CPD watchdog group pushes for openness in reform process

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CHICAGO -- A group of civil rights and criminal justice advocates are calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to keep the police reform debate open and transparent.

The group, calling itself The Coalition to Follow up on the Police Accountability Task Force,  delivered a letter to Emanuel at City Hall Wednesday demanding that any steps he takes on police reform be debated in the open, with public input.

The task force was set up in the wake of the controversy over the police killing of black teenager Laquan McDonald by white officer Jason Van Dyke.

The killing prompted protests and accusations of racism in the department.  CPD is currently undergoing a U.S. Dept. of Justice civil rights investigation.

The mayor convened the police accountability task force which came up with recommendations for reform .

Now the group wants to ensure the mayor follows up on those recommendations.   But they say, so far, the public is being shut out of the process.

The Independent Police Review Authority came under withering criticism as an organization that whitewashed police misconduct rather than punished bad behavior.

The mayor has since announced he will abolish IPRA and replace it with a new review board, saying he will work out the specifics with the city council.

The task force says there should be public input before any ordinance is passed.

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