News ID: 175731
Published: 0720 GMT January 14, 2017

US Justice Department: Chicago police routinely violated civil rights

US Justice Department: Chicago police routinely violated civil rights

Chicago police routinely violated the civil rights of people in one of America's largest cities, the US Justice Department said in a report released on Friday, citing excessive force, racially discriminatory conduct and a "code of silence" to thwart investigations into police misconduct.

The report said excessive force falls "heaviest on black and Latino communities," with police using force almost 10 times more often against blacks than whites, Reuters reported.

The Justice Department began a civil rights investigation in December 2015 after the release under court order of a video showing the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, by white officer Jason Van Dyke. The video was released more than a year after the shooting.

The video sparked several days of protests and led to the ouster of Chicago's police chief and calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign.

The shooting was one of many high-profile incidents that thrust Chicago and other US cities into a national debate over the use of excessive force by police against minorities.

“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,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a news conference.

The 161-page report said use of excessive force by Chicago police included officers shooting at fleeing suspects and using Tasers on children.

Chicago and federal officials have signed an agreement in principle to create a court-enforced consent decree addressing the issues revealed by the probe. Chicago’s compliance with the decree would be reviewed by an independent monitor.

The consent decree must be negotiated, and then approved by a federal judge.

President Barack Obama's administration opened 25 civil rights investigations into law enforcement agencies as part of efforts to re-examine and improve police practices in the United States, particularly in minority communities.


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