of community organizations, based in more than 30 wards–including those touched most by violence and police misconduct—and is working with Chicago residents to create a community oversight board as an integral part of the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability.