Changes to the criminal justice system and policing are what one lawmaker calls one of the few bright spots from legislative action this year. The changes taking effect on January 1 range from setting standards and providing money for police-worn body cameras to prohibiting the use of chokeholds by police to eliminating automatic transfers of juvenile offenders to adult courts. State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) wishes the bipartisan work on these issues would transfer over to other matters.
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“They’re historically difficult issues,” Raoul said. “Given that in this time of otherwise partisan gridlock and regional divide we’ve been able to come together on this, it provides a glimmer of hope on what we may be able to do in other policy areas.” Some of the changes touch on issues brought up after the killing of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer, such as requiring an independent investigation of all officer-involved shootings, and creating guidelines for a special prosecutor to be appointed in those cases.