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Tag: police department

Chicago Tribune: Time Has Come for Justice Department to Investigate Chicago PD

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Chicago Tribune
Editorial Board

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.

Baltimore Mayor Asks for Full-Scale Civil Rights Investigation of Police Department

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In an unusual move for a city, Baltimore’s mayor is asking for a full-scale civil rights investigation into alleged abuse within the police department following a riot over the police-involved death of Freddie Gray and other black suspects.

“We all know that Baltimore continues to have a fractured relationship between the police and the community,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, reports the Baltimore Sun. “I’m willing to do what it takes to reform my department.”

Spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Attorney General Loretta Lynch “is actively considering that option in light of what she heard from law enforcement, city officials and community, faith and youth leaders in Baltimore.”

The Justice Department has conducted investigations of police departments in 20 cities, including Cleveland and New Orleans.

The investigations typically take 18 to 24 months.

Attorney General Holder Says Ferguson Police Department Needs ‘Wholesale Change’

Courtesy of DOJ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called for “wholesale change” in the Ferguson Police Department, the Associated Press reports. 

Holder sad in a question-and-answer session with a newspaper at the Washington Ideas Forum that serious changes are needed.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the need for wholesale change in that department is appropriate.”

But Holder didn’t elaborate or discuss leadership changes at the department.

Holder defended his 2009 remarks that America is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to race, saying the country is “still reluctant to talk about issues of race.

Holder said he hopes his legacy involves improving the country.

“As a person who tried to make the country better and used the power of his office to raise issues that too often were not addressed,” Holder said.

Justice Department to Launch Broad Civil Rights Investigation into Ferguson PD

 

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is launching a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson Police Department after an unarmed black teen was shot, leading to protests, unrest and more abuse from local cops.

The Washington Post reports that the investigation is expected to be announced as early as today by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

The Justice Department civil rights division, which has investigated excessive force in other police departments, will lead the probe.

The investigation will also include police departments in St. Louis County.

Investigators will be determining whether the department adopted polices and practices that led to civil rights violations.

Oklahoma FBI Agent Who Was Accidentally Shot During Training Exercise Released From Hospital

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ouch!

An FBI agent who was wounded in the leg in an accidental shooting at the Edmond Police Department’s training facility in Oklahoma was released from the hospital, the Edmond Sun paper reported.

Rick Rains, a spokesman for the FBI’s Oklahoma City office, declined to disclose the name of the agent who was involved in a live tactical training exercise, the paper reported.

The incident happened last Thursday.

 

Justice Department Scorns Puerto Rico Police Dept. — the Nation’s Second Largest

 
 By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is coming down hard on the Puerto Rico Police Department — the nation’s second largest —  accusing it of  “profound” and “longstanding” civil rights violations and illegal practices, reports the New York Times.

The Puerto Rico Police Department is “using force, including deadly force, when no force or lesser force was called for,” says a 116-page Justice Department report to be made public on Thursday, according to the Times.

The report cited regular profiling and singling out of those of Dominican descent, and it noted a failure to “adequately police sex assault and domestic violence” cases, such as spousal abuse and abuse by fellow law enforcement officials, reports the Times.

Puerto Rico has seen increases in violent crimes, an occurance that has begun to spill into middle class neighborhoods recently, according to the Times, with 786 homicides this year–up by 117 from the same time last year.

To read more click here.

Read Statement on Report by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez

Justice Dept. Gives Green Light to N.O. Police K-9 Unit After 6 Month Suspension


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently it took a little Emily Post-like training to get the New Orleans Police K-9 unit on its best behavior.

The Justice Department has given the green light for the New Orleans Police Department to reactivate its canine unit following a six-month suspension, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The Justice Department, which had been called in to review the police department operations, had recommended the suspension after it found that dog handlers in the K-9 unit weren’t able to control the dogs, which too often bit cooperative suspects, the paper reported.

The rate of dog bites was considered excessive for a K-9 unit, and some dogs were “almost completely uncontrollable,” the Picayune reported.

But now things are apparently better.

The paper noted that a police news release stated: “DOJ inspectors … stated that the dogs are now exceptionally trained and will undoubtedly be more effective in tracking down suspects and sniffing out illegal drugs.”

Ex-Head of Miami FBI Paul Philip to Evaluate Miami Police Dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The former head of the Miami FBI has been hired by the city to evaluate its police department on issues including morale, policy and emails written by the police chief, the Miami Herald reported.

Paul Philip, 63, who led the FBI office in the 1990s, has agreed to work 20 hours a week and get paid $33.50 an hour as a special advisor on public safety, the Herald reported.

Philip had also worked as an anti-corruption czar for then-Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.

Philip is a partner at the security and consulting company Gaffney, Gallagher & Philip in Plantation, Fla.