Push for more civilian oversight of CPD highlights first in-person City Council meeting in over a year

Chicago News

CHICAGO — For the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Chicago aldermen attended an in-person meeting Wednesday.

Several issues were discussed; from police oversight to a long awaited vote on affordable housing.

Developers of 10-units or more receiving city tax subsidies must now boost their affordable housing commitments from 10-to-20% of affordable units they build or renovate to a flat 20% of new units in downtown Chicago, or neighborhoods experiencing displacement of low income individuals or families.

The ordinance is fulfilling a campaign promise for Mayor Lightfoot, but a group of aldermen are questioning her commitment to civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department.

35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and others rallied across the street for the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance, which establishes more civilian oversight for the Chicago Police Department.

“She said she would support the GAPA proposal. She broke that promise,” Ramirez-Rosa said.

The measure, not up for a vote Wednesday, but taking on greater urgency with Tuesday’s conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin the controversial police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in the Little Village.

Outside of the Thompson Center, a rally was held during the meeting in support of more civilian oversight. Actor Danny Glover flew in to be the guest speaker.

“Cities are for the people,” Glover said. “There been many stories in Chicago and its police force, gangsters and then everything else. But only we can make the city be what it has to be.”

The mayor is expected to propose her own ordinance on police oversight at a future date.

“We are talking about the most consequential change to policing in Chicago, maybe ever in Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “There’s a lot of conversations that need to be had. Those conversations are happening. I think we are ready getting ready to provide an alternative proposal to the City Council.”

On another matter, City Council approved a new $250 license requirement for every tow truck in the city, in part, to help reduce the number of rogue drivers overcharging motorists or damaging their vehicles with little-to-no accountability.  

After the City Council meeting, Mayor Lightfoot told the media that she believes there is more time needed to complete a police oversight ordinance.

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