The Chicago Police Department is accepting five proposed changes to its use of force policies of 155 recommended by a community group that met weekly for months to help update the department’s rules on when and how officers can shoot their guns, deploy tasers or use their batons, WBEZ reports. The use-of-force working group consisted of 34 members, including activists, civil rights leaders and politicians. It was part of an effort by the police department to increase community participation in policymaking, as required by a court-enforced police reform plan. Working group members call the process a “sham.” Member Amika Tendaji, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago, called the department’s adoption of just five recommendations, “ridiculous.”
Tendaji said, “The spirit of what the working group tried to come up with is that police should have a stronger duty than the average Chicagoan to not hurt people, to not shoot people and to not beat people.” Tendaji said the five recommendations that were accepted do not “at all” live up to that spirit. The changes police accepted are largely technical, focusing on the language used in the policy. The steering committee agreed to change the word “subject” to “person.” Deputy Police Chief Ernest Cato said, “You’re taking the word subject out and you’re making it a person. We’re now humanizing that individual, who you’re encountering … so I think that’s huge,” said Cato. Tendaji said some rejected changes focused on not allowing officers to carry weapons in certain situations or restricting when officers were allowed to draw their guns. University of Chicago Law Prof. Craig Futterman, a working group member, said the department rejected recommendations that the city ban chokeholds, limit when tasers can be used and require that all force be used only as a tactic of last resort.