As a pastor and advocate for police accountability, I was pleasantly surprised of the content in an online sneak preview of the findings of Mayor Emanuel’s handpicked police accountability task force.
I applaud them for their hard work and the due diligence employed over the last four months.
This task force should be commended for courageously putting in writing the “butt naked” truth regarding the Chicago Police Department’s racist practices against people of color.
It would be a shame for the mayor to repeat the misstep that he recently made with his own police board, when he circumvented the selection process and ignored their recommendations for superintendent.
The stakes at this time are much too high for him to disregard his task force’s findings and recommendations; it would further weaken his leadership to a greater extent than it already is and put a death nail into his claim of achieving Chicago police reform.
Most people on the West and South sides of the city already knew about the toothless and flawed Independent Police Review Authority. To put it bluntly, “IPRA is who we thought they were!”
So it is imperative that the mayor adheres to their top two requests: IPRA should be disbanded immediately, and the mayor and the new superintendent should formally apologize to the African-American community for the transgressions of a broken system rooted in racial bias and indifference.
The mayor has two choices.
He can play political games and reject the recommendations of his hand picked task force.
Or he can show the African-American community, a constituency that has been loyal in two elections, that he has our best interests at heart by displaying the will and commitment to implement the needed reform, which could possibly eventually help rehabilitate his own image and rebuild trust.
Just on Monday evening, another youth was killed by a Chicago police officer, 16-year- old Pierre Loury, the great nephew of one of my church members.
As I prayed with that family this week, it was difficult for me to assure them they will get justice for their loved one, considering that the flawed and illegitimate IPRA is charged with the responsibility of investigating the case.
With all that we now know about IPRA, there is no reason for these imposters to be investigating any cases of police abuse or excessive force.
IPRA should be disbanded now that it’s been confirmed by the mayor’s task force that they have severe competency, independence and integrity issues.
Rev. Ira Acree is pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin.