Well, this will fail within 6 month
Chicago gets new agency to investigate police shootings
Aamer Madhani , USA TODAY
CHICAGO – The city council here voted on Wednesday to create a new agency to investigate police shootings and major misconduct allegations, a move that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his allies say is critical to bolstering trust of the embattled Chicago Police Department.
The newly created investigative agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), will replace the Independent Police Review Authority. The much-maligned IPRA had been criticized for moving too slow slowly in its investigations and rarely finding wrongdoing by the Chicago cops it investigated.
The ordinance also creates a deputy inspector general’s post to monitor the police department and the oversight system.
The move comes as the city’s police department is in the midst of a Justice Department civil rights investigation launched in December following the court-ordered release of a video that showed a white police officer shoot a black teen 16 times on a city street. The video of the death of Laquan McDonald, 17, set off weeks of protests in the city and put pressure on Emanuel to strengthen oversight of the police department.
“I would consider this the beginning of a journey, not the end,” Emanuel said after the council voted 39-to-8 in favor of the ordinance. “It’s an important step forward on the improvements we all seek.”
The agency is guaranteed minimum funding that is equal to 1% of the police department’s budget excluding grants. COPA is tasked with reviewing all police shootings and allegations of major misconduct by officers, such as verbal abuse, excessive force and physical or psychological coercion.
Some members of the city council were pushing for an alternative ordinance that would have provided more funding for the new agency and deputy inspector general as well as setting out the details for establishing a separate community board that would be tasked with picking the head of COPA. Critics also took aim at a provision in the ordinance that calls for COPA to hire its attorneys from five law firms previously approved by the city’s law department.
Protesters briefly delayed Wednesday's vote, chanting, "Hold the vote," before being ushered out of the chamber.
"This was our chance to get it right the first time…before the U.S. Department of Justice tells us to start over again,” said Alderman Leslie Hariston, who was a co-sponsor of an alternative ordinance. “Such an edict will cost time and precious month. Obviously, Chicago is not read for reform."
The city’s corporation counsel, Steve Patton, said the launch of the new agency would occur in the coming months.
Sharon Fairley, who was appointed to head IPRA following the release of the McDonald video, is expected to serve as an interim director of the new agency.