The Chicago Police Department (CPD) Independent Monitoring Team is responsible for assessing the CPD’s and the City of Chicago’s (City’s) compliance with the required elements of the Consent Decree.

In December 2015, the U.S. Attorney General launched a broad civil rights investigation into the CPD’s policing practices. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released the results of its investigation in January 2017, finding a longstanding, pervasive “pattern or practice” of civil rights abuses by the CPD.[1]

In August 2017, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General (OAG) sued the City in federal court, seeking a Consent Decree that would address DOJ’s findings and recommendations. The case was assigned to Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. The OAG then sought input from community members and Chicago police officers and negotiated the Consent Decree with the City.

In March 2018, the Parties to the Consent Decree, the OAG and the City, also entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with “certain community organizations that have established a broad-based community coalition (‘Coalition’) committed to monitoring, enforcing, and educating the community about” the Consent Decree.[2]

The OAG and the City then sought proposals for an Independent Monitoring Team after posting a draft Consent Decree on the Chicago Police Consent Decree website.[3] In October 2018, Judge Dow received public feedback on the proposed Consent Decree through written comments and two days of public fairness hearings. Judge Dow approved and signed the Consent Decree on January 31, 2019. The Consent Decree requires actions by the CPD and many other City entities.

On March 1, 2019, the effective date of the Consent Decree, and after a competitive selection process, Judge Dow appointed Ms. Maggie Hickey, a Partner in the Schiff Hardin law firm, as the Independent Monitor. Judge Dow also appointed Judge David H. Coar, Ret., as a special master. As special master, Judge Coar is not a member of the Independent Monitoring Team, but he will “help facilitate dialogue and assist the [OAG], the City, and other stakeholders in resolving issues that could delay progress toward implementation of the Consent Decree.”[4] Both Ms. Hickey, as the Independent Monitor, and Judge Coar, as the special master, will report directly to Judge Dow.

As the Monitor, Ms. Hickey leads a team of professionals and consultants from Schiff Hardin and the CNA Institute for Public Research, including subject matter experts, members of the Independent Monitoring Team’s Community Engagement Team, and other partners. Our role as the Independent Monitoring Team is to assess the CPD’s and the City’s compliance with the required elements of the Consent Decree. Learn more about our team here.


Notice Regarding IMT Special Report on Response to Recent Events

Paragraph 665 of the Consent Decree permits the Independent Monitor to “prepare written reports on any issue or set of issues covered by” the Consent Decree. Since the May 25, 2020 tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Chicago is experiencing a rise in First Amendment activity, civil unrest, and related law enforcement activities that span issues covered by the Consent Decree. To promote transparency under the Consent Decree, I will prepare a special report on the response of the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”) to these recent events.

I will seek direct input from a variety of sources—including, but not limited to, members of Chicago’s communities, the CPD, and other City entities—in preparing the report. Pursuant to Paragraph 667, I will also coordinate and confer with the Office of the Inspector General for the City of Chicago.

Margaret A. Hickey
June 5, 2020

View the full Notice Regarding Special Report Here


Stipulation Regarding the Policy and Training Review Process for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA)

The City, the “OAG,” and the Monitor agreed to a stipulation regarding the scope and applicability of paragraphs 626 through 637 and paragraphs 640 and 641 of the Consent Decree for COPA. View the full stipulation here.


COVID-19 Updates

In light of the current pandemic, on March 27, 2020, Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. ordered that “all the future obligations and deadlines under the Consent Decree, including those for the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and the Independent Monitor, be extended for the longer of 30 days or the time period the COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8 issued by the Governor of the State of Illinois remains in effect.” View the full order here.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois also issued orders in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 public emergency. View the latest March 30, 2020 General Order, which superseded a March 16, 2020 General Order.


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[1] DOJ Civil Rights Division and United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois, Investigation of Chicago Police Department (January 13, 2017) at 4, available at http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/DOJ-INVESTIGATION-OF-CHICAGO-POLICE-DEPT-REPORT.pdf.

[2] See Memorandum of Agreement Between the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and the City of Chicago and Campbell v. City of Chicago Plaintiffs and Communities United v. City of Chicago Plaintiffs (March 20, 2018), available at http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Executed_MOA.pdf.

[3] More information about the IMT selection process is available on this website, which the OAG administers. See Independent Monitor, Chicago Police Consent Decree, http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/independent-monitor/. Other resources, such as Consent Decree documents, court filings, and reports, are also available on this website. See Resources, Chicago Police Consent Decree, http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/resources/.

[4] About, Chicago Police Consent Decree, http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/about/.