CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s black aldermen on Thursday sought to pressure the new police union president and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to support changes they want to make in the next police contract.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), who chairs the City Council Black Caucus, said they congratulate Kevin Graham as the newly-elected president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the majority of officers on the force, but they want changes in the upcoming FOP contract.
For instance, they want to eliminate the requirement that civilians sign complaints of police misconduct, and that the complainant’s name be given to the accused officer.
“I’m encouraging Mr. Graham to reach out to us, or we’ll reach out to him, and see if we can get a meeting and talk about things that concern both of us. There may be some common ground. There’s going to be some disagreements, but we will never know that unless we get together and speak about them,” he said.
Graham was elected Wednesday by disgruntled cops, after running as a staunch opponent of federal oversight and efforts to impose stricter discipline on the force.
Sawyer said he and other African-American aldermen are willing to sit down with new FOP leadership.
“I’m extending that branch out to the new president of FOP,” he said. “Let’s get together, let’s talk about them, let’s fight about them, let’s do something, but we’re not going to back off of our position.”
The alderman said his colleagues want a voice in negotiations on the next police contract, and he predicted there would be enough votes to block contract approval if the changes aren’t made.
Thursday afternoon, mayoral spokesman Matt McGrath issued the following statement:
“We are committed to working with the City Council and maintaining regular communication throughout what has historically been a long process. The Mayor has been clear that we’re on the road to reform, and there’s no going back – and it’s clear the aldermen share in this commitment. These are important negotiations, and should not be negotiated in public or through the media.”
Members of the new FOP leadership met with reporters Thursday afternoon.
Graham would only say he’s setting up his team and looks forward to contract negotiations.
Martin Prieb, Graham’s second vice president, said the transition could take a week. He said issues relating to discipline will top the list in contract talks.