City Council Must Delay the Mayor’s Rush Appointment to Police Board

Contact
Timna Axel | 312-888-4194 | taxel@clccrul.org

 
For immediate release
November 16, 2017

CHICAGO – Responding to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s rushed appointment of former Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp to the Chicago Police Board, a coalition of leading police reform advocates are calling on the City Council’s Public Safety Committee to delay its vote for Friday (scheduled with only two days’ notice) until the public has had time to weigh in.

Zopp recently left the Mayor’s office and now serves as CEO of World Business, the City’s economic development arm. The Chicago Police Board is made up of nine civilians appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council who review the records of police officers in disciplinary cases where the recommended penalty is termination or long suspension.

Karen Sheley, Director of the Police Practices Project at the ACLU of Illinois, said:

“At this critical moment – when the Chicago police are in dire need of reform – selecting an insider in a rushed process does not advance public confidence in the police.”

In the two years since the release of the video showing a white police officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, the Mayor has promised to implement recommendations made by the Police Accountability Task Force to reform the Chicago Police Department by institutionalizing transparency and accountability at CPD.

However, the appointment of Andrea Zopp was only publicly announced this morning, and the City Council’s Public Safety Committee is scheduled to vote on her confirmation at a hearing that begins tomorrow at 9:45 a.m.

“This rush job is deeply troubling,” said Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Executive Director Bonnie Allen.

“This is not about Andrea Zopp’s qualifications. It’s about a clear conflict of interest when a mayoral ally joins a police oversight agency, and with absolutely no time for public comment by the communities who have been most impacted by police misconduct in our city.”

It is imperative that the Police Board, with its critical role in police discipline, be shielded from the influence of Chicago politics. A coalition of groups, including the ACLU of Illinois, the Cook County Public Defender’s office, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and the Chicago Council of Lawyers, call upon Alderman Ariel Reboyras, Chairman of the City Council Committee on Public Safety, to delay the hearing to allow time for public comment