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Chicago Police Reforms Approved

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 04, 2019 6:00 AM

Al "Scarface" Capone. Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti. Louis "Little New York" Campagna.

These were the names of Chicago's famous crime bosses, but things have changed since then. Now names like Laquan McDonald and Jason Van Dyke make headlines there.

Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer, was convicted of murdering McDonald. That led to a plan for police reforms, which a federal judge has now approved.

Police Reforms

According to reports, public trust in Chicago police eroded over decades. The U.S. Department of Justice blamed excessive force, racial discrimination, and lack of accountability and training.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit against the city in 2017, and state and city officials negotiated terms of a consent decree. The process included community groups, police and the public.

Among the reforms, police must report every time they point a firearm at someone. Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. approved.

"The consent decree is not a panacea, nor is it a magic wand," the judge said. But he called it "an important first step" to repair the damaged relationship between the police and the people.

The 200-Page Plan

Dow had to manage hundreds of people trying to get into the courtroom at one point in the case. He heard statements from 76 of them.

He also reviewed a 200-page plan, which laid out a history of police abuse. It included the story of Van Dyke and McDonald, a black teenager.

Video showed McDonald, holding a knife, walking away from the white officer. Van Dyke shot him 16 times.

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