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Elected Board Should Oversee Police Department, Alderman Says

By Ted Cox | July 19, 2016 12:33pm
 Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa wants to create a Civilian Police Accountability Council.
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa wants to create a Civilian Police Accountability Council.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — A freshman alderman is proposing the creation of an elected board to oversee the Police Department.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) said he will formally propose on Wednesday the creation of a Civilian Police Accountability Council with 22 members — one elected from within the boundaries of each Chicago Police district.

The council would replace the Independent Police Review Authority and the Police Board and be charged with appointing the superintendent, rewriting police rules, submitting the Department budget, negotiating union contracts and reviewing Law Department police settlements.

Ramirez-Rosa said the council would make sure that those "policing our police are held accountable."

 Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression said his plan for citizen control of the police goes back to the late '60s.
Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression said his plan for citizen control of the police goes back to the late '60s.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

"It puts the people in charge of the police," he said.

Frank Chapman, of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, joined Ramirez-Roas at a City Hall news conference Tuesday to announce the proposal. He said he proposed community control of the Police Department decades ago.

"It started with the Black Panther Party in the late '60s," he said. "Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were the first martyrs of this campaign."

Hampton and Clark were killed in their West Side apartment in an overnight police raid in 1969. Chapman went on to cite Rekia Boyd and Laquan McDonald as fellow victims of police violence.

The Rev. Catherine Brown said residents "no longer want fake accountability for police."

"We have to stop these rallies and protests and put in place real rules and regulations," she said.

Ramirez-Rosa said he preferred the Civilian Police Accountability Council proposal over similar reforms suggested by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) because it places the Police Department under more democratic control.

In addition to Hairston's proposal, however, the City Council is also considering a reform package being put together by Aldermen Carrie Austin (34th) and Ariel Reboyras (30th). Both plan a series of community meetings in the coming weeks.

"This should have the same hearings as the other provisions brought forth by my colleagues," Ramirez-Rosa said. He signaled he would welcome a compromise on competing plans.

He said he would formally submit the plan at Wednesday's City Council meeting and claimed the support of eight other aldermen: Joe Moreno (1st), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), Toni Foulkes (16th), Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Emma Mitts (37th) and Ameya Pawar (47th).

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