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Powerful Tool for Justice

Network 49 Applauds Progress on Police Professionalism with Consent Decree

By Michael Harrington, Co-Chair, Network 49

advocates speak on the consent decree that would govern police reform.

Immanuel Campbell, lead plaintiff for the Campbell Plaintiffs, discusses the need for a consent decree for Chicago police at a press conference this spring.

Network 49 is excited about this week’s federal court ruling to approve & oversee a Chicago Police Consent Decree. After almost two years & 1000s of hours of volunteer time, this marks a real victory for the people of Chicago who have fought tirelessly against unchecked police brutality.

This historic development came about ONLY because of the work done by The Campbell Plaintiffs, members of a class action lawsuit which includes Network 49 & nearly a dozen other community groups and individuals who have also been most impacted by CPD racist violence. Network 49 members Ted Miin, Emile Junge, and I have been proud to represent our organization in this work.

We are grateful for the Court’s recognition of the need for federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to address years of civil rights abuses that have disproportionately targeted Black people in Chicago. While the decree is far from perfect, it is an historic step toward addressing the CPD’s ongoing civil rights abuses.

Attorney Craig Futterman, who is on our legal team, noted, “As we knew from the beginning, a consent decree is not a cure-all for the CPD’s decades of unchecked abuse. But it is a powerful tool that we’ve never had before in a larger fight for justice. Under the decree, we won a victory never won by anyone before in one of these government decrees: the right of community-based organizations to enforce the decree in court. That’s a really big deal.”

NEXT STEPS
The Court hasn’t yet entered the actual decree. The federal court judge acknowledged that this Decree did not go as far as we had advocated, but said it can be modified over time as needed . The judge also acknowledged that the Decree is only one tool in the struggle for change. We’ve got more work to do.

Update on the January 15 Aldermanic Debate

As of today, Maria Hadden and Bill Morton have accepted our invitation to participate in a January 15 aldermanic candidates’ debate. Joe Moore has been invited – by email, phone, and a letter mailed to his home – but has yet to respond to the invitation. We remain hopeful that Alderman Moore will agree to participate.

Network 49 extended invitations to a number of organizations to co-sponsor the event, including the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward. Our invitation to all invited organizations remains open, provided they agree to abide by the League of Women Voters’ rules and respect the implicit neutrality and objectivity of the event. At present, the co-sponsoring organizations include Network 49, Rise 49, Protect RP, and Jane Addams Senior Caucus.

The rules of January 15 debate were adopted by the organizers and approved by the League of Women Voters and subsequently shared to all candidates ahead of time. Under the rules:

  • Our moderator is a representative from the League of Women Voters of Evanston. The event rules prohibit the moderator from being a person who lives in the ward, or who is involved in any of the campaigns. This is to ensure the moderator is neutral and able to perform her role effectively.
  • Questions from the co-sponsors, students, and audience members will be gathered and shared to the moderator, who will select which questions to ask. Neither the moderator, nor the candidates, will be provided questions in advance of the event.
  • Each candidate will receive equal time to respond to each question and time will be closely monitored by student timekeepers and the moderator.
  • There will be time for opening and closing statements.
  • In the event only 1 candidate is present, the format will convert from a debate to a moderated forum. Questions will be shared to the moderator, who will decide what questions to present to the sole candidate.

The League of Women Voters rules allow League-sanctioned forums with only one candidate in the event that other qualified candidates do not participate, thus denying voters in a competitive district the opportunity to attend a moderated event.

We will continue to provide updates about the event as it draws nearer, including updates on what candidates are participating.

Also, if there is sufficient interest in the community to hold additional debates, Network 49 would be pleased to offer its assistance to that effort, provided that events observe the neutrality and objectivity demanded by the residents of the community.

For questions about the event, please contact Katy Hogan or Michael Harrington, co-chairs of Network 49, at contact@network49.net or (773) 828-9539.

What to do when the landlord comes for your intelligence.

Snidely Whiplash
Snidely Whiplash, a cartoon villain archetype. Landlords aren’t villains, though they seem intent on making you think they are with their dumb advocacy against Lift the Ban.

