DOJ begins investigation of Chicago Police Department

One day after federal authorities met with officials with the Chicago police to assess the department’s policies and procedures, Justice Department personnel were received by Mayor Rahm Emanuel Thursday morning to outline the specifics of their probe.

Vanita Gupta, Assistant Attorney General for civil rights, and Zachary Fardon, the U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Illinois met with both Mayor Emanuel and police officials in separate meetings over two days.

Chicago Police Department public affairs spokesman Anthony Guglielmi “pledged the city’s full cooperation” with the federal inquiry.

Similarly, Adam Collins, aide to Mayor Emanuel stated:

(Mayor Emanuel embraces the probe) because their work will be an important piece of our efforts to restore trust between residents and the police.

The release of a police dash-cam video capturing the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laqaun McDonald triggered the federal investigation.

Officer Jason Van Dyke was indicted Wednesday on six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct.

Disclosure of the recorded incident sparked several days of protests on Chicago’s streets demanding the resignation of Mayor Emanuel and dismissal of superintendent Garry McCarthy.  Emanuel accepted the resignation of Scott Ando, head of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), on December 6.

Justice Department officials also met independently with community organizers, private citizens and newly-appointed head of the IPRA, Sharon Fairley.


As if on cue, the Obama Justice Department descends on a large city posturing itself as an amorous envoy clutching immutable truths and extravagant proposals to mend unproven flaws in Chicago’s police methodologies.

Justice is not intent on cooperating with Chicago or its police department; on the contrary, it endeavors to find fault where no fault exists or rectify defects which can be properly addressed by the city of Chicago’s police department or its court system, free from outside influences.

By assuming the role of an intellectual competitor determined to take critical attitude instead of carefully examining various possibilities represents a Justice Department functioning as an advocate.

A realistic appraisal of the situation is that of a city which recently uncovered a solitary offense perpetrated by one officer to which a handful of fellow officers contributed to falsifying a record to offer protection for the negligent.

For Mr. Emanuel, a series of hasty, politically-calculated decisions, dismissing the police superintendent and accepting the resignation of the top IPRA administrator, has ushered in the conviction the entire police department suffers from systemic corruption.

Emanuel’s resolve in cleaning the stables only enhanced the belief within the Justice Department and select groups found in Chicago that the city’s law enforcement branch is in dire need of an overhaul.

Mr. Emanuel badly miscalculated:  In the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting, Emanuel sought to escape the wrath of his former boss, Mr. Obama, to avoid a political scandal. 

Emanuel undervalued the role of the Justice Department in urban affairs.  The Obama Administration symbolizes a dramatic shift in values:  Its governing vision is accumulating power and subduing urban police departments.

The Chicago Police Department is not a flawless organization; however, it is not in need of a missionary and intrusive federal investigation.

Conclusions drawn from the Justice’s inquiry will do nothing to promote an atmosphere which relieves anxiety; it will do little more than patronize; and is intent in compelling Mr. Obama’s particular brand of justice.


[Reuters] [WGN] [Photo courtesy]


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