A member of the Citizen Police Complaint Assessment Committee claimed Wednesday night that Evanston police supervisors are discouraging residents from filing formal complaints against officers.

Karen Courtright said twice within the past three weeks a civilian was preparing to file a formal complaint against an officer, but was dissuaded by a supervisor who said they would take care of the matter, and ensure the officer’s alleged misconduct was noted in their file.  

Courtright said, “This must happen with some regularity if it happened twice in three weeks within my circle of acquaintances. In both cases a sergeant got involved and a formal police complaint was never filed.”

The department has reported receiving on average 14 formal complaints annually in recent years, and a new database on the city website indicates six complaints were filed through August of this year.

Randy Foreman

Committee member Randy Foreman said a lot of residents are hesitant to fill out a form complaining about police mistreatment since it requires their name, phone number, address and drivers license number.  He says they fear police will retaliate against them for lodging a complaint.

Bobby Burns

Bobby Burns, president of the Evanston Collective, told committee members he has concerns beyond filling out complaint forms. “Police investigating themselves, that’s a conflict of interest that needs to be front and center of this committee, if it’s not, we’re not really going to get anywhere”. 

Jeff Parker.

Committee member Jeff Parker added, “Our major goal here is that citizens trust the system, but we want police to trust the system as well.”

Wednesday night’s sparsely attended police complaint committee meeting

The committee was formed last month. It is supposed to report back in June to the Human Services Committee with recommendations to improve the police complaint system.

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  1. A racist hammer in search of the proverbial nail

    It’s amazing to me to see all of this organization and energy criticizing and accusing our local police of mistreating African Americans while most of the violent crime, gun possession, drug dealing and burglary convictions are committed by African Americans.  News flash – police go where the crime is.

    It seems the black community and activists are just lashing out and blaming police for problems in its own community. When you have the majority of black kids being born in single parent households immediately you are creating an environment of poverty and government reliance and increasing the odds of drug abuse and crime. Compound that with the fact that blacks and only blacks grow up hearing constant messages that they are the only victims of racism, white privilege, institutional racism, police brutality and so on. In this environment,  it’s easy for one to blame the racist society when something goes wrong in their life. 

    Former Chicago Bulls player Craig Hodges popped in at the high school this week talking about racism and how the NBA mistreated him. How do ya expect black teens to react when they hear constantly from authoratative figures that there’s rampant racism all around them, holding them down and impeding their pursuit of happiness. More importantly, how do white, Asian and hispanic kids react when they hear constant messages that blacks are victims of racism and the perps are white or Asian or maybe hispanic? 

    Courtright has said publicly police are victims of a “white supremacy culture.” She to my knowledge has offered no substantive evidence of those outrageous and egregious claims. It’s true that there are a few bad cops out there in America who have targeted people based on the color of their skin but it does not mean there is rampant racism in America. Police in America last year shot and kileld more whites than blacks. Don’t forgeet blacks commit the majority of violent crime in America. 

    There is a well organized and well funded cottage industry of keeping the racism claims alive. Simply screaming racism doesn’t make it so. Tons of so called activist groups hack away relentlessy everyday crying that there’s racism in our schools, courts, police agencies, goverment, frat houses, the media, etc with so much intensity that they in effect are angering people and then identifying the anger as an example of racism. They are creating the illusion of rampant racism. They are the hammer in a never ending search for the nail. They are themselves the racists they seek.

    1. Hammers and nails.

      I hope that no one else responds to the message above. There is nothing that can be gained from responding.

      1. Exactly

        Exactly. According to you and many others the aforementioned opinion and facts need to be ignored and silenced. There’s no room for debate. Nothing can be gained by talking about these issues from this point of view. It should be accepted that police primarily shoot and kill blacks because they are racists and victims of a “white supremacy culture.” 

        This mindset is what causes riots on American university campus’ and violently shutting down  speeches by conservative authors.

      2. I Will Respond…

        What Al said is uncomfortable to hear but a topic that needs addressing. I wholeheartedly believe the reason Donald Trump got elected is because of people like Courtwright stirring up issues that don’t need to be. Court eight is NOT black, has NOT experienced racism, yet she thinks she knows what’s  best.  Most non-racist white people are getting sick of everything being racist while at the same time nobody taking responsibility for high crime rates and nearly 800 people killed in Chicago last year (not by the police btw).   Truth be told, there is more crime, especially violent crime, in the black community. There are many reasons behind this, not the least being institutional racism. The problem is, in America we have tended to blame the police for all these ills. Mark my word: THE POLICE WILL BECOME HANDS OFF in the black community.  They get paid the same whether they patrol proactively or not.  Which community is gonna suffer the negative results of that?  Be careful, Ms. Courtwright, your good intentions may have unintended consequences. 

  2. The Reason for the empty room
    Bill, Thank you for the insightful reporting. The empty room picture conveys the community’s sentiments. Karen Courtright’s quixotic crusade does not warrant any attention. Evanston residents voted with their time. I would never be at these meetings/ I will not be in the same room as Karen Courtright or Bobby Burns.

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