A warning about rent control

To hear landlords describe Lift the Ban, you would think that tenants are planning to steal their livelihoods and force them into the poor house using rent control.

They point to stale, outdated and downright questionable “research.” They ask you to put your faith in “natural market forces” or stand with them in defense of tax revenues, which will surely disappear when rent control is adopted.

The biggest laugher: they want you to help fight government regulation and say the solution is more government subsidy.

 Lift the Ban Rent Control

Lift the Ban lets local governments decide about rental regulation policies. It’s not rent control. It’s local control.

Don’t let the landlords make you dumber. Support Lift the Ban.

Snidely Whiplash courtesy J.J. at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4526281

21 Days till the General Election (We Updated it!) – Let’s Get Active!

Let’s cut to the chase, friends.

4 weeks to our next best chance to alter history as poised.  28 days.

If you haven’t done some campaigning yet, no time like the present to help ward off further disasters for the next two years.

Here’s what works: Knocking doors in other districts that have the real possibility of flipping to help create the nationwide Blue Wave.

The most local races:

  • Sean Casten in the 6th Congressional District
  • Lauren Underwood in the 14th Congressional District
  • Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in the 13th Congressional District

Since Labor Day, US Rep. Jan Schakowsky (9th Congressional District) has facilitated carpools to prepped field offices in these districts. From there, volunteers proceed to canvass locally.

  • We’re told it’s having a big effect.
  • We need more canvassers expand our reach in these final weeks

You are invited to sign up at either of our locations at the following times:

We’re looking for both drivers and passengers.

  • Saturdays, 8am & 11am, departing from 5539 N Broadway, Chicago
  • Sundays, 11am from 5539 N Broadway, Chicago or Democratic Party of Evanston, 1806 W Church St., Evanston

Thanks to your feedback, we’re using a much easier sign up link, one that allows you to sign up for many dates at once, both canvassing and phone banking: https://tinyurl.com/9thCongressional

Please commit to doing what you can to turn things around.

It truly never has been more important.

In all seriousness, let’s get this done! For more information, contact Katy Hogan (773) 746-6587

Share freely – especially to your younger family members. Let’s get them started!

The Arc of History Just Bent a Little Toward Justice

Today, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was found GUILTY. Network 49’s Ted Miin, who is on our consent decree team, notes that this conviction does not mean that the system “works,” or that true justice was served. The jury found Van Dyke not guilty of official misconduct, meaning he was acting in accordance with official police procedures.

Laquan McDonald
Laquan McDonald was killed by police officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke was convicted of aggravated battery and murder in the second degree on October 5, 2018.

There is a preponderance of evidence that Van Dyke shot LaQuan McDonald – without thinking, without justification, and clearly without fear of accountability. Had video of the shooting not been captured and not surfaced, McDonald would be just another dead black teen and Van Dyke would be in uniform and on patrol.

Our hearts break for McDonald’s family and the city as a whole, who have yet to experience real justice.
Van Dyke’s conviction is not cause for celebration. There is no victory in receiving the least we should expect. That it might be a cause for celebration is an indictment of how rotten this city is when it comes to safety and accountability.

Let’s not forget the infamous video that led to Van Dyke’s trial also led to the investigation of CPD, which led to a lawsuit and negotiations for a strong federal court consent decree to achieve better police accountability. Network 49’s Ted Miin, Emilie Junge and Michael Harrington all spent – and will spend, countless hours to ensure that the consent decree leads to real change. The verdict does not change that.

We should remember the video was withheld by Mayor Emanuel, until a judge forced him to release it.
We should remember the cover-up was supported by compliant public officials and police leadership that knew of its existence and its contents, yet hewed to the line that McDonald’s shooting was justified. Justice awaits for those people, if justice is to be served.

Van Dyke’s conviction not does not remove the fact that police leadership and the political establishment all conspired to obstruct justice. We have much work to do.

Network 49 Stands with Seniors at Levy House

Levy House offers 56 affordable 1-bedroom apartments at 1221 W Sherwin.

