CHICAGO — Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Wednesday that his office is investigating patterns and practices of unconstitutional or unlawful policing at the Joliet Police Department.
The civil investigation follows requests made by the mayor and members of the Joliet City Council.
The Attorney General’s office will examine the police department’s policies, training, practices and supervision as they relate to traffic and pedestrian stops, searches, arrests, and uses of force.
A review will be conducted of the department’s policies, reports, documents and trainings. In addition, the investigative team will conduct interviews and meetings with Joliet law enforcement officers, city government officials, residents, advocates, and other stakeholders.
“After receiving the request from Joliet’s mayor and city officials, my office began a preliminary review of Joliet Police Department records and other information. It is clear that a formal investigation is needed to look at whether the department has engaged in patterns or practices of unlawful or unconstitutional policing,” Raoul said. “In the coming weeks, the Attorney General’s office will conduct a thorough, impartial and independent review of whether reforms are needed under the law.”
Raoul said it’s not a criminal investigation, although they can refer potential criminal violations to prosecutors.
In recent years, the Joliet Police Department has been the subject of multiple lawsuits and poor morale, and more recently, a controversy regarding the death of Eric Lurry — who was in Joliet police custody during an undercover drug sting that went bad.
Joliet Police Officer Javier Esqueda is charged with two counts of official misconduct for allegedly releasing police bodycam video of the deadly incident to the public.
Raoul is cautioning that he’s conducting a civil investigation and not looking to find criminal violations, but he could always refer matter to the feds or other law enforcement.
Raoul’s office is slated to hold its first public hearing Wednesday night.
Anyone wishing to provide input on their experiences with Joliet police and contact Raoul’s office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via hotline at 1-833-243-1498.