CHICAGO POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY FORUM 2021

Presented by the Collaboration for Justice

The event is worth
1.25 MCLE credits
for Illinois lawyers


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Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts and the Chicago Council of Lawyers host an annual forum of police accountability focused on issues facing residents of Chicago. This year’s panel will cover issues related to accountability, transparency, and community oversight of the Chicago Police Department; implications of the recent SAFE-T Act, which includes provisions related to policing and the criminal legal system; and improvements for the future focused on racial equity and fairness.

CONFIRMED PANELISTS

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Sharon Fairley
Professor from Practice,
University of Chicago Law School

Andrea Kersten
Interim Chief Administrator, Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA)

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury
Roger Pascal Legal Director,
ACLU of Illinois

Deborah Witzburg
Deputy IG for Public Safety, Chicago Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

Jamie Kalven
Founder & Director,
Invisible Institute

Sharon Fairley has taught courses on criminal procedure, legal ethics, and public corruption at the University of Chicago Law School since 2015, becoming a Professor from Practice in 2019. Before joining the Law School, Ms. Fairley held positions as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois and the First Deputy Inspector General and General Counsel for the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General.

 

Following the police murder of Laquan McDonald in 2015, Sharon Fairley served as the Chief Administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and then helped create and build Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). 

Andrea Kersten is the Interim Chief Administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). She has previously served as a domestic violence advocate, an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, and an Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and has been instrumental in forming COPA’s Special Victims Unit, a group of specialized investigators dedicated to victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.

 

In 2020, Ms. Kersten helped form COPA’s Protest/Civil Unrest Unit, which is organized to address mass protest-related complaints against the Chicago Police Department.

Nusrat Jahan Choudhury has been the Roger Pascal Legal Director at the ACLU of Illinois since January 2020. Nusrat oversees the development and execution of strategic litigation against assaults on civil rights and civil liberties from Washington, DC, and leads a team working to advance civil liberties and human rights in Illinois.

 

Prior to joining the ACLU of Illinois, Nusrat Jahan Choudhury served as Deputy Director of the national ACLU Racial Justice Program and as a staff attorney in the ACLU National Security Project, working on a range of important matters.

Deborah Witzburg is the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety for the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

 

Before taking this position in 2020, Ms. Witzburg's roles with the OIG included advising on legal and constitutional matters related to OIG’s oversight of Chicago’s police and police accountability agencies; leading efforts to screen and review closed police disciplinary cases as well as evaluations of COPA, BIA, and the Police Board; and providing legal and strategic counsel for investigations of misconduct by City of Chicago employees.

Jamie Kalven is a writer and executive director of the Invisible Institute, a non-profit news agency that reports stories that surface abuses of power. Mr. Kalven was the plaintiff in Kalven v. Chicago (2014), in which the Illinois appellate court ruled that documents bearing on allegations of police misconduct are public information.

 

His reporting in Slate in 2015 first brought the police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention; and he co-produced 16 Shots, an Emmy-winning documentary on the McDonald case. In 2016, he published a series titled “Code of Silence” in The Intercept that exposed the criminal activities of a team of corrupt Chicago Police Department officers and has contributed to the exonerations of more than seventy-five individuals.

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