CHICAGO (CBS) — The independent monitor reviewing the Chicago Police Department’s progress on court-ordered reforms offered a mixed report card on Wednesday in its latest review.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, the reforms are mandated by a 2019 federal consent decree that requires the department make sweeping changes in how officers treat black and brown communities.READ MORE: 'I Just Wanted To See My Grandma': Suburban Chicago Teens Help Peers Get COVID Vaccine Appointments
Throughout the 812-page report, the independent monitor that oversees the CPD’s compliance with the decree found the department is still failing to in key areas, including how officers engage with children and the community at large.
While the monitor found the city met only 17 of the 43 deadlines in the latest reporting period, it found CPD reached some level of compliance with 154 requirements, and was out of compliance on 120 other obligations, the first time the city has met more requirements than it missed.
The previous progress report from the independent monitor last year found the city had missed more than 70% of its deadlines, so while the latest report still amounts to a failing grade, the city is meeting more deadlines than before.
The monitor also found CPD has made mixed progress on community policing efforts. The report said, while making some strides in this area, CPD failed to create plans for how to work with youth and children, and they cited CBS 2’s reporting on wrong raids as evidence.
“CPD did not complete or provide a plan for reviewing or revising its policies relating to youth and children. This failure has immediate and ongoing consequences; there are numerous allegations of officers traumatizing and pointing guns at children during ‘wrong raids’ at homes in Chicago,” the report states.
CBS 2’s Molina brought up the issue about policies related to children during 15 virtual minutes with Robert Boik, the CPD’s Executive Director of Constitutional Policing and Reform. Boik said, “When it comes to youth in particular, they’re a hard-to-reach group.”
Molina: “Using that example that is in this report of kids traumatized in situations like wrong raids, is anything being done policy-wise to improve and change that?”
Boik: “We do have a policy that recently went out on search warrants. That public comment period concluded. We’re actively reviewing that feedback now.”
Meantime, the report states while CPD has “made strides” to address the court-ordered requirements regarding use of force – including policies and training – it said the department “needs to pay attention to its use of force accountability systems.” While CPD has worked to identify patterns and trends related to use of force incidents, accountability still needs work.
“You know, one of the things the consent decree requires is ongoing dialogue on use of force, so we are still actively engaged with that very same work group,” Boik said.
The consent decree details the CPD’s failure to hold officers accountable for policy violations and misconduct.
Molina: “The report does detail a history of that not happening.”
Boik: “Well, we wouldn’t be in a consent decree if we had a history of that happening on a regular basis. That’s really what the whole consent decree is about, particularly when you talk about the accountability section. I think we are making improvements there.”
The same goes for gathering community input on reforms, one of the areas where CPD did not meet its compliance requirements.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Dry And Quiet Pattern
The report found CPD sought community input on use of force policies last year, including hosting a series of citywide “community conversations,” and seeking public comment on its website for 30 days beginning in late February 2020.
However, “CPD has not provided any evidence that it retained or reviewed any comments made during this initial 30-day public comment period, nor any evidence it considered making further revisions to the policies in response to any comments received.”
The report on the city’s compliance with the court-enforced consent decree also said CPD continues to struggle engaging with underrepresented communities most impacted by policing, saying “it is crucial for the community to have a voice in the reform of its police department.”
Independent Monitor Maggie Hickey’s report added the department continues to withhold materials needed for a “complete review,” but the monitor does add the city is becoming more transparent than earlier stages in the consent decree.
The latest reporting period covered a summer of civil unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the third superintendent in command since the monitor began their reviews.
In regards to the civil unrest sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, the monitor said it is reviewing whether protestors were warned and given adequate time to respond before Chicago police officers used force. That comes on the heels of a scathing report from Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office last month, which concluded police were unprepared for what happened during last summer’s civil unrest, and there was virtually no plan in place to handle it.
Meantime, CPD took credit for initiating 32 hours of “mandatory in-service training” for all officers, and “extensive community engagement” on various CPD policies, including use of force.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is committed to oversight.
“Even through a pandemic, the Police Department made up a lot of unfinished business from the previous two reports, and then really focused like a laser beam on making sure that they got a lot of things right: a higher percentage of meeting deadlines, but more importantly making real substantive progress. I’m not going to be satisfied until we believe that we have reached the end of a long journey, and we’re not there yet, but I’m very happy with the progress that the department has made,” Lightfoot said. “There is more work that needs to be done. No one’s saying that there isn’t, but I think we have – as a whole – made significant progress.”
The consent decree mandating sweeping changes at CPD is the result of a scathing Justice Department report which found systemic violations of civil rights by the department, noting officers regularly have used excessive force and discriminated against minorities.
The Justice Department’s report led the Illinois Attorney General’s office to file a lawsuit seeking court-enforced reforms at CPD. The AG’s office and City Hall negotiated a consent decree that spells out new rules for police training, discipline, oversight, and use of force.
The Justice Department probe of CPD was prompted largely by the release of dashboard camera video of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
The latest progress report from the independent monitor is the third of at least 10 semiannual reports Hickey’s team will produce over five years.
We are still waiting on public records requests we filed when the last report on consent decree came out – on new policy changes implemented back then. Molina asked the CPD on Wednesday why the department refuses to share those policies.MORE NEWS: Man Lost Everything As He Waited On Callback From Illinois Department Of Employment Security That Never Came
She was told to go back to their public records team with that question.