The Justice Department announced today that it has found reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
In a press release, the Department of Justice said that “The department found that CPD officers’ practices unnecessarily endanger themselves and result in unnecessary and avoidable uses of force. The pattern or practice results from systemic deficiencies in training and accountability, including the failure to train officers in de-escalation and the failure to conduct meaningful investigations of uses of force.”
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Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, called today “a moment of opportunity, where we begin to move from identifying problems to developing solutions.”
The DOJ cited deficiencies in its accountability systems and in how it investigates uses of force, responds to allegations of misconduct, trains and supervises officers, and collects and reports data on officer use of force. The department also found that the lack of effective community-oriented policing strategies and insufficient support for officer wellness and safety contributed to the pattern or practice of unconstitutional force.
As is typical in the current DOJ Administration they found that the Chicago Police utilized force more predominantly in black neighborhoods but never mention that 620 out of the 796 homicides in 2016 were blacks in those neighborhoods where police must go to help or reduce the violence. As we continually point out, police use of force does not follow population demographics but crime demographics. The DOJ is being very irresponsible in not making the same correlation.
The city of Chicago and the Justice Department have signed an agreement in principle to work together, with community input, to create a federal court-enforceable consent decree addressing the deficiencies found during the investigation.
We used to think that things could never get worse for our brothers and sisters behind the badge in Chicago. Last year, Chicago cops were shot at in record numbers and the homicide rate is the highest in the nation.
Now, instead of providing assistance to stop violent crime, the DOJ will monitor the police. Congratulations DOJ, you may help the city of Chicago continue to break violence records in 2017.
You can read the report here.
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