Police Abuse

Chicago Police Union Trying To Stop New Use-of-Force Policies

A new policy calls on cops to avoid using stun guns on people who are fleeing or may otherwise be susceptible to injury.


Poster Boy NYC/flickr

The Chicago police union has filed a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board, insisting that new use-of-force rules instituted by the police department should have been negotiated with the union.

New rules governing the use of stun guns were announced months after a broader set of use-of-force rules changes in May, and only after a Chicago Tribune exposé on the use of stun guns that pointed out the new rules did not prohibit cops from stunning fleeing individuals who posed no other threat.

The newest revision still doesn't ban the practice outright, instead calling on police officers to "avoid" using stun guns on individuals who are fleeing or intoxicated or could otherwise be prone to injury.

It's all still too much for the police union, which is worried the new rules open up its members to disciplinary action.

As Scott Shackford noted earlier today, "the circumstances by which the police are allowed to unleash violence on citizens should not be something subjected to collective bargaining."

Chicago police have amassed quite a stockpile of stun guns. They had 745 in 2015 and have about 4,000 now. According to a department spokesperson, there are enough stun guns to ensure every cop responding to a call can have one. Nevertheless, the department wants to buy 3,000 more.

The Tribune investigation found Chicago police used stun guns at least 4,700 times in the last decade, or more than once a day, primarily on African-Americans, and with little oversight.

The police union, and the collective bargaining privileges granted it by state laws, are a large part of the reason for the lack of substantive oversight and transparency in Chicago policing.

The way the union fights even modest reforms tooth and nail ought to illustrate the pressing need for states like Illinois to review and limit the privileges they grant public unions, particularly the ones representing government employees with the power of life and death over the people they serve.

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  1. What’s the police union’s position on thin crust pizza?

    1. Can you beat it up, shoot it, or have sexual relations with it? Is it a deep-fried food product with a hole in the middle?

      If none of the above apply, they’re still working on a policy.

  2. I suppose they’ll just have to go back to using bullets as compliance tools then, like the deputies did to that gal in San Antonio who just wouldn’t follow orders, and that six-year-old who… ah… refused… um… to… [voice trails off]

  3. Here’s a piece of wisdom from Tony from an earlier thread:

    “Whether cops or any other workers in any field should be able to collectively bargain for their interests is an entirely separate question from whether policing is abusive.”

  4. Stun guns, like all other weapons, should be only used for self defense. If someone robs me and runs away, I would be arrested if using a weapon against him.

    1. If you use it while he is robbing you, though, it’s all good.

  5. Obey or resign. How’s that for negotiation?

    1. Seriously? In Chicago?
      Obey or say goodbye to your pension and your family is more like it.
      Except that elected officials, unions, and cops are all involved, and all are exempt from ‘the rules’

  6. At least they’re looking at stun guns for humans. If it was dogs, they’d still just shoot them.

  7. First of all, you should never have to “negotiate” with a public employee union. Their job is to do what the public tells them to do. Second, we need to gut every single police “bill of rights” there is on the books and bust every single cop union.

    The police have made themselves an unaccountable gang, and we should have stopped this decades ago.

    1. hear hear

    2. suggestions:
      1. stay out of Chicago
      2. always carry the name of a good criminal defense lawyer with you, you are now on a list

  8. Public sector unions are such an obviously bad idea that even FDR opposed them.

    1. I would give oodles to see Trump author an executive order outlawing public sector unions.

      If he spun it right, he could even get the private sector unions to endorse the idea.

      Private sector unions without government support can only get the deals they want by improving the value proposition of the corporations products which makes consumers happy. Private sector unions are a win/win/win (unless they tank the company, which is still a win for a competitor).

      Private sector unions could earn a lot of credibility by throwing the public sector unions under the bus, if they use it as a teachable moment.

      1. Union against union (except in a jurisdiction dispute)?
        You live in a fantasy world.
        All unions teach is ‘union right or wrong; solidarity!’

  9. Unions are for losers.

    Police unions are for losers and cowards.

  10. Wow. Now I have seen it all. An associate editor at a libertarian publication calling for the disempowering of individuals seeking greater control over contractual agreements with their employer and the empowering of the government to impose unilateral restrictions over an employees right to contract. How is that libertarian?

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