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For Immediate Release: January 22, 2024

In Chicago, Color Of Change Urges City Council to Oppose Arbitrator’s Reaffirmed Ruling Which Would Set Police Accountability Back 60 Years 

CHICAGO  –  On January 24th, Chicago’s City Council is set to vote on a recently reaffirmed ruling by Arbitrator Edwin Benn. If accepted, the ruling would allow Chicago Police Department officers accused of serious misconduct to bypass the Police Board and, instead, have their cases reviewed in closed-door, private arbitration. In advance of this vote, Color Of Change released the following statement from Michael Collins, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Color Of Change

“On December 13, 2023, Chicago’s City Council sent a message to the Fraternal Order of Police, to Arbitrator Benn, and to opponents of transparency: Accountability for police misconduct is not negotiable. As we see another round of voting introduced by Arbitrator Benn’s reaffirmation, Color Of Change strongly urges Alderpersons to once again vote in opposition to the Arbitrator’s ruling. This proposal, pushed by Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, is without question an attempt to put the well-being of police over the necessity of public safety. Police officers accused of serious misconduct are threats to community safety, and those cases demand thorough and public investigation, without exception. Arbitrator Benn’s ruling minimizes how this decision will disproportionately impact Black, Latine, low-income, and disabled Chicagoans who face increased risk and rates of police violence and misconduct. We know that pro-police organizers are applying pressure on Alderpersons, to flip votes and to secure a win that would dismantle processes that have set a standard for public transparency in regard to police misconduct, a standard that’s precedence has held police accountable for 60 years.  In the face of this pressure, we urge Alderpersons to vote with a whole understanding that accepting this ruling would put their community in harm’s way, while entitling police officers to act with little consequence.”

“Color Of Change is a founding member of the Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency (CPAT), a cohort of more than a dozen community-based, civil rights and justice reform organizations focused on protecting and expanding mechanisms for police accountability and transparency in the city of Chicago. We also have 45,000+ Color Of Change members based in Cook County. This vote is personal, and we will continue to activate our members and engage with powerful local partnerships that retain and expand the systems that hold police accountable, and keep communities safe.”


In addition to the above statement, Color Of Change and CPAT penned a letter to the Chicago City Council, condemning Mr. Benn’s reaffirmed ruling and outlining our full concern in regard to the expected vote on January 24th. For a more thorough depiction of our efforts to ensure police are held to the highest standard of accountability for their misconduct, read the full letter here

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