Imagined Racism Again
- African-American aldermen on Wednesday called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove clauses in the city's police contract that they contend foster racist misconduct in the Chicago Police Department, an assertion the police union swiftly rejected.
The City Council Black Caucus' demands come as the mayor negotiates a new police contract, talks that have been handled by the administration and union representatives, and not aldermen.
The "contract has been serving and protecting the culture of cultural racism and violence in our Police Department for far too long," said South Side Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, the group's chairman. "Now is our chance to change this."
- Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, noted that aldermen signed off on the current police contract.
"This is the same rhetoric we've been listening to ever since the anti-police movement began, and we're expecting these type of statements to be coming out of the chambers of the City Council," Angelo said. "When we ratified our contract in October of 2014, we got a standing ovation (from aldermen) and we went back in November of 2015, they wanted my head on a stick, and we did absolutely nothing. We were thrown under the bus. They are deflecting and blaming the FOP, but this is the same populace that has ratified every agreement the union has had with the city since 1981."
- There are 18 black aldermen on the 50-member council, but a number are close allies of the mayor, so it's unclear if they would vote against a contract that did not include the provisions Sawyer outlined. Ald. Jason Ervin, 28th, said would not vote in favor of any police contract that does not include the changes.
- The recommendations call for eliminating the requirement for a sworn affidavit by a citizen before a complaint can go forward, removal of a restriction on investigating anonymous complaints, and deleting the requirement that the name and address of a complainant be disclosed to the officer against whom it's filed.
Changing the requirement for a sworn statement involves more than just negotiating a deal with the FOP because the provision also is enshrined in state law. And getting the FOP to give that up without something significant in exchange will be a tall order.
Other recommended changes included deleting the provision that gives officers 24 hours before they are required to give a statement after shooting somebody and another giving officers a chance to change their statements after seeing video of the incident.
- "They found that racism was rampant in our Police Department, and so was misconduct," said Bryce Colquitt of the Workers Center for Racial Justice, which is part of the coalition seeking the changes. "The thing is the contract is being negotiated right now. We cannot miss our moment to make real change."
- The fact that you have an allegation doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty of something. That’s why it’s investigated. So, because they are not sustained allegations, that should should not hold him back. That’s why you have due process.
Labels: department issues