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Save Chicago Police Misconduct Records Before Its Too Late

This petition had 30,686 supporters

Last year, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and other officials came under intense scrutiny after the revelation of a shocking video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke gunning down 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Officer Van Dyke had 19 complaints on his record before shooting Mr. McDonald, 10 for the use of force. Another officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen had more than 30 complaints of misconduct and 10 for the use of force. Not once was either officer disciplined for the list of abuses that lingered in their records.

It is clear that such patterns of repeated misconduct among some officers have not been sufficiently handled within the CPD. Because of this, the US Justice Department has launched an investigation into the organization. Not so coincidentally, after the announcement of this probe, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) made a sudden plea to have all officers’ misconduct records destroyed if they are more than five years old. This plea has held up legally, and destruction of these misconduct records may start as early as March. This cannot happen. We have seen the consequences of allowing secrecy behind the thin blue line, and we cannot allow it to continue.

Organizers, activists, and researchers are asking the City of Chicago to appeal the decision to destroy these records, so the US Justice department can collect accurate data on the issues plaguing the CPD, identify patterns, and shine a light on much-needed reforms.

Out of 400 misconduct investigations by the Independent Police Review Authority since 2007, 399 officers were cleared of any wrongdoing and only 1 complaint was sustained -- a statistic that is hard to believe. Now, the FOP wants the misconduct records - over 350,000 of them - destroyed, permanently wiping out the evidence of patterns of abuse going back to the 1960's. These records could potentially help free people who have been wrongly sent to prison by cops with a history of unethical policing practices, such as illegal searches and unlawful arrests.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has publicly stated that he wants to reform what is currently a broken police department. This is our chance to make sure he does.

Please sign this petition asking Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign the bills currently working their way through the state legislature that would make them permanent and save them from being destroyed.

And demand that Chicago Mayor Emanuel instructs the city attorneys to continue fighting the unions until the state law gets passed, possibly by this June.

It is time for these misconduct reports to see the light of day so that justice can be served and names can be cleared, no matter what side of the thin blue line they are on. Please sign this petition now, before it’s too late!

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