Chicago families have new hope for police shooting reviews
AP News Guide: Feds begin work on Chicago police probe.
Good Thursday morning, Illinois. CHICAGO (AP) – A federal civil rights investigation looking at one of the nation’s largest police departments began in earnest Wednesday, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel will talk with federal investigators Thursday.CHICAGO — Janet Lindsey Ferguson has carried a poster bearing a photograph of her teenage son, Rickey Childs, ever since he was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer in 2012. Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante told a City Council hearing Tuesday about a planned sit-down between investigators and police brass Wednesday, adding, “We have not been through anything like this before.” Meanwhile Wednesday night, the Chicago Tribune reported that the officer charged in the 2014 shooting death of a black teenager that set off the investigation was indicted by a Cook County grand jury.
Now, with the first-ever federal probe into the Chicago Police Department, many wonder what all of this, and the corrections, will cost, reports CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross. Now, after the release of the video of a Chicago officer firing 16 bullets into the body of another black teen, Laquan McDonald, she has hope that McDonald’s death — and the murder charge against the white officer, the first in decades to be charged with a crime for an on-duty shooting — will prompt someone to take another look at her son’s case. Near the end of the event, when students were told to stand up to recite the Urban Prep creed, several students began chanting “16 shots,” a common slogan among protesters who want the mayor to resign over the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Today, the clout-heavy Thornton Township Democratic Committee is expected to formally endorse Kim Foxx, former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
The chant is a reference to the number of bullets fired into McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke, who has been charged with murder in McDonald’s death. “The Mayor recognizes that Chicagoans are understandably frustrated. A protest is planned for Christmas Eve on the city’s Magnificent Mile, its most prestigious shopping district, according to the political group “Coalition for a New Chicago.” A Nov. 27 protest on the strip drew thousands of demonstrators, who prevented shoppers from entering some stores. “We’re going to do prayer and demonstration,” said Gregory Livingston, Coalition founder. Critics have slammed Alvarez for taking more than a year to indict Van Dyke and she has strenuously defended her role, saying she was working closely with federal authorities all along.
Early this morning, the Chicago Sun-Times posted a story based on emails it says the state’s attorney’s office released as part of a public records request by independent journalist Brandon Smith. They’re pressuring the city’s beleaguered Independent Police Review Authority, or IPRA, to reopen inquiries into their family members’ deaths, and see the federal Department of Justice’s investigation of the Police Department as a chance — maybe the last one they will get — to be heard. The emails were sent to a county prosecutor from Chicago FBI agent Vick Lombardo, well regarded within the agency and tapped for high-profile cases, including that of former gov. While the money is going toward Calvin’s small child, she remains dissatisfied that none of the officers paid with their jobs for what they did. “I have been trying to figure out what to do, who can I talk to and how I can get my story heard but I was just tired,” she said. “Then when the Laquan McDonald case came up, it gave me the push I needed.” Since the McDonald video and others, including one of a police officer fatally shooting a man in the back, have been released, authorities are getting calls to investigate cases that have been closed for years or barely noted by anyone but the families of those who died. And it is in our self-interest as a city that they’re here because the problems and the challenges we have in the sense of police and community relations and the changes that we need are deep-seeded.
The results were released about eight months later and about 16 months in, the city has yet to fully agree with the federal government on how it will implement reforms. IPRA has already opened one investigation after a video showed a man being dragged by police from a jail cell and the agency’s new head has asked the city’s inspector general to again look at the McDonald case. As for Chicago, who the Better Government Association says has paid out an estimated half a billion dollars in police-related settlements over the past decade, the possible additional cost to taxpayers remains unknown. “We’re going to let officers know that we appreciate their work, but there’ll be no quarter left if they don’t do it in the most professional sense,” Emanuel said.
Attorney’s Office with a written demand for investigations into several shootings by police and alleged police torture cases — handing over pretty much the same document they said the same office ignored last year. A key component is also community outreach – talking with families of Chicago residents shot by officers, likely setting up a hotline and email for tips, and holding town hall meetings to get direct feedback from the public. She already has some satisfaction: Earlier this year, Chicago Public Radio reported that tests showed the gun police said Cross fired at them was inoperable, that IPRA had determined the gun had not been fired and that there was no gun residue on Cross’ hands. “Those officers are working now and they shouldn’t be,” she said. Senator Dick Durbin and just about every other political leader sided with Madigan and after it became clear that the Justice Department was coming whether the mayor liked it or not. Daley’s former patronage chief, Streets and Sanitation commissioner and others convicted of rigging city hiring to benefit the Hispanic Democratic Organization and other pro-Daley armies of political workers.
According to a copy of the indictment posted on the Tribune’s website Wednesday, the charges allege Van Dyke shot McDonald knowing it “created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm.” Lynch said the investigation will review in part the department’s use of force and deadly force, how any violations and misconduct allegations are investigated, how officers are disciplined and whether there is any racial or ethnic disparity in how those matters are handled. “When community members feel that they are not receiving that kind of policing, when they feel ignored, let down or mistreated by public safety officials, there are profound consequences for the well-being of their communities, there are profound consequences for the rule of law and for the countless law enforcement officers who strive to fulfill their duties with professionalism and integrity,” Lynch said that day.
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