Network 49 learned that 1221 W Sherwin, a 56-unit senior housing property known as Levy House and owned by non-profit Council for Jewish Elderly, may be in final negotiations to be sold to a for-profit developer. The sale would put the homes of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities at grave risk. While we continue to seek more information about the sale, sent the following to Mr. Dan Fagin, CEO of Council for Jewish Elderly, and Mr. Kal Wenig, Council for Jewish Elderly Board Chair. We are seeking a commitment from CJE to sell the property to responsible developer/operator of affordable housing.

***

Dear Mr. Fagin and Mr. Wenig:

We write on behalf of Network 49, a membership based resident-led organization in Rogers Park that is concerned about balanced development, community safety, and quality schools. We were recently made aware of the possible sale of Levy House (1221 W Sherwin) to BJR Properties. We wanted to let you know that:

  • Network 49 and its 100+ members, plus network of 800+ allies, wants to support yours and others’ efforts to maintain affordable housing in Rogers Park for seniors of low incomes.
  • We see the potential loss of 56 units of affordable housing at Levy House (1221 W Sherwin) as a major loss in our community.
  • We feel strongly that the seniors need to be heard and protected.
  • We understand that CJE wants to receive proper compensation for its property.

We ask CJE to suspend negotiations of the sale to BJB or any other buyer who is not fully committed to preserving the affordability of the units for the seniors.

We further ask CJE to allow interested parties reasonable time to organize the appropriate resources, including capital, to execute a sale that all can live happily with, including most importantly, the seniors.

Sincerely,

Katy Hogan and Michael Harrington, Co-Chairs, Network 49

Thom Clark, Chair, Housing and Community Development Committee

www.Network49.net

(773) 828-9539

Proposed city/state Police Consent Decree draft misses key reforms

Network 49 calls on members to speak up for safety

Network 49 has reviewed the proposed consent decree released by the City of Chicago/State of Illinois as part of the ongoing effort to reform the Chicago Police Department. We find the document leaves out critically important protections that community organizations fought for and which can be found in similar reform decrees in other cities. We need all our members to take action TODAY. Here’s how:

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL

Attn: Civil Rights Bureau
100 West Randolph St., 12th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Fax: 312.814.3212

We have included a sample comment below, which you can simply copy and paste in the comment box. Be sure to add your contact information when you do.

 

***

Hon. Lisa Madigan
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL
Attn: Civil Rights Bureau
100 West Randolph St., 12th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601

August 12, 2018

Dear AG Madigan:

The State of Illinois and City of Chicago released a proposed consent decree regarding the Chicago Police Department. The proposed decree is incomplete and lacks critical provisions in order to provide meaningful protections against police violence and bias. The final consent decree must include the following:

1.    Ensure transparency and public accountability and provide meaningful opportunities for community feedback on CPD related plans and policies.  The Consent Decree must explicitly provide the community with the opportunity to provide feedback on plans, analyses and reports related to CPD operations and all of these items must be made public.  Further, CPD must be required to make public comprehensive data related to complaints, uses of force, and other law enforcement activities implicated by the consent decree.

2.    Address hostile police-community interactions by developing diversion programs, ending the financial incentives CPD officers have to make arrests and reducing arrests for minor, often pre-textual offenses. Rather than funneling people into the criminal-legal system, CPD must create diversion partnerships, including restorative justice and community mediation. Successful diversion requires that officers receive supervisory authority prior to making minor (often pre-textual) arrests, and prohibits trolling (escalating incidents at the end of a shift).  These efforts will help decrease racially discriminatory policing and reduce the number of minor incidents that escalate into uses of force.

3.    Ensure that people harmed by CPD and their families receive support and information. CPD must provide accurate information on the whereabouts of people injured as a result of police action, and CPD must immediately contact an injured person’s next of kin and/or emergency contact.  The City must provide police-violence survivors and their families with psychosocial supportive services independent from CPD.

