After a disturbing dash cam video surfaced of a white police officer fatally shooting a black teen 16 times, the Justice Department is planning to launch an investigation into the Chicago Police Department, USA Today reports.
Citing an anonymous source familiar with the upcoming investigation, USA Today wrote that the announcement of a probe is expected very soon.
The department’s Civil Rights Division plans to investigate whether cops were responsible for a patter of biased policing.
The state’s attorney general, Lisa Madigan, recently called for an investigation, despite initial resistance from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who originally called a federal probe “misguided.” He has since changed course.
“We will let the Department of Justice address what action they will or will not choose to take, but as was made clear last week, we welcome the engagement of the Department of Justice as we work to restore trust in our police department and improve our system of police accountability,” said Emanuel’s spokesman, Adam Collins.
The appointment of a blue-ribbon task force to probe the Chicago Police Department is a laudable move by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It became an unavoidable step amid mounting pressure a week after the city was forced to release the video depicting the alleged execution of Laquan McDonald, a troubled black 17-year-old shot 16 times by a white Chicago police officer in October 2014.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a former head of the Justice Department‘s Civil Rights Division, will serve as an adviser to the newly formed police accountability panel. But why turn to a former head of the Civil Rights Division? What is needed is a full-scale Justice Department “pattern-and-practice” investigation of civil rights abuses within the Chicago Police Department — the type of sweeping, outside investigation that Chicago, seemingly alone among large American cities, has mysteriously evaded over the last several decades.
From Newark to New York, Cleveland, Miami, New Orleans, Albuquerque and Los Angeles, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which exercises sole authority to launch and conduct such inquiries, has scoured dozens of large police departments, leaving Chicago’s omission head-scratching.
The Justice Department may act if it finds a pattern or practice by a local law enforcement agency that systemically violates people’s rights. These investigations have resulted in settlements and court orders requiring increased transparency and data collection, steps to prevent discriminatory policing, independent oversight, improved investigation and review of uses of force, and more effective training and supervision of officers — all measures that the Chicago Police Department urgently needs.
Why now? In the last 10 years, Chicago has paid an astounding sum, more than $500 million, to settle police misconduct cases, including $5 million to the mother of Laquan McDonald before a lawsuit was even filed. These settlements include, but are not by any means exclusive to, the reign of terror under a white police detective and commander, Jon Burge, and his midnight crew who tortured dozens, possibly hundreds, of African-American suspects in the 1970s and 1980s.
By Steve Neavling
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired back Wednesday at Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s request for the Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation into the police department.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the mayor called the request “misguided,” even as protesters demanded justice for several unarmed people killed or shot by Chicago police officers.
Emanuel noted there are numerous investigations by city and federal authorities into the death of Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot by police in October 2014, resulting in murder charges against Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.
“Like everybody else, I await their conclusions. They are looking into this situation and all the aspects around it. An additional layer prior to the completion of this, in my view, would be misguided,” Emanuel said in a live, online interview conducted by Politico before an audience at the Willis Tower.
“They are doing a thorough job. Hitting the re-start button on a whole new investigation does not get you to the conclusion in an expedited fashion.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is urging the Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department over a number of cases in which cops killed or injured unarmed citizens, the Washington Post reports.
Protesters are still outraged by a police shooting that killed a 17-year-old last year.
In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Madigan listed several cases in which Chicago police officers shot unarmed citizens over the past few years.
Included in the list is the October 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, who was 17. The officer who pulled the trigger, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with murder last week, the same day a disturbing dash-cam video of the incident was released.
“The McDonald shooting is shocking, and it highlights serious questions about the historic, systemic use of unlawful and excessive force by Chicago police officers and the lack of accountability for such abuse by CPD,” Madigan wrote.
By Steve Neavling
A Burger King surveillance video that is missing footage on the night a Chicago police officer gunned down Laquan McDonald was not tampered with, according to a forensic analysis by the FBI.
Citing an anonymous source close to the investigation, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the forensic analysis “found no evidence of tampering” with video from the fateful night last year.
The tape has an 86-minute gap, and police spent two hours at the restaurant trig to recover the video.
“The district manager told us it was deleted,” said Jeffrey Neslund, an attorney for the McDonald family. “It is curious that there were 86 minutes missing. We don’t know for a matter of certainty what happened to the Burger King video, but we know what the employees told us.”
But the source said there was no evince of tampering.
“They looked at it and found absolutely no evidence of any tampering or any removal of any portion of the tape,” the source said.
“That system that Burger King has is a mess and it would break down in the weeks and months before this incident. There were major gaps everywhere,” the source added.
Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, killed McDonald, who is black.
Another city hall scandal in Chicago?
The FBI last week picked up the computers and files of departing Legislative Inspector General Faisal Kahn.
Kahn, who served as the council’s internal watchdog, forwarded complaints that are “criminal in nature” to outside agencies, including the FBI, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Kahn would not elaborate.
“I don’t know if and when these cases will result in charges,” Khan said. “I simply would like to see them resolved appropriately, and then the public can see what exactly the (office of legislative inspector general) worked on and what the results of those investigations are.”
Kahn’s four-year term ended Monday, and the council has yet to replace him.
It remained unclear Tuesday what the subject of the investigation was.