The official responsible for overseeing court-ordered reforms within the Chicago Police Department was fired by Supt. David Brown, leading to strong reactions from all corners of the city.
Sources tell NBC 5 that Robert Boik was fired from his role as executive director of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform for “insubordination” after he sent an email criticizing Brown’s decision to remove nearly four dozen officers from their training roles and to put them back in patrol positions.
“I feel it my duty to ensure that you are making this decision with a clear understanding of the ramifications for the department, consent decree compliance and all reform efforts that are underway and I respectfully request that you reverse the decision,” Boik’s letter read, in part.
Speaking to NBC 5, Boik defended his actions within his position, saying that the work of reform is hard and must be done with boots on the ground and a constant emphasis on improvement.
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“Reform has to be done with the community,” he said. “It’s not something that we can do sitting in our offices alone.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Boik had proposed sending 23 officers to the city’s police academy to help meet court-manded obligations, which included 40 hours of in-service training for every sworn officer in the department.
Arne Duncan, founder of the antiviolence group Chicago CRED and the former U.S. Secretary of Education, expressed shocked at the firing of the city’s key official in charge of police reform.
“I was extraordinarily stunned and honestly very disheartened to hear of Bob Boik’s firing today that seemed to come from nowhere,” he said.
Duncan says that the decision to fire Boik could undermine confidence in the department’s commitment to reform.
“The only way crimes get solved is if the people trust the police enough to talk to them,” he said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office referred requests for comment to the police department, which issued its own statement after the firing.
“Robert Boik is no longer a member of the Chicago Police Department. Beyond that, we do not comment on personnel matters,” the department said.
Tina Skahill has been named as the director of the Constitutional Policing and Reform office, according to the department’s statement.
The turnover comes at a critical time for consent-decree reforms, with an independent monitoring saying that compliance with the court-manded orders sitting at around 70%.