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Chicago: ECPS Coalition demands immediate appointment of Commission for Public Safety

By staff

Chicago press conference demands immediate appointment of Commission for Public

Chicago, IL – The Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) Coalition held a press conference on July 20, to demand that Mayor Lori Lightfoot appoint the Interim Commission for Public Safety and Accountability immediately. According to the ECPS ordinance passed on July 21 last year, the Interim Commission should have been appointed in December.

“The ECPS ordinance passed one year ago this month,” said Alderman Carlos Ramirez Rosa, “and the people of Chicago still do not have a meaningful voice in the policing that impacts them.”

“We have received many promises from the mayor. Her office said the commission would be appointed in December, then they said January, then February, then they said definitely in April, and now it’s July,” said Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) Field Organizer Frank Chapman, “We’re tired of the promises, and we demand that she appoint the commissioners now!” The most recent promise, that the commission would be appointed at the beginning of August, came from a meeting between the mayor’s office and the ECPS coalition on the July 15.

ECPS Coalition members say the people of Chicago should not have had to wait this long, and any further delays are unacceptable. “Mayor, we need you to get this done now!” declared Armanda Shackelford, mother of CPD torture survivor Gerald Reed. “If we had community control of the police 30 years ago, my son never would have been convicted.”

“How many people have been brutalized and terrorized while we’re waiting?” asked Amika “Tree” Tendaji, a leader of Black Lives Matter Chicago. “I am determined that my children will not live in fear of police brutality.”

The coalition made no recommendations for who should be on the commission, but they did urge the mayor not to pick one of the nominees. “Appointing Patrick O’Connor would undermine the integrity of the commission,” said LaCreshia Birts, coordinator of the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA). O’Connor is a former Chicago Alderman with Daley family connections who famously caucused with reactionary white politicians to obstruct decisions made by the city’s first Black mayor, Harold Washington. O’Connor’s aldermanic tenure was marred by corruption scandals and opposition to police reform until he was unseated by progressive challenger Andre Vasquez in 2019.

“We need people on the commission and the local district councils who are interested in holding the police accountable,” said Kobi Guillory, co-chair of CAARPR. The coalition pledged to keep putting pressure on Mayor Lightfoot until she appoints the Interim Commission. Guillory added, “ECPS is the people’s ordinance. It was the people who got it passed, and it will be the people who get it enacted.”

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