The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) sponsored a well-attended forum on Wednesday, January 20, to discuss increasing police disclosure and transparency in the wake of protests over the Laquan McDonald shooting.
The event’s moderator was journalist Laura Washington, the panel included Dean C. Angelo, Sr., President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP); Lori Lightfoot, Attorney and President of the Chicago Police Board; State Senator Kwame Raoul; Tracy Siska, Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project, Brandon Smith, the journalist who sued the City to force release of the McDonald video; Civil Rights Attorney Christopher Smith; and Pula Thornton Greear, VP of External Affairs for the Chicago Urban League.
My take-away from the discussion is that concerned and thoughtful people are working hard to create reform in law enforcement and to resolve issues in community policing such as police-community relations, operational problems with FOIA requests, and deciding when and how to release videos of police-involved shootings so that investigations are not compromised and the impression of cover-ups in process does not arise.
I found State Senator Kwame Raoul’s statements especially impressive. He noted that a bipartisan group of legislators in Springfield had been working on law enforcement reform before the McDonald video was released, and noted that transparency “sometimes slows people down” (in the sense of getting things accomplished). He also noted that systemic problems exist in both the police department and the community, with both practicing a code of silence, and added that “there must be ways of creating consequences” for behaviors.
The discussion can be viewed online at CAN TV.
CAN-TV (Channel 19) will also broadcast the video on Friday, January 29, at 8:00 a.m.