The Chicago Police Department is hoping to unveil its new foot chase policy by the fall of 2021. They were supposed to have already developed a new protocol for pursuing suspects on foot, however, they missed the deadline. Officials have cited the lack of enough data for the reasoning behind missing their deadline.
On Friday, September 3, police officials stated they were unclear on what data they needed. Nor did they mention how long it was going to take to collect said data. However, officials expect to have the changes in place before the end of the year.
Citizens and activists have been calling for a change to the police department’s foot chase policy since 13-year-old Adam Toledo was killed during a police pursuit. On March 29, Chicago police officers encountered Toledo and a 21-year-old man. According to officials, the department’s ShotSpotter technology detected eight gunshots in a Latino neighborhood of the city’s West Side.
When officers arrived 13-year-old Toledo and the 21-year-old man ran; a foot chase was conducted after which an “armed confrontation” happened.
The Chicago Police Department stated that officers saw Toledo holding a gun. They added that in the bodycam footage a gun can be seen in the young man’s hand. Eight-tenths of a second later, Toledo was shot.
One member of Chicago’s Coalition of Latino attorneys, Arturo Jáuregui, stated
If the purpose of the delay is that the city has a well thought-out, constitution-driven policy for foot pursuits, we can wait another 30 or 60 days.
He further noted that the Chicago group would be “impatient” beyond that time frame.
In June, Chicago enacted temporary changes to its foot chase policy after the deaths of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez and Toledo. However, groups in the community believe the policy is vague and it would not have prevented the deaths of Alvarez and Toledo.
Officials stated they are delaying the city’s new permanent policy at the encouragement of U.S. District Judge Robert Dow — he oversees the Chicago Police Department’s compliance with a wide-range federal consent decree.
In a letter to community groups, the police department stated, “CPD fully embraces this need for greater data transparency and data-informed policy making, as we believe that getting the policy right is more important than completing the policy quickly.”
Back in April, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for reforms to how police officers pursue suspects on foot. During a press conference held at New Life Church — located on the city’s West Side — she stated, “We cannot and will not push the foot pursuit reform off for another day.”
Lightfoot added, “No longer can we afford to put off to tomorrow what we can address today, because lives are truly at stake.”
Many people are hoping the department releases its new foot pursuit policy sooner rather than later.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Fox 23 Chicago: Chicago police delay making foot chase policy permanent, saying more data needed
CNN: Chicago police say bodycam footage shows less than a second passes from when 13-year-old is seen holding a handgun and is shot by officer; by Peter Nickeas, Dakin Andone, and Emma Tucker
USA Today: Chicago mayor calls for reform after 13-year-old Adam Toledo shot dead by police; family wants to see police video; by John Bacon, Christine Fernando, and Grace Hauck
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Steve Baker’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License