The draft of a new Chicago Police Department use-of-force policy released yesterday would give officers more latitude in deciding when to fire their weapons, backing off an earlier proposal that the police union had said was too restrictive and could have put officers in danger, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The new draft backs off a suggestion in October that officers not use force unless “all other reasonable alternatives have been exhausted.” That prompted concern from the city’s main police union that it was “too restrictive and would endanger officers who need to protect themselves in various situations.”
The proposal now says officers are required to use de-escalation tactics only when it does not put their personal safety at risk. The police department is accepting comments on the new policy draft until March 16. The change in language raised the ire of several activist groups. Black Lives Matter, calling the police department “already murderous,” said it would voice its anger at the proposed change, as well as with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump. Sessions and Trump have sent signals they don’t support a court order to codify police reforms in Chicago after a scathing Justice Department report under Sessions’ predecessor, Loretta Lynch. About 200 people attended a rally and march last night. Protesters denounced the police department’s use-of-force policy, President Donald Trump and his executive orders, as well as inequities toward minority groups.