CHICAGO, IL – Apparently, when it comes to police practices, there’s the right way, and the Chicago way.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the justice department is looking into whether the Chicago police department has a pattern or practice of violating federal law or the Constitution.
“Specifically, we will examine a number of issues related to the Chicago police department's use of force, including its use of deadly force, racial, ethnic and other disparities in its use of force and its accountability mechanisms."
Lynch said her investigators want to hear from community members who believe cops have victimized them to help determine if race or ethnicity play a role.
The probe will also look at how the department handles allegations of misconduct on the part of officers. They’ll also look at policies, practices, and statistics. Depending on what’s found, the justice department could ask a federal court to get the Chicago police to fix what’s broken.
The announcement comes on the heels of a just-released 400-page police report on last year’s killing of Laquan MacDonald that does not match dashcam videos. In fact, in some places, Chicago police seem to be asking us to believe either them or our lying eyes.
All the police officers at the scene backed up Officer Jason Van Dyke’s claim that he shot MacDonald 16 times in self-defense after MacDonald threatened him with a knife. A police sergeant who reviewed the video agreed, even though the video showed MacDonald walking away from the officers with the knife at his side.
Meantime, there’s another dashcam video of another police shooting. This one occurred just eight days before the MacDonald killing. But the Cook County state’s attorney says she’s not going to charge the police officer who shot and killed Ronald Johnson III.
Anita Alverez says the FBI decided not to join the investigation after reviewing the video that shows Johnson had a gun that later turned out to be loaded and was connected to a 2013 shooting. But the attorney representing Johnson’s family said the cops planted the gun on him.
The city of big shoulders has some big problems that won’t be going away soon.