My response, appearing in the Dec. 2, 2015, Chicago Tribune, to Mayor Emanuel's police misconduct reaction:

 

Before Mayor Rahm Emanuel removed Garry McCarthy from his position as police superintendent, he announced the formation of a new task force to study police accountability. Both moves are far too little, too late.

Task forces are useful in generating solutions to new and complex problems. But police brutality and racial disparities in law enforcement are nothing new. They have been swept shamefully under rugs in big cities and small towns across America. And a plethora of best practices exist; in March, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued up-to-date and thoroughly researched recommendations on body cameras, independent investigations, accountability, training, community trust-building, recruitment of minority officers and much more. The mayor doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel; he needs to adopt all applicable recommendations of the 21st Century Policing report immediately. That would be a serious, convincing step toward real reform.

Shamefully, this latest outrage was no anomaly. Our protest, our advocacy and our tears are for Laquan McDonald but also for Howard Morgan, shot 28 times by four officers, then convicted of attempted murder. They are for David Koschman, whose mother was paid $250,000 to quiet allegations of fabricated evidence and wrongdoing by police and prosecutors. They are for Rekia Boyd, whose killer was finally fired from the force more than three years after her death. They are for Ronnie Johnson, killed by police just a week before Laquan; the City still refuses to release a video of his final moments.

And they are for every victim who will fall as long as the CPD offers safe haven to those who abuse their authority. Since 2004, the City of Chicago has paid out half a billion dollars – enough to balance the Chicago Public Schools’ budget without cuts – to settle claims of police misconduct. It spent $54.2 million on these settlements in 2014 alone.

If Mayor Emanuel is serious about reform, he won’t just appoint a task force; he will welcome the U.S. Department of Justice to come to Chicago and investigate the police department’s culture and leadership, as it did in Ferguson, and to bring to light what is being done in our name, with our tax dollars.

We don’t need more damage control; we need a complete overhaul of the culture of law enforcement, prosecution and leadership. The people of Chicago and the majority of police officers who bravely and responsibly serve the public every day deserve nothing less.

Will we struggle forward as two Chicagos – one where the rule of law prevails, and another where young people of color are deemed unworthy of our constitutional rights and the blue shield closes around officers who appoint themselves judge, jury and executioner? Or will we do the hard and painful work needed to rise up as one Chicago with equal access to justice for all?

One thing is certain; another task force does not hold the answer.

 

Category: Frontpage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 30, 2015

 

CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement calling for a bold, swift response to revelations about the death of Laquan McDonald and the year-long delay in prosecuting Officer Jason Van Dyke:

 

To be effective, our outrage must be focused, our demands specific and sharp. Charging Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder is not enough. There was a cover-up, and anyone involved in it must be held accountable. If we do not tear down the blue curtain of silence once and for all, Laquan McDonalds will continue to die in our city. We must never forget that the video – and the truth – were not simply handed to us. Instead, they were ripped from reluctant hands by journalists, citizens and the courts.

Policing reform legislation I co-sponsored this year provides a pathway to the appointment of a special prosecutor in cases such as this one. The law takes effect in January, and it must be used to help bring to justice rogue cops and those who cover for them. In the meantime, we need a fresh start. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez must step down. She has failed in her responsibility to timely, openly prosecute a heinous crime that not only took a life but betrayed the public trust.

I am immensely proud of all who have protested peacefully in Chicago, and on Friday, I was honored to march alongside young people and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement alike on Michigan Avenue. I am more confident than ever that apathy and self-absorption will not succeed in suppressing the human bent toward basic fairness. Not only people of color, but all people who respect justice should be outraged and engaged, and that is the unity I have witnessed since the release of the video last week.

But if these protests do not result in top-to-bottom change, we will be here again – perhaps a month from now, maybe six months or a year from now. Our voices must not die away. We must not stand by while police officers act as judge, jury and executioner on our streets. We will remain united for justice.

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Category: Frontpage

The Alzheimer's Association, Congressman Bobby Rush and I are joining forces to bring you an educational program on Alzheimer's Disease. If you or a loved one is experiencing memory loss, it's important to get the facts. Learn how early detection can give you and your family options for treatment and planning for the future. Experts will teach you the ten warning signs of Alzheimer's and how to separate fact from myth.

Please join me for this informative workshop, and invite your friends, family and neighbors, too.

Alzheimers event flyer

Category: Frontpage

The Illinois Commission on the Elimination of Poverty (of which I am a member) and the Illinois Commission to End Hunger are conducting a listening tour of the state to learn about its residents' experiences with poverty and hunger in their communities and to hear their ideas for alleviating these crippling problems. Hunger and extreme poverty endanger health, make it difficult to focus and excel at school or work, limit opportunity and economic growth, reinforce the cycle of generational poverty and take an immense toll on individuals, families and neighborhoods.

Please attend this free, open meeting on Thursday night and help us find approaches that work.

Glenview Flyer 10.29 web

Glenview Flyer 10.29 Spanish web

Category: Frontpage

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