After demands from Illinois politicians and the general public, the Department of Justice will launch an investigation into the Chicago Police Department, The Chicago Tribune reports.
The investigation will examine police practices used in the October 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald and dive deeper into other police shootings, training, and the use of deadly force. The source, a law enforcement official connected to the investigation, told the Tribune the news will be announced later this week.
Last Tuesday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan called on U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate McDonald’s case.
The graphic video of the shooting, released 400 days after the initial incident, shows officer Jason Van Dyke shooting the teenager 16 times just seconds after exiting a police car. On Friday, the official police report, which contained other officers’ accounts, was released, painting a different portrait than what the video portrayed. Former police superintendent Garry McCarthy stated the press release about the shooting was also misleading.
The department claimed McDonald, who was said to be under the influence of PCP, pointed a three-inch knife towards the police officers in an aggressive matter. In the video, the teen is seen walking away from the officers before he was fatally shot by Van Dyke.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who initially turned down the possibility of a DOJ investigation, wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune denying a cover-up. Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez have been accused of deliberately keeping the case out of the public eye to further their political agendas.
What I strongly reject is the suggestion that the videotape of the McDonald shooting was withheld from the public because of the election.
Some say I should have ordered a departure from standard procedure and released the tape before the prosecutors had acted. Had I seen the video, I might have done that. But I don’t review evidence precisely because my own emotions should not interfere with criminal investigations.
On Sunday, Emanuel’s spokesman Adam Collins said the mayor is open to the investigation.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
“We will let the Department of Justice address what action they will or will not choose to take,” Collins said, “but as was made clear last week, we welcome the engagement of the Department of Justice as we work to restore trust in our police department and improve our system of police accountability.”
The Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will handle the investigation. The group is also responsible for discovering more about the racial tactics the Ferguson Police Department used against its residents. The Ferguson case took roughly six months to complete, but due to the amount of cases and size of the Chicago Police Department, this one will take much longer.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago is currently conducting its own investigation into the McDonald shooting.
Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder.
SOURCE: The Chicago Tribune | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform
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