A new report from the independent monitor overseeing the federal consent decree to reform the Chicago Police Department shows that the city has missed the majority of deadlines issued on those reforms in its first year under the court-ordered agreement.
The report, made public late Thursday, shows the city missed 89 deadlines and met just 35 in the first year of the decree - failing to meet more than 70% of those benchmarks. The report was published by independent monitor Maggie Hickey, who was appointed by a federal judge to oversee the sweeping changes and report back on whether the city was fulfilling its obligation.
The aim of the consent decree is to implement reforms on training, discipline and supervision within the department. It was put in place following a lawsuit from then-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who sued the city to enact the reforms following a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Justice that found CPD had a history of civil rights violations by officers, including a "pattern and practice" of excessive force and abuse.
That more than 150-page Justice Department report was the culmination of a year-long investigation sparked by the 2015 release of dashcam video showing Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times the year before. Van Dyke was later charged and convicted of second-degree murder.
Madigan filed the lawsuit in August 2017 to obtain court supervision of the department's changes after President Donald Trump took office and the Justice Department under his administration moved to scuttle the reform plan.
Among the deadlines missed that were noted in Thursday's report were a review of tactics and training during foot pursuits leading to uses of force, and a requirement to put in place guidance for officers to interact with members of religious communities.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said in a joint statement saying that the report "illustrates how the level of transformational change and reform that we are working towards cannot be achieved overnight.
"This road toward a more transparent, accountable and professional police force began more than four years ago with the Police Accountability Task Force following the murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke," Lightfoot and Brown said.
"While we have continued to build on a host of police reform and accountability measures since then, we have been clear that this moment is just the start, not the end of our journey. We can do better, and we are redoubling our efforts to meet important milestones mandated by the consent decree," their statement continued.
The consent decree gives the Chicago Police Department at least five years to comply - though recent protests and unrest across the country in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has increased pressure to fulfill those reforms more quickly.
"This is a critical time in history and for law enforcement,” Hickey said in a statement on the report. “The recent grief, outrage, protest, and unrest spurred by the tragic death of George Floyd demonstrate the urgent need for police reform across the country and here in Chicago. It is my hope that the current momentum around police accountability will inspire the City and the CPD to accelerate its efforts."