Interim President Among 15 Chicagoans Nominated to Serve on Permanent CPD Oversight Board

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Fifteen Chicagoans were nominated Friday to serve on a permanent board of Chicagoans that will oversee the Chicago Police Department as part of a new era of oversight for the beleaguered law enforcement agency.

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Mayor Brandon Johnson faces an April 7 deadline to pick seven of the 15 nominees to serve on the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability and send those seven to the City Council for confirmation to serve four-year terms. The commission will oversee the entire Chicago Police Department and set citywide public safety policy.

Anthony Driver Jr., a South Side resident who serves as president of the interim commission, was nominated to serve on the permanent commission, which is designed to give Chicagoans real control of the police department as part of an effort to build trust in officers and police brass and put an end to repeated allegations of misconduct.

Also nominated was Remel Terry, a West Side resident who serves alongside Driver on the interim commission. Driver and Terry helped conduct a nationwide search for a replacement for former Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, selecting Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling as one of three finalists. After his appointment by Johnson, Snelling was unanimously confirmed by the City Council.

The nominees were selected from 120 applicants by a 22-member nominating committee, made up of one elected police district council member from each of Chicago’s 22 police districts. The final vote by that committee Friday was 17-1 to send the picks to Johnson.

Sam Schoenburg, a member of the three-person district council overseeing the Town Hall (19th) Police District, which includes Lakeview, who served on the nominating committee, praised the applicants as a “stellar group of people.”

West Side resident Deondre Rutues, a member of the Austin (15th) Police District Council, was the only elected member of the police district councils to be nominated to serve on the citywide commission, which is also known as the CCPSA.

If Rutues is appointed by the mayor and confirmed, he would be required to resign from his elected police district council position before joining the commission, said Adam Gross, the executive director of the CCPSA.

The other nominees are:

  • Jose Abonce, a South Side resident who is the senior program manager for the Policing Project’s Chicago Neighborhood Policing Initiative.
  • Bernardo Gomez, a North Side resident who works for the Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement and serves as the chair of the city’s Disability Resource Group.
  • Aaron Gottlieb, a North Side resident and professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.
  • Nakiyah Matthews, a West Side resident who works as an academic advisor for Introspect Youth Services.
  • Art Mitchell, a North Side resident and lawyer who works for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
  • Abierre Minor, a South Side resident who served as chief of staff for state Sen. Mattie Hunter.
  • Angel Rubi Navarijo, a North Side resident who serves as director of constituent services for Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (48th Ward).
  • Kelly Presley, a West Side resident and lawyer who works for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
  • Nyshana Sumner, a South Side resident who works as an assistant state’s attorney.
  • Sandra Wortham, a South Side resident and attorney who serves as an administrative law judge for the city of Chicago.
  • La’Mont Williams, a South Side resident and the chief of staff for Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry (3rd District).
  • Edward Washington II, a South Side resident and a retired Circuit Court of Cook County judge.

All seven commissioners must have lived in Chicago for at least five years, and the CCPSA must be made up of at least two North Side residents, two South Side residents and two West Side residents, according to the rules.

In addition, at least two commissioners must be attorneys with expertise in civil rights, civil liberties or criminal defense or prosecution. Another commissioner must have experience in community organizing. Two other commissioners must be between the ages of 18 and 24, according to the rules.

However, commissioners cannot have worked for CPD, COPA or the Police Board in the past five years, according to the rules.

Giving a board of Chicagoans a real say in how the department operates is the final change demanded by advocates to be put in place in the wake of the 2014 police murder of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The commission has the final say on policy for the Chicago Police Department, but the mayor can veto the commission’s decisions. In turn, the mayor’s action could be overridden by a two-thirds vote by the City Council.

The commission will have the power to hire the head of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, known as COPA, which is the agency charged with probing police misconduct. In addition to conducting the search for a new police superintendent, when necessary, the commission is also charged with filling empty spots on the Chicago Police Board, which disciplines officers.

The commission will have the power to pass a resolution of no confidence in the superintendent and any member of the Chicago Police Board with a two-thirds vote. That could trigger City Council action.

The president of the commission will be selected by a vote of the commissioners and be paid $15,000 annually. Commissioners will earn $12,000, according to city law.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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