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Community Sues to Stop Police Funding Based on Multiple Violations of Law By City

Community Sues to Stop Police Funding Based on Multiple Violations of Law By City

Click to Download Filed Motion PDF

Click to Download Filed Complaint PDF

PRESS RELEASE:

The organizations and individuals that make up the #NoCopAcademy coalition filed suit
today to stop tomorrow afternoon’s expected Chicago City Countil vote to fund a new police
facility. “The City, through its elected leaders, have engaged in a series of acts designed to tamp
down dissent, eliminate debate and avoid discussion on funding issues related to this particular
police facility,” said Attorney Brendan Shiller, one of the attorneys representing the coalition.
“In so doing, the City has violated both the Open Meetings Act and its own ordinances.”

On Tuesday, when the funding ordinance was to be debated at the City Council’s Budget
Committee hearing, Committee Chairman Carrie Austin (34th) moved the issue to first on the
agenda and held a quick vote without debate or comment of any type. This conduct violated
the Open Meetings Act as detailed in the attached civil complaint that was filed this morning.

Then on Wednesday at the regular City Council Meeting, the City engaged in its tradition
of stacking the city council gallery to block dissenters from entering the gallery—a tradition that
Rahm Emanual has continued as a way to avoid debate. Also on Wednesday, when two
aldermen used the routine procedure of deferring and publishing (currently called “deferred
and postpone”), the Mayor and other members of the City Council violated the City of
Chicago Municipal Code and City Council Rules, by suspending the meeting and continuing it
for 48 hours for hearing on the funding issue. Pursuant to Rule 27 of the City Council rules, a
motion to Defer, continues the ordinance until “the next succeeding regular meeting.” The
spirit of the tradition of allowing two aldermen to defer and publish is so that the public has
more opportunity for input. The letter of the rule is that there is to be sufficient time in
between meetings to allow this input. If the Mayor and the City Council votes on the funding
issue on Friday, they will be violating their own rules.

“This week we have seen the worst of Chicago politics,” Said Shiller. “We have seen this
administration and City Council leaders display the most Trumpian of government thuggery to
tamp down debate and avoid true discussion and deliberation.”

“These are more than mere technical violations” explained Shiller Preyar civil rights
attorney Abby Bakos. “this goes to the heart of democracy and ensuring that our legislators are
fully informed when they vote. Rahm and Alderman Mitts may believe that pouring money
into a gym for police is economic development (and not a sop to government workers with
little benefit to the community), that will actually lead to better training outcomes, and is a wise
expenditure of limited city resources (instead of funding jobs and education). If they believe
that, they should be able to defend those positions in open debate and with true scrutiny. But
they ran from that debate, and violated the law to avoid that debate.”

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