Feds launch civil rights probe of Chicago Police Department

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WASHINGTON — Attorney General Loretta Lynch has announced a federal civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department.

The investigation will search for patterns of unconstitutional policing practices throughout the police force.

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the city released the explosive video of a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times, killing him.

The investigation will be led by the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Its focus goes beyond the October 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald to look at the police force’s policies on use of force, including racial, ethnic and other disparities, and its accountability systems.

The investigation is similar to ones recently undertaken in other cities, including Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri. A Justice Department investigation of the Cleveland police force ended earlier this year in a sweeping settlement.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued the following statement:

“I welcome today’s announcement by the Department of Justice and pledge the City’s complete cooperation. Our mutual goal is to create a stronger, better Police Department that keeps the community safe while respecting the civil rights of every Chicagoan. Nothing is more important to me than the safety and well-being of our residents and ensuring that the men and women of our Police Department have the tools, resources and training they need to be effective crime fighters, stay safe, and build community trust.”

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