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The Evanston City Clerk’s Office has announced a policy, effective July 27, requiring the public release of all police misconduct records and records related to Use of Force incidents in which a firearm, Taser, or stun gun is discharged, or in which a chemical agent is utilized.
In his statement announcing the policy, City Clerk Devon Reid said it is “aimed at increasing accountability and transparency with records in the Evanston Police Department.”
These records will be made publicly available on the City of Evanston website within 15 business days of the formal complaint filing or Use of Force incident.
Mr. Reid said that, as the custodian and keeper of records in the City of Evanston, he holds the authority to determine the disposition of City records, thus granting him the power to institute this new policy.
Additionally, he said, the public nature of these records, as affirmed by Kalven v. Chicago (2014), means that they are alternatively accessible by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA requires all public records must be released within 10 business days of their receipt, should a resident wish to request the information prior to its public release on the City website.
Mr. Reid also said, “Evanston is a leader in transparency and livability in Illinois, and the proactive public release of police records reaffirms this. The Clerk’s Office is proud to make Evanston one of the first municipalities in the State to publicly release police misconduct complaint records, following Chicago’s lead, and likely the first municipality in the State to publicly release Use-of-Force records by weapon.
This policy has been in the works for about a year now, Mr. Reid said, adding he had met with the Evanston Police Department, multiple local leaders, the Invisible Institute, and attorneys at Loevy & Loevy in the process of developing the policy.
He thanked Jordi Amaral, Isaac Slevin, Merrick Wayne, Anne Marie Tamburro, Jamie Kalven, and Matt Topic “for their work to make this policy a reality.” This is a powerful, tangible step in the right direction for Evanston as we work to be a community that all Evanston residents can be proud of,” said Mr. Amaral, the Assistant to the City Clerk.