4.    Strengthen protections against unlawful use of force by mandating de-escalation, restricting foot pursuits, lethal force and the use of Tasers and ensuring accountability.
•    Limit exceptions to mandatory de-escalation: The decree authorizes officers to take action (or refrain from action) when “safe and feasible.”  This term should be defined ensure that de-escalation is the rule and not the exception.
•    Ensure that officers are not penalized for using de-escalation tactics: Officers should not be penalized for taking sufficient time to resolve an incident without using force.
•    Prohibit officers from escalating incidents: Officers must be prohibited from using tactics that escalate an incident, including but not limited to by taunting, humiliating or threatening individuals and using racial or gendered slurs.
•    Prohibit the un-holstering of firearms unless lethal force may become necessary. Officers must not un-holster and display a firearm unless there is an objectively reasonable belief that lethal force may become necessary.
•    Require reporting every time an officer points a gun or Taser or observes a use of force: CPD has to file a report each time an officer points a gun or Taser at a person and each CPD member who observes a use of force must file a separate report.

5.    Impartial policing—meaningfully address the police violence and misconduct targeted at Black people, women, Latinx people and people with disabilities:  The proposed decree does not contain any data-driven efforts to identify and root out bias, or address gender- or disability-bias in policing.  CPD should develop and implement, with input from the Monitor and the community, a comprehensive strategic plan to eliminate racial profiling and discriminatory policing, including an express prohibition on racial profiling.  Community feedback must be incorporated as to all policies related to impartial policing.

6.    Gender: CPD must protect people who are gender-non-conforming from harassment and transgender people from invasive searches, and CPD policy on sexual misconduct should be defined clearly and adhere to professional-accepted standards. The Monitor—with community input—must conduct an assessment of CPD policy and practice to determine impact on women and girls. COPA’s jurisdiction must be expanded to encompass sexual assault, not just misconduct.

7.    Disability: Use of force training should include the importance of considering whether a subject may be noncompliant due to disability, a medical condition, behavioral health crisis, etc., and CPD must not assess dangerousness based on an individual’s disability.

8.    Protect the rights of Children and Youth, including in Schools: CPD should not station officers in schools. But to the extent that CPD officers continue to be assigned to schools, the decree must ensure that it addresses the school-to-prison pipeline, including by: mandated de-escalation tactics for school officers, prohibitions on using handcuffs and force in schools except in exigent circumstances, a prohibition on carrying firearms, a duty not to intervene in incidents on school grounds (absent a real and immediate threat), a prohibition on interviewing and interrogating youth on school grounds, and a prohibition on collecting law enforcement data on youth in schools. In addition, Taser use in schools should be prohibited, and parents and guardians must be notified immediately if their children are arrested, on or off school grounds.

9.    Ensure that CPD hires officers who reflect Chicago’s diversity and can police in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Decree. Require that CPD recruit a diverse police force that, through extensive testing and evaluations, has demonstrated the ability to police in a way that is non-biased, where officers are capable of de-escalating encounters with community members and using diversion resources.

10.    Develop and implement officer performance metrics based on measures of non-biased policing, diversion and de-escalation.  Provide incentives to officers who refuse to use excessive force, de-escalate and solve problems without resorting to arrest.  Make promotions dependent on these variables.

Sincerely,

Campbell Police Reform Plaintiffs Announce Proposed Consent Agreement

Network 49 joined representatives of other Campbell lawsuit plaintiff organizations to announce a proposed consent agreement regarding reforms to the Chicago Police Department. The reforms aim to curb police violence and improve police accountability. Read a summary of the proposed agreement here Summary of Consent Decree for Reforming the Chicago Police Department (200 downloads) .

campbell-plaintiff-presser
Plaintiffs announce the proposed consent agreement over reforming the Chicago Police Department.

WGN TV News covered the press conference. See footage here. The proposed agreement was also covered in the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune.

Attorney Sheila Bedi provided an overview of the consent agreement at the May 16 general membership meeting. A video of that meeting’s presentation is here.

VOTE THIS WEEK FOR YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES!

VOTE THIS WEEK FOR YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES!
Parents & community residents in each CPS school boundary eligible.

The elections for all of Chicago’s Local School Councils are today Wednesday, April 18 for elementary schools. High school LSC elections are Thursday, April 19.

The resulting councils not only have the power over some of the most important decisions made by each school, but are a gathering of activists who often advocate citywide for goals from equitable school funding, to an elected school board, to an end to charter-school expansion.

