WTTW | Lawyers and Activists Blast Mayor, Police for Lack of Consent Decree Progress

Roxanne Smith is a leader at Communities United, a grassroots organization working for racial justice and police reform. Seventeen years ago her son Seneca was shot six times by police officers after being chased on foot. Based largely on officers’ statements he was arrested and convicted of attempted murder of a police officer despite no gun ever being found. He remains incarcerated.

Smith is especially critical of the police code of silence that often stops officers reporting misconduct committed by their colleagues.

“They just lied under oath,” said Smith. “I want to see change as far as the code of silence. When they know another officer has done something wrong and they just go along with it and cover for them … that is out of order. They need to be people of integrity. They need to have good character.”

The consent decree is supposed to force change in both practice and culture at the police department.

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