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Black Lives Matter & Others File Suit To Force Court Oversight Of 'Racist' Police Dep.

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 14, 2017 5:40PM

Getty Images / Photo: Scott Olson

Advocates have made it clear that any attempt to enforce police reforms in Chicago without oversight from a federal court would not cut it. Now, a group of civil rights organizations, including Black Lives Matter, have filed a federal lawsuit in hopes of securing that court monitoring.

“The City of Chicago has proven time and time again that it is incapable of ending its own regime of terror, brutality and discriminatory policing,” the lawsuit states. “It is clear that federal court intervention is essential to end the historical and ongoing pattern and practice of excessive force by police officers in Chicago."

The lawsuit reportedly mentions the excessive force of the 1968 Democratic convention riot, the targeted killing of Black Panther Fred Hampton on the Near West Side and the legacy of torture under former police commander Jon Burge—as well as more recent violations—as emblematic of patterns of scandal within the Chicago Police Department.

The suit was filed by six individuals and several groups, including Blocks Together, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Justice for Families, Network 49, Women's All Points Bulletin and 411 Movement for Pierre Loury—a group that was founded in response to the fatal shooting of the teen by Chicago police.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had previously advocated for a court-enforced consent decree to impose reform recommendations made by the Obama-era Department of Justice. But he pulled away from that commitment as Attorney General Jeff Sessions made his skepticism of consent decrees clear. Sessions ordered a wide-ranging review of federal agreements back in April, making the possibility that the Department of Justice would enter into such a decree slim at best. But the mayor did still have the option of partnering with reformist groups to set up court-oversight enforcement.

The Department of Justice released its recommendations for reform after a yearlong investigation of the Chicago Police Department, which came in the wake of the the Laquan McDonald shooting video's release. The damning conclusions found that that CPD had engaged in a pattern or practice of using force—including use of deadly force—that violated the Fourth Amendment.