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Election Special: View From the Ground

Posted by Admin On November - 17 - 2016

At Issue: Trump and Police Reform

The U.S. Department of Justice under the administration of Donald Trump“could choose to either drop or drastically reduce the scope” of its investigation of racial bias and excess force issues in the Chicago Police Department, the Marshall Project reports. During his campaign, Trump frequently cited violence on Chicago as evidence that police need to “get tough.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he remains committed to reforming CPD, regardless of the outcome of the Justice Department investigation, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Youtube/Boys and Girls Club of Chicago)

“A U.S. official familiar with the [Chicago] investigation said that it is ‘unlikely’ that the inquiry will wrap up before Trump is sworn in, and that once the new Justice Department leaders are in place, they could react to the investigation by deciding to take out some required reforms,” the Washington Post reported.

“The official said, though, that it was unlikely that new leadership would opt to override the results of the Chicago investigation or others that resulted in reform agreements already in place. Such inquiries are carried out by career officials rather than political appointees.”

Trump’s advocacy of “law and order” and his praise for stop-and-frisk tactics contrast sharply with the emphasis of the Obama administration, which “has strongly advocated community policing and decried strategies it considers unconstitutional or discriminatory,” according to the Associated Press.

Reform in the states

“Trump’s victory may be fatal to the unusually bipartisan campaign to reduce prison sentences, invest in rehabilitation, and otherwise render the federal justice system more humane and effective,” according to the Marshall Project. His “law-and-order entourage… constitutes a virtual counter-reform movement, favoring longer sentences, fuller prisons and militarized policing.”

Reform advocates “may well opt to turn their attention to the states, where most of America’s criminal justice is practiced, and where officials of both parties have been receptive to alternatives.”

In the same election in which Trump prevailed, voters backed criminal justice reforms in a number of states, endorsing ballot initiatives to reduce incarceration levels in California and Oklahoma, reform bail practices in New Mexico, and institute gun control measures in California, Nevada, and Washington, the Marshall Project reported.

In Illinois, however, growing momentum behind Gov. Bruce Rauner’s call for criminal justice reform could become a victim to the state’s toxic environment, Rich Miller warned in Crain’s – especially after Rauner paid for mailers attacking a Villa Park Democrat for backing a reform bill that Rauner himself had supported and signed.

As Kim Foxx was elected Cook County State’s Attorney on a platform of criminal justice reform, candidates running on promises of reducing incarceration levels won elections as local prosecutor in Tampa, Houston, and Denver, according to the Marshall Project. And in addition to Cook County, voters in St. Louis, Atlanta and Orlando elected African Americans for the first time to serve as local prosecutors.

Sanctuary City

Meanwhile, with Trump threatening to cut off federal funding for “sanctuary cities,” two City Council members called on Gov. Rauner to declare his support of Chicago’s policies. Ald. Danny Solis (22nd) and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) called on Rauner to “stand up for Chicago.”

At a press conference Monday, Mayor Emanuel declared that Chicago “will always be a sanctuary city.”

The city’s welcoming ordinance, barring police from inquiring about individuals’ immigration status, was strengthened last month to prohibit threats and other abuse against immigrants. Ald. Carlos Rosa (35th) has called for further strengthening it, eliminating exceptions that allow CPD to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when an immigrant has an outstanding warrant, has been convicted of a felony, is a defendant in a criminal case, or is listed as a gang member in a law enforcement database.


Ald. Carlos Rosa (Darryl Holliday)

Advocacy groups “say this is about due process and equal treatment,” writes Marlen Garcia in the Sun-Times. Protections for immigrants are needed to allay fears that prevent them from reporting crimes or cooperating with police, according to advocates.

“There’s no legal definition of a sanctuary city” – and law enforcement agencies that refuse to cooperate with ICE are found in Republican as well as Democratic regions, in rural areas as well as big cities, according to the Marshall Project. Many sheriff’s departments refuse to honor ICE “detainer requests” – requests that individuals be jailed beyond their release date so ICE has time to detain them – in part to avoid lawsuits. Federal courts have ruled that the requests are legally binding, so counties that honor them may be violating individuals’ constitutional rights.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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