CHICAGO -- Shortly after the release of the dashcam video showing the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation of the Chicago Police Department.
It is a broad probe covering the department’s use of force, how it handles allegations of misconduct and how officers are disciplined.
There are now reports that the department is looking to conclude its investigation before President Obama leaves office and could issue the findings next week.
Today, Mayor Emanuel said he does not want to get ahead of the DOJ.
“They obviously have a deadline that they’re trying to rush to meet to finish their job,” Emanuel said. “Our job is not finished.”
The mayor is looking to make reforms even before the feds make their suggestions.
“Training is essential for that. The technology is essential for that. The transparency is essential for that,” he said.
The speed of the Justice Department’s probe concerns Civil Rights Attorney Andrew Stroth.
“I think they need more time. It’s a complex issue,” he said.
Stroth represents families who claim misconduct by CPD. The family of Jose Nieves, a 39-year-old man who was fatally shot by an off-duty CPD officer on Monday, has hired Stroth.
“There’s many good police officers,” Stroth said. “Unfortunately, especially in the lawsuits and the families I represent, there’s a group of bad officers that have created a very bad mark on the police department. My concern is the Department of Justice will come out with a report, but what is the next step after the report? What’s the accountability and more importantly, what the enforceability?”
The enforceability would be an agreement between the city and the Department of Justice with oversight.
But there are questions about whether the Trump administration will act on the recommendations.
Illinois Sen Dick Durbin has been following the investigation. Yesterday, he met with President-elect Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Session. Durbin says Sessions would not commit to implementing the recommendations.
“He said he wanted to study, to understand it better,” Durbin said. “That troubles me because these are reports are done by professionals, career professionals, in the Department of Justice.”
Usually, after the Department of Justice investigates a police department, it will written agreement to make reforms. It remains to be seen what kind of deal Mayor Emanuel will work out with the justice department.