Chicago mayor, police chief to announce police force reforms

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 21, 2016 11:12 AM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Chicago mayor and police chief will announce on Thursday that nearly a third of the recommendations outlined by a panel last week will be implemented immediately to reform a police force under fire for racial bias and excessive force.

A statement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office said the reforms are focused on restoring accountability in the department, rebuilding public trust and increasing transparency.

The reforms that will be implemented immediately include a better approach for holding officers accountable for wrongdoing, improving programs to help officers understand cultural differences, Taser-use training and expanding a body-camera program, the statement said.

Plans are under way to address the rest of the recommendations from the task force's report, which was issued last Wednesday.

The report concluded the Chicago Police Department is not doing enough to combat racial bias among officers or to protect the human and civil rights of residents.

Emanuel had created the task force after days of street protests starting last November triggered by the release of a video showing the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white police officer in 2014.

The task force described McDonald's death as a "tipping point" and said community outrage had given voice to long-simmering anger over police actions that included physical and verbal abuse.

The city will review further the overall structure of police accountability and will work with community leaders, ministers and parents to rebuild trust in communities, the statement from Emanuel's office said.

Also last Wednesday, the city council unanimously approved Emanuel's candidate Eddie Johnson to lead the police department facing a federal investigation.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Bill Trott)