The Lawsuit Seeks to Push Momentum Towards a Meaningful Court-Supervised Consent Decree
Washington, D.C. – Today, Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Bonnie Allen, executive director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, issued the following statements after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the city of Chicago Tuesday asking a federal court to stop the city’s police department from engaging in what the suit calls a “pattern of using excessive force” and other discriminatory misconduct against Chicago’s African-American and Latino residents.
“We applaud Attorney General Lisa Madigan for taking action to address the need for long, overdue policing reform in Chicago. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has all but abandoned his role and responsibility for promoting constitutional policing practices in our country, expressing disdain towards consent decrees and court supervision to guide reform in this area. States Attorneys General must help fill the void while the Justice Department has abdicated its core responsibilities for enforcing the law in this area. African American, Latino, and other minority communities across Chicago deserve a police department that can ensure public safety while respecting the constitutional rights of all of its residents. We hope that Attorney General Madigan’s bold action results in a meaningful consent decree that will reform policies concerning use of force, promote accountability, include an independent monitor and require court supervision to ensure effective implementation.”
Bonnie Allen, executive director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
“Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights applauds Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s decision to file a lawsuit seeking federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department through a consent decree and an independent monitor. We are further encouraged by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s statement that he intends to partner with Attorney General Madigan to put an enforcement mechanism in place for the reforms recommended by the Department of Justice and the Mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force.
“This has been a great week for democracy and racial equity in Illinois. Today’s announcement by Attorney General Madigan and Mayor Emanuel comes on the heels of yesterday’s passage into law of automatic voter registration and the Illinois TRUST Act by Governor Bruce Rauner. Around the nation, events from Charlottesville to Phoenix remind us that when people of color are disenfranchised, violent force is given impunity and institutional racism thrives.
“There is much work ahead. Civil rights groups and community organizations must work closely with city and state officials to monitor the consent decree process, and ensure that individuals living in communities most impacted by police violence have a voice and a meaningful role in decision-making. Together, our city may begin to mend the broken relationship between our communities and the men and women charged with their safety.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee:
The Lawyers’ Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 54th year, the Lawyers’ Committee is continuing its quest “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.