The Chicago Police Department has been under heavy investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), who has found numerous cases on record where excessive force was used. The DOJ released a 164-page report based on its 13 month investigation of the Chicago Police Department.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated before a press conference that The Department of Justice has concluded reasonable cause to believe the Chicago Police Department “engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force in violation to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
The report noted an “unprecedented surge in shootings and homicides” for the year 2016. The report also noted 3,550 shootings, which is 1,100 more than in 2015. While the DOJ acknowledges the officer’s right to protect themselves and the general public from perceived threat, they advise unnecessary use of force is unconstitutional.
Cases of unnecessary use of force include officer involved shootings at individuals who were fleeing the scene, and did not pose a threat, as well as tasers being used on those who were not a threat to an officer on the scene. The report states officers have not been adequately trained and guided as to how and when they may use force, and how to gauge if use of force is needed.
Chicago Police released a dashcam video of a female officer being brutally attacked while trying to subdue a male suspect. Eddie Johnson, Chicago’s Police Superintendent stated, “She knew that she should shoot this guy, but she chose not to because she didn’t want her family – or the department – to have to go through the scrutiny the next day.”
Officer Johnson seems to be saying that had she shot the suspect, who was a black male, she would not be laying in the hospital right now. What he failed to realize in making his statement is that had the officer shot the suspect, he would probably be dead right now. That would have brought the total shootings in Chicago to 3,551.
The Law Enforcement Oath of Honor is universal to all U.S. officers and generally states that they will “never betray…the public trust,” in addition to their badges, character, and integrity. The Chicago Police Department has betrayed public trust and will need to work hard to restore it. It is not an impossible feat. However, it will take discipline, restraint, and time.
What steps do you think the Chicago Police Department can take to restore public trust? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter @lcarterwriter.