Chicago Public Safety Committee approves IPRA replacement after 6 hour meeting

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Details of a new police accountability board were hammered out at City Hall Tuesday. (WLS)

The Chicago Public Safety Committee approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's ordinance for a new police accountability board to replace the Independent Police Review Authority after a six-hour meeting at City Hall Tuesday.

The full City Council will vote on the ordinance Wednesday.

A series of City Hall protests took place before the meeting convened.

"What we're asking for is a democratically- elected body that will be able to not just discipline the police but also set police policies and determine how our communities are policed," said Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa of the 35th Ward.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he wants to replace IPRA, which will be dissolved following criticism and distrust of the agency tasked with investigating police misconduct, with the Civil Officer of Police Accountability, also known as COPA.

Emanuel first proposed the new agency in August.

The meeting was open to the public and some disruptions occurred, including a scuffle that broke out inside the City Hall chambers that forced some people to be escorted out.

Some want to see a civilian police accountability council to replace IPRA.

"Putting it in the hands of the people in terms of holding police accountable for the crimes that they commit because what has been going on in the city is that the mayor and the city council have been excusing and justifying police crimes, not dealing with it," said Frank Chapman.
Two Aldermen who previously proposed a new agency stood with several civil rights organizations to oppose Emanuel's plan.

"As a lawmaker my ordinance deserves a hearing and Chicago residents deserve the opportunity to see which of the three ordinances is the most comprehensive," said Alderman Leslie Hairston of the 5th Ward.

"It amazes me in society today that we would be trying to pass an ordinance over the objection of the NAACP, over the objection of Rainbow Push," said Alderman Jason Ervin of the 28th Ward.

The City's attorney testified before the committee that Emanuel's ordinance had been amended and altered to include community concerns and includes elements of the previous proposals for COPA.

The ordinance includes an increased budget for COPA and COPA would be allowed to hire attorneys outside of the city's corporation council. What's missing is citizen involvement.
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