JOLIET, Ill. - Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Wednesday an investigation looking for "unlawful policing" in the Joliet Police Department.
The civil investigation will focus on whether systemic problems exist within the police department regarding its policies, reports and training protocols.
"It is clear that a formal investigation is needed to look at whether the department has engaged in patterns or practices of unlawful or unconstitutional policing," Raoul said in a statement. "In the coming weeks, the Attorney General’s office will conduct a thorough, impartial and independent review of whether reforms are needed under the law."
Raoul's office began doing a preliminary review of the department last year.
After full cooperation of the police department, handing over thousands of documents, the AG has decided to go ahead with a patterns and practices investigation, reviewing the department's policies and training.
This comes as a police sergeant is facing misconduct charges for leaking a dashcam video of the death of Eric Lurry.
That video showed officers slapping Lurry, pinching his nose, using a baton to open his mouth, trying to get drugs out.
Prosecutors said there was no police misconduct in the case and his death was ruled accidental.
"I don't know if this is a political stunt, for whatever reason, but we know that Joliet has other criminal misconduct, with the police here, and we want the Attorney General to not just look at this case but look at all the cases, look at the totality of all the cases here in Joliet, and you have seen that this isn't the only one. Hopefully this is a start," said Community Activist Stringer Harris.
Joliet's mayor and city council asked for the investigation.
City of Joliet response to Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s announcement: "The City of Joliet is aware the Illinois Attorney General’s Office has opened a civil investigation concerning possible patterns or practices of unconstitutional or unlawful policing by the Joliet Police Department. As stated by the Attorney General, this investigation is in response to the letter submitted by the Mayor and City Council to the Attorney General’s Office in June 2020. The City of Joliet remains committed to serving the community and will continue to cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office during the investigation."
A spokesperson for Joliet police said: "At the direction of the Joliet City Manager's Office, the Joliet Police Department is unable to release a statement regarding the investigation announced today by the Illinois Attorney General's Office at this time."