CHICAGO — With the actions of law enforcement in the spotlight across America, Chicago earned another dubious distinction. The Better Government Association says the city tops the nation in fatal shootings by police.
70 people were shot and killed by Chicago police between 2010 and 2014. That is by far, the most in the nation, followed by Phoenix, Philadelphia, Houston and L.A. Add in the non-fatal shootings over that same span, and it’s about one a week.
In those 5 years, $26.7-million was paid to the families of those shot and killed by Chicago police.
In a statement to WGN News, the department says:
Chicago is also fairly unique among major cities in that there is an independent, civilian investigative agency, separate from the police department, that reviews all officer-involved shootings.
That is a reference to the Independent Police Review Authority, or IPRA. But there are questions about its actions as well.
Of the nearly 400 police-involved shootings IPRA has investigated since it was formed in 2007, it has found only one to be unjustified.
A former IPRA investigator calls those stats downright impossible:
“The way I phrase it, it has been hijacked by career law enforcement officers,” said Lorenzo Davis, a former IPRA investigator .
The former Chicago police detective and practicing attorney says he was fired by the Independent Police Review Authority when some his findings failed to match expectations. He refused to change reports on police shootings he and his team could not justify.
The police department released a statement saying:
CPD is committed to providing enhanced training for officers on the appropriate use of force. Chicago Police officers are on the front lines against gun violence and seize more illegal firearms than New York and Los Angeles.
The department says since that training began, police shootings have gone down.
The severity of the gun problem in Chicago is also backed-up by the findings of the BGA.
The data compiled by the BGA also found that while African Americans make up about one-third of the city’s population, they accounted for two-thirds of those shot and killed by police.
As for why the Independent Police Review Authority found almost every shooting justified, a spokesman did not respond to WGN News’s request for comment.