2nd police accountability hearing faces more criticism

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A second public meeting on forming a new board to oversee the Chicago Police Department was met with more criticism Thursday. (WLS)

As people in Chicago demand changes in how officers are held accountable, a second public meeting on forming a new board to oversee the Chicago Police Department was met with more criticism Thursday.

With most of their colleagues absent, aldermen heard more criticism about their mid-morning weekday public hearings.

"You're not going to have any serious public hearing about this matter at this time of day," said Frank Chapman with the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. "What you're doing right now is pointless."

"That doesn't matter, sir. If it's only one somebody sitting here. This process is legitimate," responded Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward).

Ald. Austin said she felt insulted by Police Board Chairman Lori Lightfoot, who led the mayor's Task Force on Police Accountability, when Lightfoot called the council hearings a "farce" because of a lack of public engagement.

"Now to say that what we're doing is a farces, she can go straight to Hades and I ain't talking about the country," Austin said.

But Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared to accept the growing likelihood that police accountability reform will take more public input and more time.

"We want a reform of the oversight and accountability so that it gives certainty to the residents and certainty to the police department," Emanuel said.

At City Hall, the Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo told aldermen that whatever civilian-controlled police accountability process the city develops must include a role for trained law enforcement officers.

"To think that someone who watches from a distance, from the outside, can do it or dictate how it's done is dangerous," said Angelo.

But Chapman wants civilians to have the final say in police abuse cases.

"We're saying that the community should have the decisive voice. We pay the cost. We should be the boss," he said.

The joint council committee that held the two hearings this week have promised four additional sessions to get public input, which will reportedly be held in yet-to-be selected neighborhoods and some, if not all, of them in the evening hours.
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politicschicago police departmentChicago City Hallrahm emanuelchicago city councilChicago - Loop
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