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August 29, 2017

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF CHICAGO TO OBTAIN CONSENT DECREE FOR POLICE REFORM

Madigan Seeks Court-Enforceable Consent Decree Overseen by Federal Judge to Obtain Lasting Police Reform in Response to Justice Department Investigation into Chicago Police Department

Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to announce a lawsuit to seek an enforceable consent decree to implement the numerous reforms outlined by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in its investigation of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). In light of the new DOJ administration’s preference not to seek a consent decree in Chicago, Madigan will seek reforms that provide the support police officers need to implement safe and constitutional policing practices and rebuild trust between community residents and police.

Madigan filed the lawsuit earlier today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois based on the findings of the Justice Department’s investigation that revealed a pattern of civil rights violations caused by systemic deficiencies within CPD. The DOJ report cited a number of problems, including the unconstitutional use of deadly and excessive force by officers; inadequate training on appropriate tactics, lack of supervision; a failure to adequately investigate officer misconduct and discipline officers and inadequate wellness and counseling programs to support officers. In its report, DOJ recommended reforms needed to address these problems, specifically calling for a court-enforceable consent decree with an independent monitor to assess the progress of reform and the oversight of a federal judge.

Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson joined Madigan today and expressed the city’s commitment to work with Madigan’s office to negotiate an enforceable consent decree.

“The only way to achieve real, lasting reform in Chicago and repair the broken trust between the communities and police is through an enforceable consent decree that addresses the problems identified in the Justice Department report,” Madigan said. “The city is facing serious problems that have endangered the lives of city residents as well as the police officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities. Together, we will work to provide the people of Chicago with a city and a police department that respects their rights, protects their safety, and provides support and resources to the brave officers who take on these responsibilities.”

"The reforms we have made in recent years, and those that lie ahead, will help us ensure Chicago has the most professional, proactive police department possible," said Mayor Emanuel. "I am proud that Illinois’ Attorney General is standing up – for our city and our officers – where the Trump Justice Department fell flat."

Madigan’s lawsuit is the first step to obtain a consent decree. Madigan will seek input from the community and police officers in negotiating the terms of the consent decree. Madigan’s office will be assisted by lead expert Ron Davis and by Robins Kaplan, a national law firm retained on a pro bono basis that has a long history of community work on behalf of a wide range of clients.

Davis has a distinguished career in law enforcement. He most recently served as the director of DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) from 2013 to 2017. The COPS Office is responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.

In 2014, Davis was appointed to serve as the Executive Director of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (Task Force). President Obama charged him and the Task Force with developing recommendations to improve community trust in the police while enhancing public safety. The final report of the Task Force now serves as a foundational document in American policing.

Davis has served on two federal monitoring teams with oversight of police reform agreements or consent decrees between the DOJ and the Washington, D.C. and Detroit police departments and as a policing expert on several DOJ pattern and practice investigations. He served over eight years as Chief of Police of East Palo Alto (CA) and 20 years with the Oakland (CA) Police Department. He was recognized for his innovative community policing efforts and for working collaboratively with the community to dramatically reduce crime and violence in a city once named as the murder capital of the United States.

Attorney General Madigan encourages community members and members of law enforcement with feedback regarding the Chicago Police Department and police reform to contact her Civil Rights Bureau at 1-833-243-1498 or policereform@atg.state.il.us.

Handling the case for Madigan’s office is Chief Deputy Attorney General Brent Stratton, Assistant Chief Deputy Gary Caplan, Public Interest Division Chief Cara Hendrickson, Civil Rights Bureau Chief Karyn Bass Ehler, and Public Interest Counsel Matthew Martin, Assistant Attorneys General Shareese Pryor, Cynthia Flores, Leigh Richie and Christopher Wells.

City of Chicago lawsuit PDF Document

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