In the city of Chicago, allegations of police misconduct made by citizens are supposed to be investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA). This board is tasked with determining whether police officers are acting in accordance with the law, and it’s supposed to hold them accountable if they act out of bounds. Yet one recent study by the city found that the IPRA is chronically understaffed and underfunded. The IPRA can’t even fully investigate 40 percent of the complaints that come before it.
That has long led to many Chicago leaders calling for the IPRA to be disbanded and replaced with a civilian organization. Those calls have long been ignored, but in the wake of constant reporting on Chicago’s police misconduct epidemic, it looks like the city is now finally going to do something about the IPRA’s ineffectiveness.
Emanuel Calls for Independent Board to Replace IPRA
In a Chicago Sun-Times editorial published earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wrote that it is time to replace the IPRA with a civilian board that will increase accountability and oversight of police officers in the city.
Emanuel’s comments come in the wake of the release of a report from the Task Force on Police Accountability that he created. After a four a month report, the task force issued a report last month that also called for the current IPRA to be abolished. The report claimed that Chicago police have little regard for the rights of minority suspects.
Emanuel did not previously introduce plans to replace the IPRA and claimed it was not part of his agenda prior to reviewing the task force’s report. The mayor was complimentary to toward the current leadership of the IPRA, but said that replacing it with an independent civilian board is necessary to rebuild trust between Chicago police and residents. He has also pledged to increase funding and resources for the board that replace the IPRA.
Many of those critical have been supportive of the mayor’s plan. Still, it’s important to note that there are many unknowns about Emanuel’s plan. The mayor has not disclosed exactly what this new board will look like, who will be eligible to sit on it, or how it will be able to better investigate complaints of police misconduct. These details should be brought before the city council at an upcoming meeting, and while the initial proposal has found support, it still remains to be seen whether the council will embrace the details of the proposal.
Chicago Police Misconduct Lawyer
If the city of Chicago wants to rein in police misconduct, replacing the ineffective IPRA with a civilian board is a good step. However, it still doesn’t end the rampant police misconduct that many Chicago residents live in fear of, or compensate past victims for their injuries. If you believe Chicago police officers have violated your civil rights, an attorney may be able to make you whole ago. Contact Barney & Hourihane online or on the phone to discuss your case today.