Department of Justice Investigative Findings Of The Chicago Police Department


Photo credit (Jose Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The United States Department of Justice completed a probe of the Chicago Police.  Its investigation was conducted over a period of 13 months. They found that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) used biased techniques to investigate officers and a consistent unwillingness to probe or dispute officers’ statements.

The Chicago police force is one of the nation’s largest, with 12,000 officers.

The DOJ also found that the police received insufficient training in de-escalation techniques and poor training on all levels.

The investigation also found Constitutional violations, and violations of federal law by officers in the use of force, racial disparities and other systemic problems.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports;

“The Justice Department and City Hall have hammered out a pact, called a “statement of agreement,” which will detail remedies the city has already or will be taking to address problems that have ruptured relations between police and the people they serve, particularly minority communities.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be out of office on January 20, 2017, and wanted to complete DOJ investigations in Baltimore and Chicago before the new administration takes over. 

In a December 7, 2015 press release announcing the opening of the investigation, the DOJ stated;

“As part of the investigation the department will gather information directly from police officers and local officials; community members, and other criminal justice stake holders, such as public defenders and prosecutors.  The department will also observe officer activities through ride-alongs and other means; as well as review documents and specific incidents that are relevant to the investigation.  Pattern or practice investigations of police departments do not assess individual cases for potential criminal violations; instead they look at incidents for patterns created by systems and practices. “

The DOJ’s 164 page report includes illustrations of the failure of supervisors and lieutenants to investigate.  For example,  page 48 states:

“Illustrative of the inadequacy of supervisory review of force incidents is the troubling incident discussed above in which officers deployed a Taser against an unarmed 65-year-old woman who was in mental health crisis. The TRR file contains only a cursory description of the incident, and without reviewing the Taser data download or requesting any investigation, the sergeant approved this TRR three minutes after the officer submitted it, and the lieutenant approved it less than 25 minutes after that. There is no indication that the lieutenant asked the officers any questions about whether this force was necessary or whether there might have been something they could have done to avoid using force against this woman, such as seeking assistance from a crisis intervention trained officer.”

The report can be read and/or downloaded here.

Below is the press conference announcing the DOJ’s findings.



Posted on 01/13/2017, in civil rights, Department of Justice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Two sides to a story

    Awesome. Wish DOJ could work faster. They’d likely come to the same conclusion in hundreds if not thousands of departments around the US.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mr. Militant Negro

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Liked by 2 people

  4. Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s to be hoped that sufficient changes can be made by the Police Department to regain some trust by the people again. That’s if they have the willingness to try.

    Liked by 3 people

    • David,
      Regaining trust of Chicago citizens is going to be difficult because going back to the days of Al Capone, that town hasn’t trusted the police. Still, I hope.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Dear Xena,

    I am thrilled with this report. Chicago police have a long history of resorting to excessive force with Homan Square and Jon Burge.

    There are some that are criticizing this because Chicago has such a high number murders when compared to other cities. What the critics don’t get that lowering the murder rate goes hand in hand with fair treatment by police.

    Once there is a better relationship with local police the community will be in a position to come forward with information that the police need to tackle this problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Gronda!

      “There are some that are criticizing this because Chicago has such a high number murders when compared to other cities. What the critics don’t get that lowering the murder rate goes hand in hand with fair treatment by police.”

      Could be, but I think it goes much deeper and further back. Fred Hampton was the only person able to bring street gangs together and stop competitive violence. After he was murdered, the gangs began dealing drugs. Some police officers received kickbacks. It was well-known that certain motorcycle clubs sold drugs, and people used them openly in the clubs. It was also known what day and time the police were coming by for their pay-offs. If they didn’t receive it or enough of it, people were carried off to jail.

      If you wanted a gun without applying for a FOIA, just see a cop. Saturday night specials were cheap.

      As the old saying goes, “Follow the money.”

      In certain communities, you could call 911 all you wanted. The police were not coming. Dispatchers advised people to physically come to a police station to file a report. Gang retaliation was handled in one of two ways; either file a police report and end up having your report given to alleged perpetrators who retaliated further; or find the competing gang to issue street justice.

      The police do not know who can be trusted, and the citizens do not know what police officers they can trust.

      Chicago crime and protecting the public has its own culture that has become rooted through decades of corruption, generation after generation after generation. There are pockets of communities, first settled by immigrants, who do not call the police because of the reputation of brutality.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for the report. I’m guessing such policies are fairly ubiquitous. The brotherhood of police have completely normalized bullying and violence. Retraining them towards deescalation will require addressing the huge problems of emotional disengagement.
    The mental health crisis in this country is very much alive in the police “force.” I have a friend who is a retired homicide detective, and have talked to him about the complete absence within police culture of addressing trauma. Which translates to police officers being dangerously reactionary, as a direct result of their own unaddressed trauma. The police and military are tragic expressions of the dehumanization of patriarchy.
    Finding ways to re-humanize the police towards active nonviolence, rather than the current almost casual murderous use of force, is a big job. Probably what is needed is to completely start over, reinvent community safety and justice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Irdacea,
      You make an excellent point. I’ve read some training documents for police officers in academy, and detect an intentional programming to dehumanize citizens. It’s almost along the lines of religious cults who believe that God only favors their members and all others are condemned. That eventually removes all empathy. A human being without empathy cannot serve other humans. Once humans think of others as less-human, they have raised the bar for themselves to be perfect, and that’s a high standard they cannot live up to. It backfires on them until they transform into robots.

      Yes, we need to start over.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is interesting about the training manuals.
        I like to imagine what it would be like to have a restorative justice system that focuses on healing and reconciliation …

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Liked by 1 person

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