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Chicago Police, Justice Department To Begin Talks On Reforms Next Week

By Heather Cherone | February 14, 2017 6:06pm
 'We’re on the road to reform,
'We’re on the road to reform," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "There’s no U-turn here."
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

CHICAGO — Work will start in earnest next week on how to reform the Chicago Police Department after federal investigators found that officers routinely used excessive force against minorities and tolerated "racially discriminatory conduct" by officers.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that officials from the U.S. Justice Department will arrive in Chicago next week to begin negotiating a legally binding agreement — known as a consent decree — to ensure that reforms are implemented under the authority of a federal judge.

Emanuel's remarks came at an event to tout the decision by exp, a design and consulting firm, to move its headquarters from Canada to 205 N. Michigan Ave.

A 161-page report released Jan. 13 concluded that racially discriminatory conduct is tolerated by Police Department leaders and that it is so prevalent that many residents interviewed by federal officials "reported treatment so demeaning they felt dehumanized."


The mayor has repeatedly pledged to implement the reforms suggested by the Justice Department.

'We’re on the road to reform," Emanuel said. "There’s no U-turn here."

The mayor, however, avoided answering questions from two reporters about whether he discussed efforts to hammer out a consent decree when he met Monday with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said Sessions told him during a meeting before his confirmation hearing that he would not commit to implementing any reforms recommended by the report conducted by the Justice Department under President Barack Obama.

In 2008, Sessions called consent decrees "dangerous" and said they "constitute an end run around the democratic process."