Justice Department To Investigate Whether Chicago Police Violate Civil Rights

Justice Department To Investigate Whether Chicago Police
Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday announced that the Justice Department is opening an investigation into Chicago Police Department, at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. Lynch said it is opening a civil rights investigation into whether the police departments use of force violates federal law and civil rights. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) — The U.S. Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s use of deadly force in the wake of the fatal shooting death of a teenager, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Monday.

The probe will be separate from a federal criminal investigation of the Oct. 20, 2014, death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with murder in McDonald’s death.

The investigation is expected to examine if “the Chicago Police Department has engaged in a pattern of or practice of violations of the Constitution or federal law, specifically … the department’s use of force, including its use of deadly force, racial, ethnic, and other disparities in its use of force, and its accountability mechanisms, such as disciplinary actions and its handling of misconduct,” Lynch said.

Speaking from Washington, Lynch said she expected the cooperation of city and police officials. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel initially opposed an investigation of the police department but reversed his opinion a day later.

“We go into these investigations hoping we receive the cooperation of the city. In a situation where we would not, we engage with them and let them know what we need and why it is important,” Lynch said.

Emmanuel dismissed Police Superintendent Gerry McCarthy last week and announced a task force to improve “accountability, oversight and training” after information about the McDonald shooting was revealed more than a year after it occurred.


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