Police Misconduct

City of Chicago Creates Process for Victims Alleging Police Misconduct

The executive order will allow complainants to receive "swift access to materials," city officials said

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday signed an executive order that creates guidelines regarding the release of materials to victims of alleged police misconduct.

Under the new protocol, which goes into effect on March 7, victims will receive access to materials without having to navigate the Freedom of Information Act process or be constrained by the limitations of FOIA, according to a news release from the city.

In line with current policy, the city's Civilian Office of Police Accountability only releases video in certain use of force incidents. Additionally, certain materials may be exempt to being publicly released, and under FOIA, subjects of police misconduct are required to follow the same process as members of the public.

The executive order will allow complainants to receive "swift access to materials," including body-warn-camera video, even if the incident does not rise to the level that would trigger release to the public, city officials said.

Under the new order, complainants that have filed a complaint with COPA alleging police misconduct will be given the opportunity to submit a request to COPA for materials related to the incident.

Provided that the incident isn't covered by the video release policy, the city will release video and audio recordings from Chicago Police Department dash camera and/or body cameras as well as police reports no later than 30 days following the request.

The policy change comes after city officials were scrutinized for their handling of the aftermath of the wrongful 2019 raid at the home of Anjanette Young, a Chicago social worker.

Lightfoot has apologized repeatedly for the raid on Young’s apartment and missteps by her administration, including trying to block the footage from being aired on television and denying Young video of the incident, although she was later able to obtain the footage after filing a lawsuit against the city.

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