Roundup: February 24, 2023

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1. CPD grilled on officers’ ties to hate groups

Earlier this week, Chicago’s Public Safety Committee interrogated leaders of the Chicago Police Department about their handling of officers with ties to right-wing extremist groups.

CPD continues to protect officer Robert Bakker, who lied about his association with the Proud Boys and received only a 120-day suspension. He could return to work as soon as next week.

Alders on the committee blasted CPD for the mishandling of the case, condemning the department’s contradictory, erroneous statements that “send a chilling message to the public,” as Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez said.

The Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) is leading the charge to implement a new policy that would prohibit officers from associating with hate or extremist groups.

2. Chicago expands mental health crisis response

Since 2021, Chicago has been piloting the Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE), in which a team of paramedics, mental-health clinicians and, in some cases, police officers, respond to behavioral and mental-health related 911 calls.

There are an average of 175 such calls every day, yet the CARE mobile units have been responding to fewer than two per day. This number will likely increase next week, when expanded protocols and increased capacity will allow for CARE to respond to a wider variety of emergency calls.

This expansion is a step toward shifting our mental health approach away from police, but it is not a replacement for Treatment Not Trauma. JCUA and our partners are continuing to organize for a wholly non-police crisis line and the reopening of the city’s mental health clinics. Learn more about this campaign.

3. Biden proposes restrictive asylum policies

The Biden administration has proposed its most restrictive immigration policy yet. The proposal would ban migrants from applying for asylum if they have traveled through other countries and did not apply for asylum there first.

As former White House official Andrea Flores said, “this policy normalizes the white nationalist belief that asylum seekers from certain countries are less deserving of humanitarian protections.”

Immigration justice advocates are ready to take legal action, just as they did when the Trump administration enacted a similar policy. Seeking asylum is legal and a human right, regardless of how someone enters the country.

4. A new CVP project in South Chicago

Through our Community Ventures Program (CVP), JCUA has awarded a $100,000 zero-interest loan for SACRED Apartments — a partnership between Interfaith Housing Development Corporation (IHDC) and Claretian Associates. The loan will cover costs associated with the construction of 81 units of affordable housing and 6,000 square feet of commercial rental space in the South Chicago neighborhood of Chicago. Read more about the project!

5. A voter guide for the people

The Chicago election is in four days! Building off the momentum of our People’s Unity Platform forum last month, our coalition has released a mayoral voter guide that collects responses from candidates about our six marquee issue areas: violence prevention, public health and safety, housing, public education, air and environmental quality, community safety, and workers’ rights.

Before you to head to the polls, get informed on which candidates support Bring Chicago Home, Treatment Not Trauma, and more!