DOJ To Release Chicago Police Probe Findings Next Week: Report

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 6, 2017 6:19PM

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Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

The long-ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the Chicago Police Department will be released as soon as next week, according to sources who spoke to WBEZ and the Sun-Times. The probe was launched in the wake of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald.

The DOJ will likely put forth its findings on Jan. 13 (a date that Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot reportedly said was a target) or Jan. 16, according to WBEZ. Barack Obama’s farewell speech at McCormick Place happens on Tuesday Jan. 10, so it’s hard to imagine the findings being announced ahead of the big celebratory bash.

Essentially since the election of Donald Trump, the Justice Department has been hustling to complete the report ahead of Obama’s departure for fears that the president-elect and his vocally pro-police-latitude Attorney General nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has a poor civil-rights track record, will bury the findings. NBC Chicago’s political editor Carol Marin reported last month that a team of attorney and investigators were “burning the midnight oil” on Christmas Eve and Hanukkah in their beat-the-clock attempt.

Sen. Dick Durbin on Wednesday met with Sessions. Sessions—who, somewhat alarmingly, wasn’t aware of the DOJ investigation—would not commit to implementing the proposals that will be put forth.

“I tried to fill him in as best I could and ask for a commitment to move forward with it, which at least at this meeting he wasn’t prepared to make,” Durbin said, according to WBEZ. “They’ve been working it for over a year, and if we can get it out and start looking at it and deciding what will be helpful and what we can agree on, that’s far better than having this buried in a new administration back in some cabinet.”

Whatever recommendations are offered by the Justice Department will likely come in the form of an “agreement in principle” rather than a consent decree that would mandate specific changes, the Sun-Times notes. Investigators fear that Sessions, skeptic of consent decrees, would not enforce one.

The Justice Department announced the probe into department practices, relating to race and use of force, back in December of 2015, after dashcam footage of Laquan McDonald's shooting death prompted waves of protest in Chicago.