The Latest: Union official disputes code of silence claim

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Posted: Apr 13, 2016 5:43 PM
The Latest: Union official disputes code of silence claim

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on plans to reorganize the Chicago Police Department following the fatal shooting of a black teenager (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

The head of the Chicago's police sergeant union is disputing a task force's contention that collective bargaining agreements between police unions and the city fosters and encourages a code of silence on the force.

Sgt. Jim Ade says all the collective bargaining agreements do is "provide due process in disciplinary procedures, nothing more."

The city's Task Force on Police Accountability released a report Wednesday that argues various provisions in the bargaining agreements have the effect of helping officers conceal misconduct. The group says such provisions include allowing officers to wait 24 hours before making a statement about a shooting and prohibiting anonymous complaints.

Ade disputed the claim. He says the task force's argument that collective bargaining agreements help officers lie is "ridiculous."

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4 p.m.

The leader of Chicago's Task Force on Police Accountability is calling the panel's 200-page report on issues facing the Chicago Police Department a "blueprint for long-lasting change."

Chairwoman Lori Lightfoot says the group conducted more than 100 interviews with community groups, police officers and outside experts. Its report says it found a pervasive opinion that the police department lacks a "culture of accountability," and that city residents, particularly African Americans, feel disrespected by police.

The 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white officer, prompted the creation of the task force. But Lightfoot says the shooting was just the "tipping point." She called it an "historic time" with public outcry and involvement, with a chance for change.

Lightfoot says the task force's work is now over and it's up to community groups and the city to make the recommended changes.

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3:35 p.m.

In the wake of task force report criticizing policing in Chicago, the city's newly appointed police superintendent says he and others are welcoming "a fresh set of eyes'" on problems facing the Chicago Police Department.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was sworn into office Wednesday. He says the department is not waiting for recommendations from the task force or from a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice before making changes.

The Task Force on Police Accountability says police in Chicago have "no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color" and have alienated blacks and Hispanics for decades. The panel is calling for sweeping changes in the department, including a new civilian oversight body to discipline problem officers.

Johnson, who is black, says he has no doubt there is racism in his department because there is racism in America. He says his goal is "to root that out."

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2:55 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he hasn't seen a task force report that says the city's police have alienated blacks and Hispanics for decades by using excessive force and honoring a code of silence.

Emanuel says he can't talk specifics about the report because he has yet to review it, but says he has no doubt city officials have a lot of work to do to restore trust in the police department.

He also acknowledged Wednesday that work must be done to give transparency to the system of disciplining officers who engage in misconduct.

The Task Force on Police Accountability recommended replacing the "badly broken" independent review authority that currently investigates misconduct with a "new and fully transparent and accountable Civilian Police Investigative Agency."

Emanuel said the public has to have confidence in whatever is in place to oversee police and engage in disciplinary action.

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2:45 p.m.

Task Force on Police Accountability Chairwoman Lori Lightfoot says the panel has come up with dozens of recommendations after more than 100 interviews with community members, police and experts.

They include hiring an inspector general, involving civilians in investigating police shootings and putting police complaints online.

Lightfoot said Wednesday the shooting death of Laquan McDonald launched the task force, but the conversation "goes back decades."

The black teenager was shot 16 times by a white police officer in 2014.

Lightfoot says it was clear from their conversations that Chicago residents felt that police did not "respect their humanity."

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12: 15 p.m.

Chicago aldermen have unanimously voted to make a longtime Chicago police officer the department's new superintendent.

Members of the City Council praised Eddie Johnson, who is African-American, before Wednesday's vote to hire him. Mayor Rahm Emanuel chose Johnson for the job after rejecting three candidates recommended by the city's police board.

Aldermen suspended rules on the selection process implemented in 1960 so Johnson could be hired to succeed Garry McCarthy.

McCarthy was fired amid a firestorm of protests over the November release of a video showing a white officer fatally shooting a black teenager. The teen, Laquan McDonald, was shot 16 times.

Johnson takes over a police department that also has been rocked by allegations of abuse and racism, and a surging violent crime rate.

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11:45 a.m.

Chicago aldermen have voted to pay $6.45 million to settle two lawsuits filed by the families of two men who died in police custody.

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to pay $4.95 million to the family of a man who in 2012 was dragged by officers from his jail cell and shot repeatedly with a stun gun before he died of a fatal reaction to an anti-psychotic drug administered by a doctor. Philip Coleman's family alleged that Coleman would have not died had he be taken to a hospital for psychiatric treatment and not jail.

The council also settled for $1.5 million a lawsuit that alleged Justin Cook suffered a fatal asthma attack after the officers who arrested him refused to let him use his inhaler.

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11 a.m.

Local leaders and activists in Chicago say they are welcoming the findings of a task force established by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to look into police practices.

The recommendations include acknowledging what the task force calls the city's racist past and abolishing the Independent Police Review Authority, which critics have long called ineffective.

Greg Livingston heads the Coalition for a New Chicago, which was formed in the wake of several police shootings.

He agrees that the IPRA should be disbanded, calling it a "toothless tiger."

The Rev. Ira Acree is the leader of a West Side church who's long been an anti-violence advocate. He says the task force should be commended for writing the truth on the department's practices "against people of color."

He's challenging Emanuel to make changes.

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1:30 a.m.

A task force established by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to look into police practices says the department must acknowledge its racist past and overhaul its handling of excessive force allegations.

The Task Force on Police Accountability recommends abolishing the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates officer misconduct.

The panel was created in the wake of protests over a white officer's fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. A video of the 2014 shooting released last year contradicted police accounts that he was threatening officers before he was shot.

A draft of the task force's executive summary, first obtained by the Chicago Tribune, criticizes the police department and its oversight agency for being "broken." It calls for a better system to identify problem officers and a new deputy chief of diversity.