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LEADERS, RESIDENTS RESPOND TO DOJ REPORT

1/25/2017, 3:51 p.m. | Updated on 1/25/2017, 3:51 p.m.
The Justice Department (DOJ) recently announced that it found reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) engages ...
Chicago leaders and residents from urban communities recently voiced their opinions on the Department of Justice’s report which found that the the Chicago Police Department (CPD) engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The meeting was held at Rainbow Push, located on 930 E. 50th St. last week. Photo by: Chris Shuttlesworth

LEADERS, RESIDENTS RESPOND TO DOJ REPORT

By Christopher Shuttleworth

The Justice Department (DOJ) recently announced that it 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.

The department found that CPD officers’ practices unnecessarily endanger themselves and result in unnecessary and avoidable uses of force, according to a DOJ press release.

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, according to DOJ officials.

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.

“One of my highest priorities as Attorney General has been to ensure that every American enjoys police protection that is lawful,

responsive, and transparent,” said former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, in a released statement before the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

“Sadly, our thorough investigation into the Chicago Police Department found that far too many residents of this proud city have not received that kind of policing. The resulting deficit in trust and accountability is not just bad for residents – it’s also bad for dedicated police officers trying to do their jobs safely and effectively. With this announcement, we are laying the groundwork for the difficult but necessary work of building a stronger, safer, and

more united Chicago for all who call it home,” she continued.

But how the Department of Justice uses consent decrees for reforming police departments could change under the incoming

U.S. attorney general. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick to head the DOJ, has called consent decrees “one of the most dangerous … exercises of raw power.”

In response to the DOJ’s report, Illinois and Chicago leaders

called for a DOJ Town hall meeting Jan. 18th at Rainbow Push,

located at 930 E. 50th St.

The city of Chicago Police Department was the largest police

department that has ever been investigated by the Department of

Justice for a pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing, said

Lori E. Lightfoot, president of the Chicago Police Board and a

member of the mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force.

“It’s not just individual, isolated incidents or problems,”

Lightfoot said. “They found problems in every facet of the police

department. From the way in which it recruits, from the way

in which they train and from the way in which they provide

additional professional development to veteran police officers,”

she said.

Cook County Bar Association Attorney Andre Grant said

that he isn’t acknowledging defeat, but believes training isn’t the

primary issue but the mindset, belief and culture of the police

system toward the black community, and that the impact of the

report is synonymous to taking a cup of water and throwing it on

a [large] fire.

“You have two systems of policing in this country,” Grant said.