WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and former head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), issued the following statement after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago for its failure to remedy a pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing documented in DOJ’s January 2017 findings report:
“We welcome and applaud Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Attorney General’s office for stepping in to ensure that Chicago residents will have a police force they can trust, rooted in constitutional policing practices that promote both officer and public safety. The state Attorney General’s office was forced to step in because U.S. Attorney General Sessions abdicated the Justice Department’s congressionally mandated responsibility to the Constitution and law to remedy the Civil Rights Division’s very clear evidence of the abuse of the use of force and lack of accountability in the Chicago Police Department.
The Chicago findings report and agreement in principle that the Justice Department reached with the city of Chicago in early 2017 had charted the path for negotiation of a consent decree to address the grave problems found. We hope today’s suit will lead to a court-enforceable agreement that will provide meaningful and lasting change for the people of Chicago.
Everyone deserves a police department that will keep them safe, consistent with the protections our Constitution demands. Where Attorney General Sessions refuses to act, we hope that other state and local governments will follow Illinois’ example and step in to the breach.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.