Chicago police, officials look ahead following scathing DOJ report
CHICAGO (FOX 32 NEWS) - The U.S. Justice Department released a 164-page report on Friday that is, at times, scathingly critical of the Chicago Police Department.
"The Department of Justice has concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said following the department’s 13-month investigation.
The report found that excessive force is disproportionately used by Chicago police when dealing with minorities.
"This pattern includes, for instance, shooting at people who present no immediate threat and tasing people for not following verbal commands. This conduct doesn't just harm residents, it endangers officers,” said Vanita Gupta from the U.S. Justice Department.
The feds said that CPD has bred distrust and undermined police legitimacy in minority communities, where violence is climbing. The report also slams the police department and IPRA for burying police misconduct cases, not holding officers accountable, poorly equipping its officers and inadequate training.
"For example, we observed training on deadly force that used a video made decades ago, with guidance inconsistent with current law and internal policy,” Gupta said.
Neither Mayor Rahm Emanuel nor Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson disputed any of the findings.
"Quite simply as a department we need to do better and you have my promise and commitment that we will do better,” Johnson said.
The city now begins negotiations with the Justice Department on a consent decree, in which a federal monitor would be appointed to oversee change in the police department.But that may not happen under the incoming Trump administration, which is considered more police-friendly.
Emanuel said change is coming even without federal pressure.
"The Chicago Police Department, the city of Chicago, is already on the road to reform. And there are no U-turns on that road,” Emanuel said.
The Justice Department said they interviewed hundreds of people in the Chicago area to generate this report. They said some of the best ideas for police reforms, included in the final document, came from police officers themselves.