• Alex Nitkin
    MAR 01, 2022

    News in brief: COPA touts new hires, consent decree progress; Aldermen push to revoke Moscow ‘sister city’ status


    The Civilian Office of Police Accountability published a summary of its work in 2021 saying it’s ramped up transparency efforts. And dozens of aldermen filed a City Council order finding a new way to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

    COPA REPORT  — The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) closed 1,085 investigations of police misconduct in 2021 — a decrease from the previous year, according to a new report made public on Monday. In the report, COPA Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten touted the office’s expanded transparency efforts, saying her team added eight new positions responsible for sifting through Freedom of Information Act requests and is working this year to “fully 

    implement the new Video Release & Transparency Unit, ensuring information is released to the public in a responsible and expedited manner without compromise to the integrity of an investigation in the furtherance of transparency and trust.” The City Council confirmed Kersten as the office’s chief last week after she led the office in an interim capacity for about 10 months following the departure of Sydney Roberts last spring. COPA responded to the scene of 37 officer-involved shootings in 2021 and released 38 “transparency materials” of police shootings, according to the report. The report also notes that by the end of last year, COPA had hit 72 percent of the benchmarks outlined for it in the federal consent decree that has governed the city’s public safety offices since 2019. The agency “expects to continue improving on its compliance percentage” when the next consent decree report comes out within the next several weeks, according to the report. The Chicago Police Department missed the deadline last fall on about 40 percent of its consent decree deadlines for that period — an improvement over the first year of the federal oversight, when the department missed more than 70 percent of reform deadlines  

    MOSCOW ORDER — Two-thirds of the Chicago City Council signed and published a proposed City Council order on Monday calling on the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to revoke Moscow’s status in Chicago’s “Sister Cities” arts and cultural exchange program as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensifies. Citing “Russia’s unprovoked invasion and war,” the order calls on Chicago to sever cultural ties with Moscow and “any participating nation that vocalizes support” for the Russian invasion. Launched in 1990, The Sister Cities program facilitates cultural exchanges between Chicago and 29 cities around the world, including Kyiv and Moscow. The order also stipulates that “any revoked Chicago Sister Cities Program participant…shall not be considered for re-admittance for participation in the program until normal diplomatic relations are reinstated.” The proposal comes less than a week after the City Council unanimously passed a resolution (R2022-72) affirming the city’s “support for [the] independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” 

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