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Strong police accountability measure passes in Chicago

By staff |
July 22, 2021
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Anthony Driver.
Anthony Driver. (Joe Iosbaker)

Chicago, IL - The Chicago movement against racist policing made history July 21 with the passage of the most progressive police accountability legislation in the country. The ordinance, named Empowering Communities for Public Safety (EPCS), was passed by the Chicago City Council on a 36-13 vote.

ECPS had the support of the Socialist, Progressive Reform, Black, Latino, and Socialist Caucuses. Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had repeatedly tried to stop the ordinance, came to support it in the end.

A press conference was held outside City Hall after the city council meeting adjourned, attended by eight alderpersons, as well as leaders of the coalition of community organizations and labor unions.

Anthony Driver, political staff of SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana (HCII) said that, for the residents of the community, including the 90,000 members of HCII, “This will take Chicago from worst to best in the country when it comes to police accountability,” adding, “Eleven Black labor leaders came together to urge the Black Caucus to support ECPS.”

Driver shared, “Ten years ago, Officer Marco Proano killed a close friend of mine. The city council approved a settlement in his murder, but he was never held accountable. In fact, he was given a commendation by Police Superintendent Jody Weis two years later. Years later, that same officer fired into a car with Black teenagers, and he finally lost his job. During that whole process, I felt that I had no voice. Today, the Black and brown communities will have a voice, and our members will have a decisive voice in public safety.”

ECPS will result in elections for councils in police districts that will bring communities together to decide who polices in their neighborhoods and how they are to be policed. The next step for the coalition is to pass a sister ordinance which will present to voters in a binding referendum the choice to have direct elections of a commission which will have the power to hire and fired the superintendent of the police, among other powers.

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