Consent Decree Coalition boycotts CPD’s home-raids community engagement plan

A group of community-based organizations that fought for the Chicago Police Department’s consent decree announced it will boycott a community-engagement plan on home raids, according to a statement from the ACLU of Illinois released Thursday.

The Consent Decree Coalition sued for the consent decree “to end CPD’s systemic, structural, and institutional racist violence,” according to the statement. The coalition had recently been demanding that the department change its home raid policies and practicing — even suing the city over the issue. Recently, the department announced an advisory group on the topic, which the coalition said it will not participate in, calling it a waste of community members’ time.

“The City nonsensically argued that the Consent Decree does not govern CPD’s practices of excessive and discriminatory force when inflicted inside family homes,” the statement said.

The department said it is disappointed in the coalition’s decision to stop engaging on this topic and that its search warrant policy is “a clear example” of the steps it has taken to incorporate community voices and input.

“We will continue to have meaningful discussions with community members and organizations from across the city as we review and revise our search warrant policy under consent decree guidelines,” a Chicago police spokesperson said in a statement.

The policy is up for public comment and review until Dec. 31, and anyone who wants to be involved and provide feedback can visit its webpage for community engagement on the search warrants policy.

Robert Boik, then-executive director of the Office of Constitutional Policing & Reform at the Chicago Police Department, places his hand on a reform update packet while addressing reporters during an interview about the department's progress in meeting consent decree deadlines at police headquarters, Sept. 8, 2021, in Chicago.

Home raids became a forefront topic on police accountability after 13 Chicago police officers — acting on a bad tip that a man with an illegal firearm lived in the apartment — raided social worker Anjanette Young’s home in February 2019, restraining her while she was getting ready for bed and forcing her to stand handcuffed and naked as officers searched her residence.

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The Chicago Police Department announced changes to its warrant policy that went into effect in May 2021. It requires a department member at the rank of lieutenant or above to be at the scene when the warrant is executed and for each member of the team serving the warrant to wear body cameras.

A female member of the department also is required to be present while the warrant is being served, and a warrant served on a property or location where occupants could be present must be reviewed by several supervisors, including a deputy chief. In addition, the more unusual “John Doe” and no-knock warrants must be authorized by bureau chiefs. John Doe warrants are based on anonymous, but verified, tips.

People hold signs that read "I am Anjanette Young" in front of Chicago Police Headquarters as people gather in support of Young in Chicago on Dec. 27, 2020.

The city agreed that the consent decree prohibits unlawful violent home raids that target Black and brown families after a year of legal back and forth, the statement said. But the city refused to negotiate how the police department’s home raid practices will change.

CPD created a “Search Warrant Advisory Group,” which the ACLU of Illinois said will “limit rather than enhance” the community’s power to influence the department’s search warrant policy. The coalition decided it will not participate in this process and called it “the latest instance of CPD wasting community members’ time with ‘dialogues’ and ‘focus groups’ that do not create changes to policing on the ground.”

“The City, the Mayor and CPD can no longer ignore the voices of the people who want to live safely in their own homes, free from CPD’s racist violence. We are the reason the Consent Decree exists,” the statement said. “This federal court order should be protecting all of us from CPD’s racist violence —not just serving as a talking point for elected officials and the FOP. Our voices must be heard. This is a matter of life and death. “

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Twitter @paigexfry

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