(CHICAGO) — Institutional problems within the Chicago Police Department have led to serious civil rights violations for years, including racial bias against blacks and a tendency to use excessive force, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report released Friday.
The Justice Department launched its investigation of the 12,000-officer force — one of the nation’s largest — in December 2015 following the release of dashcam video showing a white police officer shoot a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, 16 times as he walked away holding a small, folded knife. The video of the 2014 shooting, which the city fought to keep from being released, inspired large protests and cost the city’s police commissioner his job.
Among other findings, the report found city police used excessive and that “this pattern is largely attributable to systemic deficiencies within CPD and the City.” It also cited insufficient training and a failure to hold bad officers accountable.
Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department has conducted 25 civil rights investigations of police departments, including those of Cleveland, Baltimore and Seattle, among others. The release of a report is one step in a long process that, in recent years, has typically led to bilateral talks between the Justice Department and a city, followed by an agreed upon police-reform plan that’s enforceable by a federal judge.