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How Police Union Contracts Shield Police Departments from DOJ Reforms

By Adeshina Emmanuel & Campaign Zero

Insight:In These Times reviewed the 17 consent decrees reached between local governments, police departments and the Justice Department between 1997 and 2016, as well as news articles and federal monitors’ reports discussing how cities have—and have not—complied with the settlements. In at least seven cases, collective bargaining agreements presented a roadblock to achieving key reforms required by the settlements. Police unions watered down measures that contradicted their contracts, or they launched legal challenges that, even when unsuccessful, delayed implementation.

Members of BYP100’s Chicago chapter rally on January 16 at the Fraternal Order of Police credit union demanding that the city divest from the police department. (Photo by Sara Jane Rhee)

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