Groups sue seeking court oversight of Chicago police reforms

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CHICAGO -- Several community groups have sued the city of Chicago to bypass or even scuttle a draft deal between Chicago and the Justice Department that seeks to reform the nation's second largest police force without federal court oversight.

The filing Wednesday in Chicago federal court argues that any Chicago Police Department overhaul in the wake of a damning civil rights report can't work without the intense scrutiny of a court-appointed monitor answerable to a judge.

The lawsuit says that "absent federal court supervision, nothing will improve." Plaintiff attorneys are holding a news conference later Wednesday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's chief lawyer says he agrees court oversight is the best way to ensure police reforms are done right but that the Trump administration backed away from that approach.

Edward Siskel defended a draft agreement of the reforms that the mayor's office says it negotiated last month with the U.S. Department of Justice. The draft outlines reforms that won't be done in the form of a court-enforced consent decree.

Siskel says he wishes the Justice Department would have "followed through with their commitment to a consent decree" that was made in the last days of the Obama administration. Still, he says, the draft agreement will work.

A Justice Department report in January found deep-rooted problems with Chicago police.


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