A Donald Trump presidency is worrisome to many local residents, as it may come with significant changes to executive branch conduct. For example, some suggest that there is the very real possibility of local police forces no longer being held accountable by the Justice Department, according to Business Insider. A hallmark civil rights victory of the Obama administration was the reform and investigation into local police forces. If the Department of Justice sees that a department’s conduct has been unfit, the investigation can end in one of two ways: the police department agreeing to change its behaviors, or a more aggressive court-mandated consent decree, which is a reform that the Department of Justice closely monitors. Consent decrees are in peril of being done away with by the upcoming presidential administration.
The Benefit of Consent Decrees
Consent decrees are most common in cities that have a disproportionate number of police shootings in which black men are killed. A consent decree is an effective way in fundamentally changing the way a local police department acts, even when a heavily racist belief system has been in place for a long time. Chicago is one such place, and underwent a decree in 2015 that investigated the use of force and “disciplinary process for wayward officers,” according to the Chicago Tribune. While somewhat costly, decrees are a necessary measure to combat racism, inequality, excessive force, and other police misconduct. Additionally, some believe that in the long run, they save taxpayers substantial amounts in police misconduct legal bills and settlements. From 2003 to 2014, Chicago taxpayers spent $500 million on such legal fees.
Key Republicans Could Spell Disaster for Civil Rights Movement
The criminal justice system is undeniably in need of change. Sadly, institutionalized racism exists at a level that many white Americans simply refuse to believe, and civil rights probes into local police departments is a growing necessity. These civil rights probes have been conducted by the Department of Justice since the 1990s, with Pittsburgh being the first city to undergo a consent decree back in 1997. Now, with Trump and many other Republican policy makers rising to federal power, current and future probes and consent decrees could come to an immediate halt. Individuals that would likely be critics of these civil rights measures who are possibilities on Trump’s list of Attorney General include Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, and Pam Bondi. David Clark is in the running for Homeland Security, and has been openly hostile to what he describes as an “ongoing witch hunt by the Civil Rights Division.” The times ahead look to be bleak, but that does not mean that you and your family have no defense.
Call a Chicago Civil Rights Violation Attorney Today
If you have been a victim of police misconduct of any kind, do not hesitate to call the experienced Chicago civil rights attorneys at the law office of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance. We aggressively pursue the constitutional rights of our clients and hold the Chicago police department responsible for its wrongdoings.