Emanuel Vows Chicago Police Reform, Feds or Not

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he’s determined to implement police reforms outlined by the U.S. Justice Department whether or not President-elect Donald Trump and Attorney General-designee Jeff Sessions pursue a consent decree mandating changes, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Trump campaigned on a promise to take the handcuffs off rank-and-file police officers. Sessions, a U.S. senator from Alabama, is on the record as opposing consent decrees. Still, Emanuel said he’s not about to take a wait-and-see approach. “From the moment I put the task force [on police accountability] together, I have made the changes and continue to make changes in training, technology and transparency that I think are important to giving our officers the certainty they need to do what’s important,” the mayor said yesterday.

Emanuel argued that “one of the mistakes that’s been made” — he didn’t say by whom — was in portraying the federal investigation as a “threat” to rank-and-file officers. They were in a defensive crouch even before a judge ordered the city to release the video of now-indicted police officer Jason Van Dyke pumping 16 rounds into the body of black teenager Laquan McDonald. “It’s not supposed to be a threat to your job security. It’s supposed to enhance your ability to do your job in providing security in Chicago,” the mayor said. “Training is essential for that. Technology is essential for that. Transparency is essential for that. So, our work is not done.” The Emanuel administration is bracing for next week’s release of a “findings letter” stemming from the Justice Department’s year-long civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department.

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