Chicago police officers would be encouraged to avoid arresting people over minor offenses and would need permission from supervisors to make arrests related to certain infractions, including resisting and even assaulting a police officer, under a proposal by activist groups involved in the litigation over potential reforms to the department.
On Tuesday morning, the groups — which include the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Black Lives Matter Chicago — released their first organized responses to the proposed court agreement Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan introduced last month.
The criticisms are an attempt to influence the draft of the consent decree before it is submitted to a federal judge, which is expected to happen by early September. The activist organizations, the Emanuel administration and Madigan’s office are still wrangling over details of a potential court order that would eventually serve as a judicially enforceable mandate governing how officers use force and how they will be held accountable, among other issues, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The groups proposed that the department be required to create a policy that encourages officers to use the “least intrusive response appropriate under the circumstances as reasonably understood by the officer at the time” in dealing with minor offenses. The suggested policy would encourage police to give warnings or divert people to “mediation or public health program(s)” rather than citing or locking them up.
For a number of offenses, a supervisor would need to approve the arrest “unless not practicable under the circumstances.” Those crimes range from gambling and prostitution offenses to obstructing, resisting or assaulting a police officer.