Craig Futterman on Chicago Police's New Limits on Use of Force

Chicago Police Adopt New Limits on Use of Force
Mitch Smith and Timothy Williams
The New York Times
May 17, 2017

Chicago officials, and even some longtime skeptics of the department, hailed the new regulations as a sign that the police here are improving even though federal scrutiny of the department has eased since President Trump was inaugurated.

But the rules set fewer limits on officers than a draft published in October, and some said they did not go far enough to prevent police abuses. The draft would have required officers to use the “least amount of force necessary,” while Wednesday’s version said only that force must be “objectively reasonable, necessary and proportional.”

The new regulations were perceived as one early measure of how cities under pressure to overhaul their police departments may proceed under an administration that does not favor federal consent decrees as a way to compel change.

Craig B. Futterman, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said the “watered-down” 42-page policy “shows a significant retreat” from a promise by Chicago’s leaders to address a pattern of civil rights violations described by federal investigators in the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency. Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged then to work toward a federal consent decree, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions is skeptical of such agreements, and one seems unlikely to materialize.

Craig B. Futterman