Chicago Police Board President calls DOJ report an ‘important milestone’

CHICAGO -- Lori Lightfoot, the former federal prosecutor who now heads the Chicago Police Board and also led the Police Accountability Task Force says today is "an important milestone" that will put the city on "the path of healing the divide between the community and the police".

Lightfoot shared her thoughts shortly after U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Justice Department investigation found the Chicago Police Department engaged in a pattern and practice of abuse, excessive force and discrimination.

Lori Lightfoot's Police Accountability Task Force found many of the same things.

Back on April 20 of last year, she issued a report finding the police department had engaged in "systemic racism" and "blatant disregard for people of color" in Chicago. That group, which was created in the uproar over the Laquan McDonald shooting, made a number of recommendations to professionalize the police force. Those recommendations included improved training and supervision and better selection of supervisors.

Those recommendations were echoed by the Justice Department today.

Lightfoot said in a statement this afternoon she and the police board will be closely reviewing the report and "will be giving thorough consideration to the report’s recommendations."

Lightfoot said in the statement:

The members of the Board and I are committed to the values of impartiality, due process, and transparency as we carry out our responsibility for deciding the most serious police disciplinary cases. We will give the DOJ’s recommendations our careful consideration and do everything in our power to promote accountability and increase the confidence of the community and police officers in the process for handling allegations of police misconduct.

Lightfoot has been an outspoken advocate of police reforms, including better police training and more accountability.  She says the "consent decree" will be a legally binding contract but she warns that "it takes two to tango" and says this will be a test of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's leadership.