‘We’re disappointed’: Criminal Justice Reform bill clears Illinois House and Senate, awaits Pritzker’s signature

Local News

A controversial police reform bill cleared the Illinois House and Senate Wednesday, and now heads to Governor J.B. Pritzker for signature.

The bill initiated by the Legislative Black Caucus would eliminate cash bail, ban the use of chokeholds among police, require body cameras for all law enforcement agencies, and require changes to the record keeping for officer misconduct.

Dora Villarreal, Rock Island County State’s Attorney says, “It completely changes the way our criminal justice system works.

She says while she’s all for reform, she says there is a lack of means and resources to do so.

“I do think we need reform. I think we need funding for reform. I don’t think you’ll find any law enforcement agency locally here that doesn’t agree with having body cameras here. The problem is the funding,” says Villarreal.

She says there are also other concerns.

Villarreal says, “The main concern is the victims rights, and a lot of violence that could occur due to this bill. It removes bond in the state of Illinois and moves it to pre-trial release.”

The bill has also drawn opposition from law enforcement.

“We’re disappointed that the lawmakers today pushed a bill through literally at the last midnight hour really with no input from law enforcement,” says Moline Police Chief Darren Gault.

Gault says many of the provisions like banning chokeholds, and using body camera is something many local departments are already leaders in.

“As local law enforcement leaders we’re certainly proud to be leaders in modernization in law enforcement, and all along we’re happy to be apart of that conversation. Our legislation was really standoffish in trying to work with us, and they really wanted to get it done before the lame duck session,” says Gault.

A provision which would have removed qualified immunity for individual police officers was eliminated from the new version on the bill.

Local 4 News also reached out to the Rock Island Chapter of the NAACP to get their response, however have not heard back.

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