Frustrated residents sound off at 1st police accountability forum

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The room was half empty, but Chicago's new Police Accountability Task Force got an earful Tuesday night. (WLS)

The Chicago Police Accountability Task Force held the first of a series of forums to hear from the community Tuesday night. The group was formed in response to public outcries on the deadly police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Frustrated residents offered dozens of suggestions, including: track and punish officers accused of wrongdoing, fire cops who lie, and diversify the department.

"Do we really care about our city? Do we want liars on the police force? You all got work to do," an attendee said.

The room was half empty, but Chicago's new Police Accountability Task Force got an earful Tuesday night. Many pointed directly to the video of police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times.

"If Jason Van Dyke went to jail that would scare some of these policeman from just gunning our innocent grandkids down," another attendee said.

"At the heart of this is racism and racist officers and their behavior," attendee Pamela Hurt said.

A former Chicago police officer told the task force race matters, saying: "What you need is people who look like you to work in your community."

"Only thing that gives us some level of hope is the DOJ coming to town to investigate and hopefully expand their investigation beyond the department," said Karl Brinson, West Side NAACP president.

A former prosecutor and former governor of Massachusetts - who hails from Chicago - promised that this time, the change will be real.

"I heard someone say after the McDonald video was released that in some ways, the video was what it took to get the folks downtown to believe what folks on the South and West sides have been saying all along," said Deval Patrick, Police Accountability Task Force.

"We recognize this is an incredibly important historic moment for us to do lasting change and good not only for the department but also for those communities who really need the police to do their job the right way," said Lori Lightfoot, Police Accountability Task Force.

There's been some talk in police circles that perhaps Mayor Emanuel was positioning Lightfoot for the superintendent's job. On Tuesday night, she said: "That's crazy talk. No how, no way."

The task force plans to make recommendations for change within the Chicago Police Department by March 31.

Related Topics:
chicago police departmentlaquan mcdonald
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