Source: Justice Department to probe Chicago Police Department

7 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chicago police account of 2014 capturing differs from video: newspaper.

These are the latest developments in the case involving the 2014 killing of a black teenager by a white police officer who shot him 16 times (all times local). The Justice Department plans to launch an investigation into the patterns and practices of the Chicago Police Department, a wide-ranging review similar to those that scrutinized the police departments in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, according to several law enforcement officials. Jesse Jackson says he will lead a march through downtown Chicago on Sunday in response to newly released police reports about the shooting of Laquan McDonald and the city’s handling of it and other shootings involving officers.

Chicago has been roiled by street protests and political turmoil since the Nov. 24 release of video that showed the officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times after he jogged away from police cars. The decision to investigate was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the decision who wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation publicly because it has not yet been announced. The officer, Jason Van Dyke, on the day of the video’s release was charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of the teen, who authorities say was carrying a knife. Hundreds of pages of police reports released by the city late on Friday indicated that, during an initial police investigation, at least five officers corroborated Van Dyke’s account that McDonald moved toward officers, according to the Chicago Tribune. “VD believed O was attacking w/knife,” said a police report of Van Dyke’s account, as quoted by the Tribune. “Trying to kill VD.

In defense of his life, VD backpedaled + fired.” In the video, McDonald is seen jogging away from patrol vehicles pursuing him from behind and then veering off diagonally at a walk as two more officers pull up in a squad car ahead of him. A Justice Department spokesperson did not confirm that a new probe into Chicago PD is imminent. “Civil rights division lawyers are reviewing the many requests for an investigation, which is the department’s standard process, and the attorney general is briefed regularly on the review and expects to make a decision very soon,” a department official said.

Since then, Emanuel forced Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign and formed a task force to examine the department in an effort to calm the city and deal with the most serious crisis of his administration. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, the police department said a local review of officer conduct in the shooting has been suspended in light of the continuing U.S. Emanuel has come under fire for his administration’s handling of the McDonald video, specifically for fighting its release for more than a year, which some have suggested was a politically motivated decision meant to insulate the mayor from political backlash while he was locked in a tight reelection effort. The calls for the mayor to resign — something he said he won’t do — have grown louder from protesters in the city, including more than 200 people who shouted that he step down during a Sunday afternoon march in downtown Chicago.

The Chicago City Council signed off on a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family even before the family filed a lawsuit and city officials fought in court for months to keep the video from being released publicly. Under Obama, Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and her predecessor, Eric Holder, have used patterns-and-practices investigations to aggressively probe police departments for potential constitutional violations, investigating dozens of departments since 2009.

Those probes have found patterns of excessive force by police in Cleveland; Albuquerque; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; Portland; New Orleans; Seattle; Puerto Rico; and Warren, Ohio. But Emanuel later reversed course and said he would welcome the Justice Department’s involvement in helping restore trust in the department — something that politicians including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have called for. Congress empowered the federal government to conduct such investigations in the aftermath of the 1991 videotaped beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles officers and the riots that followed.

It should be a detailed probe and should look into the specific civil rights complaints filed over the years by activists here on the ground.” Joshua said that she welcomes the federal probe and hopes that it will address the underlying policing issues. He says that when they’ve found technical problems preventing them from working they are disciplining officers who did not report those problems to their supervisors.

She also said she is hopeful that the federal investigation will be a step toward policing reform — even more so than the resignation of McCarthy. “We have systemic problems, and if we can find a solution to systemic issues, it’s going to take the community to do that,” Joshua said. “At this juncture, I’m saddened and afraid and I’m wondering if we can do that.” In March, the department released a scathing report of the Ferguson police force that found pervasive civil rights abuses, and in May, it reached a settlement with Cleveland police that called for sweeping improvements — including to that department’s use of force policies.

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