WTLC News has learned the Chicago Urban League has called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the Chicago Police Department and allegations of potential corruption in the wake of the murder a Chicago teenager at the hands of an officer, caught on tape.
The civil and economic rights organization has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and to the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division the Justice Department, Vanita Gupta, requesting the opening of a multi-pronged civil rights investigation into the patterns or practices of the CPD. This includes the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, the people involved, the alleged events surrounding his death, and a possible cover up. They specifically cite murder charges for Officer Jason Van Dyke only coming after a judge forced the release of the video–those charges being 400 days after the crime; the officer’s widely reported record–at least 18 citizen complaints, ranging from racially charged language to roughing up suspects, filed against Van Dyke–though he was never disciplined prior to this shooting; the alleged tampering of evidence in the case, specifically a surveillance tap at a nearby Burger King that may have shown evidence of Johnson’s shooting; the more than 1,600 people that have been struck by bullets fired by Chicago police officers—including 19 men killed in 2014 alone; and whether the Chicago Police Department, as well as the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, and the State’s Attorney for Cook County, Anita Alvarez, engaged in a pattern or practice of civil rights violations.
The Chicago Urban League’s interim president and CEO, Shari Runner, acknowledged the “resignation” of Chicago’s top cop, Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was actually fired by Emanuel on Tuesday and the creation of a new task force by the mayor on police accountability, however they know these measures don’t go far enough and the community is calling for change. Their goal is to have the DOJ help reform a broken system which they say—along with many in the black community– is currently unequal and inequitable, ignoring the civil rights of the citizens of Chicago.
Read their letter calling for a federal investigation into policing in the nation’s third largest city, HERE.
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