CHICAGO (CBS) — The long-anticipated Chicago Police consent decree is expected within days.
The consent decree is a court agreement that will govern reforms in the Chicago Police Department, including everything from use of force and training, to officer accountability.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports in New Orleans, a consent decree implemented five years ago had a dramatic effect on brutality complaints.
An oversight report last year said, “The monitoring team did not locate any litigation for the past two years, alleging excessive use of force.”
A study of 23 departments under consent decrees, including New Orleans, found lawsuits dropped dramatically – from 23 to 36% each year, in each city.
Sheila Bedi, a professor at Northwestern Law School, is part of the consent decree negotiations. She says she expects a similar result in Chicago.
“The city of Chicago should expect to pay out far less in police misconduct litigation because police officers will be forced to be in compliance with the constitution,” Bedi stated.
From 2004 to 2016, Chicago taxpayers shelled out $662 million in police settlements and the payments keep coming.
Last year, a record settlement of $44.7 million by a federal jury, which found Officer Patrick Kelly shot Michael La Porta, but told investigators it was suicide.
“It will provide accountability, it will provide oversight, it is a critically important tool,” Bedi said, referring to the consent decree.
A New Orleans report also noted continued problems with illegal stops and searches.
“Since compliance requires a significant culture change from the department’s historic practices, this item necessarily takes longer to accomplish,” the report stated.
“It’s going to take a long time to fix what’s wrong with the Chicago Police Department,” said Bedi.
The Chicago consent decree is being negotiated between the city and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, under the watch of Federal Court Judge Robert Dow.
The deadline for the draft agreement is September 1, followed by a public hearing before Judge Dow decides whether to approve the consent decree.