DOJ: Chicago PD Rife With Racial Bias, Excessive Force

Discrimination, use of excessive force, poor training among long-awaited report's findings
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2017 12:29 PM CST
Feds Blast Chicago Cops Over Racial Bias, Excessive Force
Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

What USA Today describes as a "scathing report" about Chicago police was released Friday by the Justice Department, with findings of rampant racial bias (including a finding of "reasonable cause" that excessive force was used against minorities), shoddy training, and the mishandling of cops accused of misconduct, per the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the "lawful, responsive, and transparent" policing every American is entitled to was sorely lacking in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel used the word "sobering" to describe the report's findings, which coincided with an agreement from the DOJ and city of Chicago to get policing back on the right track. The investigation into the city's police force began in December 2015, after 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was gunned down by a white cop.

Among the findings in the 164-page report were instances of cops shooting at individuals who weren't deemed threatening and using stun guns when people simply didn't follow verbal instructions. The city's police academy also came under fire for graduating candidates who mostly didn't seem to know how "to properly [articulate] the legal standard for use of force." The report also comes under the shadow of an incoming attorney general (Jeff Sessions, if he's confirmed) who isn't a fan of the type of consent decree the city is working on with the DOJ to ensure reforms are carried out. The report says the Chicago PD now has an important task to carry out: Prove to violence-ridden communities "that their police force cares about them and has not abandoned them, regardless of where they live or the color of their skin." (More Chicago police stories.)

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