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Federal Probe Into Chicago Police Will Look For 'Patterns' Of Abuse

By Kate Shepherd in News on Dec 7, 2015 9:27PM

Photo credit: Rotating Frame

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has announced the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into the Chicago Police Department will examine the department's use of deadly force, accountability measures, the system of oversight of police shootings, training and community engagement.

The wide-ranging investigation will look into whether CPD has violated the constitution and possible patterns of abuse or excessive use of force. If a pattern is found, the DOJ will ask for a "court-enforceable agreement with the Chicago Police Department," according to the Tribune. She's not sure how far back into CPD history the investigation will go yet.

Lynch wants to help rebuild trust in law enforcement by bringing people from around Chicago into the investigation, including Chicagoans who feel victimized by police and rank-and-file cops.

"We understand that the same systems that fail community members also fail conscientious officers by creating mistrust between law enforcement and the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect," Lynch said.

"This mistrust from members of the community makes it more difficult to gain help with investigations, to encourage victims and witnesses of crimes to speak up, and to fulfill the most basic responsibilities of public safety officials. And when suspicion and hostility is allowed to fester, it can erupt into unrest."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who originally said he was against the probe, welcomed Lynch's involvement in a statement of his own Monday.

The department is also investigating the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray. The DOJ recently investigated the police in Ferguson, Missouri.