An alliance of community organizations are requesting that Mayor Emanuel immediately “pause negotiations on police contracts,” according to the group’s spokesperson Bryce Colquitt. Included amongst the groups are Action Now, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, Worker’s Center for Racial Justice, and Black Roots Alliance (BRA).
In an open letter delivered to the Mayor yesterday, BRA claims to have engaged over 600 community residents who expressed concerns about the police contracts. The group states that the opinions and recommendations of the community “need to be heard.”
Colquitt shares that their goal is to get the Mayor to acknowledge the community’s concerns and “to have the community be a part of the process. That is our main [goal],” he states. “One of the ways to actually build trust with the community and the police is for the community to be a part of the renegotiations.”
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) contract which expires next year on June 30, 2017, typically start renegotiations months in advance due to the complexity and often contentious details which can take months to hammer out, a source close to the process told the Defender. View the FOP contract here.
“They are asking the Mayor to do something that has never been done before, and normally third parties are not involved in the renegotiating process,” they said.
When questioned about the group’s timing of the open letter; “Why during the negotiations process and not before the negotiations started?” Colquitt responded that they were building their coalition and they were waiting on the task force recommendations.
Referring to the Police Accountability Task Force (PATF), commissioned by the Mayor to examine the practices of the Chicago Police Department (CPD); the PATF issued a scathing 190-page report this past April condemning the CPD, and submitted over 100 recommended changes to the Mayor including 11 recommendations specific to the FOP contract. View the PATF report here.
“We recognize this is unprecedented, but we believe it is needed. [. . .] bringing on residents to help negotiate a new contract will be a significant step in transforming the CPD into an institution that treats everyone with dignity and respect regardless of their race,” the open letter stated.