Prosecutors say no criminal charges against Chicago police officer who fatally …

7 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

An Investigation Into Chicago’s Police Department.

The US Justice Department on Monday announced an investigation into the “patterns and practices” of the Chicago Police Department after video of a white police officer’s killing of a black teenager added fuel to ongoing protests against the policing of American communities of colour. “Specifically, we will examine a number of issues related to the Chicago Police Department’s use of force, including its use of deadly force, racial, ethnic and other disparities in its use of force,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the press. CHICAGO (AP) — The latest developments in the city of Chicago’s efforts to deal with fatal police shootings and police accountability (all times local): Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced Monday that she’s not charging Officer George Hernandez in the shooting death of Ronald Johnson III in October 2014.The move comes amid the fallout over a video showing the police-involved death of Laquan McDonald, but Lynch said the investigation, which will be carried out by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, will go beyond individuals. A judge on November 24 charged Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, with first-degree murder after video — captured by a police car dashboard camera — was released showing Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014. The inquiry will also examine accountability mechanisms, such as its disciplinary actions, and the department’s handling of allegations of misconduct, Lynch said.

In her comments, Lynch said such issues impact the level of trust between law enforcement and the minority communities they serve. “The Department of Justice intends to do everything we can to foster those bonds and create safer and fairer communities across the country,” Lynch said. McDonald’s and other high-profile police killings drove hundreds of protesters to block Chicago’s retail district on Black Friday, the U.S.’s post-Thanksgiving sales event. The shooting and the filing of murder charges led to calls from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for a Justice Department civil rights investigation. After initially resisting, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he would “welcome the engagement of the Justice Department.” Since 1994, the Justice Department has had the legal authority to investigate whether a law enforcement organization is engaging in a pattern or practice of civil rights violations. In the last six years, the department has launched more than two dozen investigations of police departments nationwide — more than twice as many as were opened in the preceding period.

The official is not authorized to speak about the announcement and would only speak to Associated Press reporter Don Babwin on condition of anonymity. The mayor’s office says Emanuel, interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante and acting Independent Police Review Authority chief Sharon Fairley will speak to reporters Monday afternoon.

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