We are proud to announce that a number of Network 49 members have stepped forward to run for parent or community seats on our local LSC’s!! They are running along with several dozen other dedicated neighbors, and we urge you to read the statements of all candidates – which are publicly posted inside each school. Most of all, we urge you to vote! (Details at end.)

NETWORK 49 MEMBER-CANDIDATES:

Sullivan High School – 6631 N Bosworth
Esther Mosak (Community)
Amy Shuffleton (Community)

Gale Elementary – 1631 W. Jonquil
Joanna Su (Parent)
Carol Lauhon (Community)

Field Elementary – 7019 N. Ashland
Kandie Alter (Community)
Rebecca Weinberg (Community)

Kilmer Elementary – 6700 N. Greenview
Stefanie Cirillo (Parent)
Will Igoe (Parent)
Dawne Moon (Parent)
Betsy Vandercook (Community)
Natalia Vera (Community)

New Field – 1707 W. Morse
Annie Gill-Bloyer (Parent)
David Tolen (Community)

The elections will be held from 6 a.m.- 7 pm. To vote, you must be 18 years or older, but do not need to be a citizen. You need to bring two forms of ID, at least one with an address (e.g. driver’s license, utilities bill). You must be a parent or guardian of a child in the school OR live within the school attendance area. Sullivan’s area is almost all of Rogers Park north from Arthur, and the Lake to Western. Please note that Field and New Field share the same boundaries, and you can vote at both schools if you live within that area. All attendance areas can be found at:

http://cps.edu/ScriptLibrary/Map-SchoolLocator/index.html

Community Benefits Hard to See in 1531 W Estes Proposal

Network 49 members joined ~80 of their neighbors at a community meeting to learn more about a proposed development at 1531 W Estes. The developer wants to tear down a 2-story brick building and build 5 town homes, which will sell for ~$450,000 each. The developer needs significant relief from current zoning regulations on density and property set-backs. He also needs to cut into the curb to add a driveway for onsite parking. Such relief is a private benefit granted at public expense; if not for the relief, the project does not happen.

1531 W Estes Mtg
Residents, mostly opposed to a proposed project for 1531 W Estes, crowded a meeting on February 28 (photo credit: Gabe Gonzalez).

Residents had 6 days’ notice of the meeting. Approximately 50 residents turned out. The meeting lasted at least 3 hours and residents left with as many questions as when the meeting started. And while no vote of residents was taken, residents’ questions suggest the development team was the only one really in favor of the project.

During the meeting, the property owner said a fire made the property uninhabitable. Because of a health issue in his family, the owner failed to file a fire damage claim and stated he now is unable to cover the cost of rehabbing the property. Instead, he wants to tear it down and build the townhomes, including one that he will live in himself. There are 2 brick 2-flats on the market for $565-575,000. The first question is can the owner restore the property and sell it as a 2-flat? We think the answer is yes.

Be that as it may be, 5 townhomes sold in Rogers Park with prices of $200-255,000 in the last 3 months. The developer would not share what he estimates it will cost to build, nor the size of his development fee or profit he stands to make. We also do not know if the property owner will pay for the townhome he intends to live in or is he getting that new unit in consideration for contributing his property to the project.

The project sets a clear precedent for future teardowns. To wit, if the owner of 1531 is able to tear down his home and built 5 expensive new ones, what prevents a future request from another owner who is not happy with the profit he might get from selling his single-family home? Network 49 co-chair Katy Hogan spoke to the real risk that we open the floodgates to more teardowns, spot zoning decisions and gentrification, something residents have fought against for years. “It’s not just this project we are concerned about; it’s the ones that will surely come after it, if this gets approved.”

Network 49 shared its Community Benefits Scorecard. Briefly: no affordable housing, no accessible housing, no commitment to green design, no commitment to local hiring or M/WBE participation. To summarize, the developer wants permission to build an oversized new development that will bring him significant new income and offers nothing to the community in return. The developer also made clear; he’s not doing any community benefits agreements.

Sounds like an easy one to turn down.