Illinois SAFE-T Act: Former Chicago-area police chief, prosecutor sound alarm over fast-tracked safety law

Chicago-area criminal justice professionals are raising red flags over the Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act, which passed through the entire Illinois legislature between 4 am and 11 am CT Jan. 13, 2021, and is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

The 764-page SAFE-T Act, simply put, is an overhaul of the Illinois criminal justice system.

“I could speak for police chiefs throughout the state. We reached out and tried to get our opinions across to our local legislators and then ask them to bring that to Springfield and sit down and have some negotiations with the bill’s sponsors,” former Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel told Fox News Digital. “And there was a little bit of back and forth … but, to me, it was just to … check a box and say, okay, you know what? We did talk to the Illinois Chiefs of Police Legislative Committee.”

Concerns about the SAFE-T Act

The law, which Gov. JB Pritzker signed last year, includes numerous provisions that proponents say will improve public safety in the state and make that criminal justice system more equitable.

The law, which Gov.  Jay Pritzker signed last year, includes numerous provisions that proponents say will improve public safety in the state and make that criminal justice system more equitable.

The law, which Gov. Jay Pritzker signed last year, includes numerous provisions that proponents say will improve public safety in the state and make that criminal justice system more equitable.
(Scott Olson)

“This police reform and accountability and criminal justice legislation is a substantial step toward dismantling systemic racism by bringing us closer to true safety, true fairness and true justice,” Pritzker said in February 2021 after signing the law.

ILLINOIS DEMOCRATS ACKNOWLEDGE ‘TWEAKS’ TO SAFE-T ACT LANGUAGE COULD BE MADE FOLLOWING PUBLIC OUTCRY

Critics of the law take issue with some of those provisions, including ending cash bail; prohibiting judges from considering a defendant’s previous behavior when determining whether he or she

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Texas District Attorney names San Antonio officer who shot 17-year-old in a McDonald’s parking lot

By Josh Campbell, Michelle Watson and Emma Tucker, CNN

The Texas police officer who shot a 17-year-old man while he was eating a meal in a McDonald’s parking lot last week has been named, as the teen remains in critical condition, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a statement.

San Antonio Officer James Brennand, described by the police department as a probationary officer with seven months of experience, was fired for violating the agency’s tactics, training and procedures, police said.

Brennand shot Erik Cantu, who was initially charged with evading detention in a vehicle and assaulting the officer, as Brennand had claimed he was struck by the door of the car as the teen backed up.

“While Sunday’s shooting of an unarmed teenager by a then-San Antonio Police officer remains under investigation, the facts and evidence we have received so far led us to reject the charges against Erik Cantu for further investigation,” Gonzales’ office said in a statement .

“Once SAPD completes its investigation into the actions of former Officer James Brennand and submits the case to our office, our Civil Rights Division will fully review the filing. As we do with all officer-involved shootings that result in death or serious injury, we will submit the case to a Grand Jury for their consideration. Until that happens, we can make no further comment on this matter.”

The teenager’s family issued a statement Monday saying he is in critical condition and undergoing surgeries to repair injuries to major organs from bullets.

“Erik is currently on a life support system that is keeping his lungs operating and remains on a vast amount of sedatives to hopefully ease the discomfort and pain,” the statement said.

“He has a great medical staff that has been working diligently around the clock to

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Society must reestablish respect for law enforcement

Six years ago, the law enforcement community experienced one of its darkest periods in recent memory.

On July 17, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, three police officers were shot and killed in an ambush-style attack by a deranged lone gunman. A fourth officer, gravely wounded in the shooting, ultimately succumbed to his injuries earlier this year after enduring years of rehabilitation. Two other officers were seriously injured.

That tragedy came on the heels of another mass-casualty event at Dallas-area police officers only a week before. Five police officers lost their lives in that shooting, with another nine seriously injured.

At the time, I was in the waning months of a nearly two-decade career in law enforcement. While I had seen police and community relations ebb and flow over the years and understood that violence directed against police officers was nothing new, the extreme violence, moral depravity, and callous indifference among some toward the murders in Dallas and Baton Rouge felt different.

