A damning US Justice Department report has found Chicago Police have routinely violated people’s rights, particularly in the black and Latino communities.
The 161-page document cited excessive force, racial discrimination and a “code of silence” to obstruct investigations into the officers’ conduct.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a news conference:
“CPD (Chicago Police Department) does not give its officers the training they need to do their job safely, effectively and lawfully. It fails to properly collect and analyse data, including data on misconduct complaints and training deficiencies. And it does not adequately review use of force incidents to determine whether force was appropriate or lawful, or whether the use of force could have been avoided altogether.”
The civil rights investigation was launched 13 months ago, following the court-ordered release of dash cam footage showing the shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said:
“We found that the Chicago Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force, including deadly force and non-deadly force. This pattern includes, for example, shooting at people who present no immediate threat and tasing people for not following verbal commands.”
The McDonald case was one of a number of high-profile incidents thrusting the city’s police force into the spotlight.
Both Chicago and federal officials have agreed, in principle, to create a court-enforced consent decree addressing the points raised in the report.