The Justice Department released the results of its yearlong investigation into the Chicago Police Department, publishing a scathing report that excoriates the country’s second-largest local law enforcement agency for a pattern of unreasonable, unconstitutional force. Here are 12 key findings from the report.
Chicago police shot at fleeing suspects who posed no threat, which is unconstitutional. The report notes that even though the police department has a policy regarding vehicle pursuit, it does not have a policy on foot pursuits.
Investigators also write that they found that police officers recklessly fired shots at moving cars, inappropriately fired their weapons and, in some cases, wound up using force in cases where it could have been avoided if they waited for backup.
The department used dangerous tactics to get information, sometimes putting the lives of young people in danger.
Police officers in nonviolent encounters often use Tasers to defuse situations. The suspects in these cases pose no immediate threat, and the report notes that officers “resort to Tasers as a tool of convenience.”
Tasers and other uses of force are also reported against juveniles, and there is no policy that addresses the use of Tasers against children.
Police officers are not required to provide details of their use of force, which leads to underreporting incidents.
The agency tasked with investigating allegations of police misconduct doesn’t investigate times when officers fire and miss.
Investigators looking into complaints and officer-involved shootings don’t always do much investigating. Video is also an important tool in keeping officers accountable and often undercuts the descriptions officers give of the event, the report states.
Investigators say the “code of silence” encourages lying even in the smallest cases.
They also found cases where officer intimidation leads to “baseless police assault and battery charges.”
That time new recruits were shown a video on deadly force as old as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
The department does not have “meaningful supervision” of officers, as managers are not held accountable for failing to report misconduct and sergeants are bogged down with administrative tasks.
Black and Latino residents reported acute problems with the police department. Some minority crime victims said they felt ignored. In addition, complaints filed by white individuals were two-and-half times more likely to be sustained than complaints filed by black individuals and nearly two times as likely to be sustained as complaints filed by Latinos.
The Justice Department said the department should address “serious concerns about systemic deficiencies that disproportionately impact black and Latino communities.”