In the aftermath of Baton Rouge, I wrote, “What we are experiencing right now no longer feels isolated. It no longer feels extraordinary. Sadly, this extreme violence against our men and women in blue is beginning to feel routine.”

Those attacks occurred at what at the time felt like a generational nadir in police and community relations, actively under the strain of an aggressive and growing anti-police movement spurred on by high-profile events sensationalized by a media more inclined toward inflaming public passions than being the neutral purveyor of facts.

While tensions eased over the next few years, the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis rekindled them. The ensuing civil unrest, riots, and violence that marked the response to Mr. Floyd’s death inspired the contemptible “defund the police” movement — a misguided narrative that systematically diminished

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In era of transparency, a new Arizona law limits filming of police

FILE - Phoenix Police stand in front of police headquarters on May 30, 2020, in Phoenix, waiting for protesters marching to protest the death of George Floyd.  Arizona's governor has signed into law a measure that makes it illegal to knowly record video of police officers within 8 feet (2.5 meters) or closer without an officer's permission, spurring concerns among civil rights activists about transparency and accountability.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Phoenix police officers stand in front of police headquarters on May 30, 2020, waiting for protesters marching after the death of George Floyd. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Arizona’s governor has signed a law that restricts how the public can video police at a time when there’s growing pressure across the US for greater law enforcement transparency.

Civil rights and media groups opposed the measure that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed Thursday. The law makes it illegal in Arizona to knowingly video police officers 8 feet or closer without an officer’s permission.

Someone on private property with the owner’s consent can also be ordered to stop recording if a police officer finds they are interfering or the area is not safe. The offense is a misdemeanor that would likely incur a fine without jail time.

There needs to be a law that protects officers from people who “either have very poor judgment or sinister motives,” said Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh, the bill’s sponsor.

“I’m pleased that a very reasonable law that promotes the safety of police officers and those involved in police stops and bystanders has been signed into law,” Kavanagh said Friday. “It promotes everybody’s safety yet still allows people to reasonably videotape police activity as is their right.”

The move comes nearly a year after the US Department of Justice launched a widespread probe of allegations that Phoenix police abused and used excessive force against homeless people. It’s similar to other investigations opened in recent months in Minneapolis and Louisville, Ky.

The Phoenix Police Department, serving the nation’s fifth-largest city, has been criticized in recent years for its use of force, which disproportionately affects Black and Native American residents.

The law has left opponents like KM Bell, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of

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In era of transparency, Arizona law limits filming police

FILE - Phoenix Police stand in front of police headquarters on May 30, 2020, in Phoenix, waiting for protesters marching to protest the death of George Floyd.  Arizona's governor has signed into law a measure that makes it illegal to knowly record video of police officers within 8 feet (2.5 meters) or closer without an officer's permission, spurring concerns among <a href=civil rights activists about transparency and accountability. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)” title=”FILE – Phoenix Police stand in front of police headquarters on May 30, 2020, in Phoenix, waiting for protesters marching to protest the death of George Floyd. Arizona’s governor has signed into law a measure that makes it illegal to knowly record video of police officers within 8 feet (2.5 meters) or closer without an officer’s permission, spurring concerns among civil rights activists about transparency and accountability. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)” loading=”lazy”/

FILE – Phoenix Police stand in front of police headquarters on May 30, 2020, in Phoenix, waiting for protesters marching to protest the death of George Floyd. Arizona’s governor has signed into law a measure that makes it illegal to knowly record video of police officers within 8 feet (2.5 meters) or closer without an officer’s permission, spurring concerns among civil rights activists about transparency and accountability. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

AP

Arizona’s governor has signed a law that restricts how the public can video police at a time when there’s growing pressure across the US for greater law enforcement transparency.

Civil rights and media groups opposed the measure that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed Thursday. The law makes it illegal in Arizona to knowingly video police officers 8 feet (2.5 meters) or closer without an officer’s permission.

Someone on private property with the owner’s consent can also be ordered to stop recording if a police officer finds they are interfering or the area is not safe. The penalty is a misdemeanor that would likely incur a fine without jail time.

There needs to be a law that protects officers from people who “either have very poor judgment or sinister motives,” said Republican Rep. John Kavanagh, the bill’s sponsor.

“I’m

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