The unanimous vote by the interim Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability caps an effort that began in 2017 to stop the Chicago Police Department from using databases to track Chicagoans they believe to be in a gang.
Inspector General Deborah Witzburg backed the term limit, saying it will protect the watchdog’s independence and bring “stability, order, independence” to the office.
Limiting the city’s watchdog to two terms would bring “stability, order, independence” to the office, which oversees all city departments and contractors as well as the mayor’s office, City Council and its committees, current Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said.
The board in a 5-3 vote Thursday moved to terminate Sgt. Alex Wolinski, finding that he committed multiple rule violations and a “failure of leadership … so serious as to be incompatible with continued service.”
“It’s so important that we actually get this information out, not just for me, but for any of these other cases that they are holding back, giving us all the details," Shapearl Wells said. “It is so crucial for the public to find out what’s actually happening in Chicago.”
“It is an absurd denial that lacks human generosity,” journalist Jamie Kalven said.
“Seven years, and we still don’t have the answers. We still don’t know what happened to my son. Seven years, I’m still fighting, trying to find the truth.”
The 94-page report obtained by the city's former inspector general details lapses by the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Department of Buildings. Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined repeated calls to make it public.
Unlimited contributions to political action commitees exploit what campaign finance experts told WTTW News is a loophole in laws governing the role of money in Chicago’s elections.
A recent investigation by Injustice Watch found that the Chicago Police Department has prevented undocumented immigrants who are victims of crimes from qualifying to apply for temporary status.
The dispute over the future of the gang database represents the first clash between the Police Department’s leaders and the commission made up of Chicagoans given the authority to set policy for the department in an attempt to restore trust in its operations.
The interim Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability will hold a virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss a draft of the policy that would govern the new gang database, dubbed the Criminal Enterprise Information System.
A summary of the results of the probe conducted by former Inspector General Joseph Ferguson was released in January, as required by city law. However, Lightfoot has rejected calls from Little Village residents and environmental justice organizations to release the full results of the investigation into the implosion at the former Crawford coal power plant, which sent a plume of dust over six blocks of homes in April 2020.
Police officials, including Superintendent David Brown, have repeatedly told members of the Chicago City Council that the new gang database — dubbed the Criminal Enterprise Information System — would be up and running shortly, only to see those deadlines repeatedly missed without explanation.
A unanimous endorsement of the Ethics and Government Oversight Committee means Deborah Witzburg’s nomination is set to win the approval of the full City Council April 27.
Two sources told WTTW News that Lightfoot will ask the Chicago City Council to confirm Deborah Witzburg as the city’s inspector general. Witzburg resigned as Chicago’s deputy inspector general for public safety on Nov. 1, saying she would apply for the top job.