United States — In Minneapolis, officials are expected to propose real reforms as the city prepares to negotiate a federal consent order that would install an independent monitor of its problematic police force. To verify that law enforcement is following constitutional policing, they need only look to the dozen cities and towns that have issued carefully crafted court orders over the past decade.
While proponents argue that the agreements are essential because they guarantee federal oversight, the reality is that they are contentious, time-consuming and costly for communities. In Baltimore, where a federal consent decree went into effect in 2017, efforts have been hampered by a lack of police officers and a delayed rollout of new technology.
Despite Cleveland, Ohio’s progress since implementing its consent decree in 2015, the city will remain under scrutiny until at least 2024 as it strives to meet staffing and accountability benchmarks. imposed by the federal government. Community activists and police reform groups in Chicago say little progress has been made since the previous administration overcame bigger issues that slowed the process when the city signed on to a consent decree in 2019 .
According to data compiled by the Chicago Police Department, the city is in “full compliance” with less than 5% of the terms of its consent decree. People tell us that they haven’t noticed any change in their community. “Police are still disproportionately targeting communities of color for these really aggressive interactions,” said Alexandra Block, senior attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which is part of a coalition of community groups that have called for a Chicago consent decree.
The “big problems” remain the same, Block added, even with the new use-of-force policy and foot chase policy. It doesn’t appear that these cops are held accountable for following the new policies. Chicago’s slow progress comes amid officer vacancies, rising gun crime, and a cloud of controversy hanging over the city’s administration. After losing her re-election bid in February, Democratic incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot was replaced by progressive Democrat Brandon Johnson, who began searching for a new police superintendent to help implement the consent decree.
Lightfoot has been criticized for not making the consent decree a higher priority as she navigates the covid pandemic, disputes with the teachers’ union, a surge in the migrant population and other crises in the third largest city in the country. “Implementing and monitoring the consent decree is a faltering undertaking both in terms of substantive achievement and transparency,” Joe Ferguson, the former Chicago inspector general, said in a federal court filing. this month. “I think the Consent Decree is at high risk of not achieving its objectives absent a hard reset of its methodology and operations.”