<span class="articleLocation”>Chicago’s police routinely used excessive force,
tolerated racially discriminatory conduct and often maintained a “code of silence” among officers to thwart investigations into
misconduct, according to a blistering report released by the
federal government on Friday.
The 161-page document from the U.S. Department of Justice
details a 13-month civil rights investigation of the Chicago
The probe began in December 2015 after several days of
protests following the release of video footage showing Laquan
McDonald, a black teenager, being fatally shot by Jason Van
Dyke, a white police officer.
“On the basis of this exhaustive review, 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 in violation of the Fourth
Amendment to the Constitution,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta
Lynch said at a news conference, flanked by Chicago’s mayor and
The report said use of excessive force by Chicago police
included officers shooting at fleeing suspects and use of Tasers
on children. It came the same week that Baltimore agreed with
the Department of Justice to change how officers use force and
transport prisoners, almost two years after the death of a black
man while in police custody sparked a day of rioting.
Justice Department officials have pushed to wrap up ongoing
investigations, including the one in Chicago, before
President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20. Republican
Trump touted himself during his campaign as more friendly to law
Chicago and federal officials have signed an agreement in
principle to create a court-enforced consent decree that
addresses the problems found during the probe with compliance
reviewed by an independent monitor.
McDonald, 17, was shot in October 2014 but the city did not
release the video of the shooting until more than a year later. (Additional reporting by Renita D. Young in Chicago)
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