The U.S. Department of Justice released a 161-page report this week detailing its findings following a year-long probe into the highly contentious Chicago Police Department (CPD). Federal investigators determined that the CPD has routinely violated the constitutional rights of citizens for years in numerous ways, such as using excessive force, permitting racially discriminatory conduct and shooting individuals who posed no immediate threats.
The report, which has been called “scathing”, “blistering”, and “chilling”, highlights the “systemic deficiencies” in training and accountability that investigators say have led to a pattern or practice of using force by the Department, in violation of the Constitution.
Most unsettling but not surprising, is the confirmation that the CPD disproportionally uses force against African-Americans and Latinos, rarely facing any form of consequence for their actions. DOJ statistics showed the CPD used force almost 10 times more often against African-Americans than against whites. Yet somehow, rulings against officers for this type of unconstitutional behavior remain alarmingly low.
At Romanucci & Blandin our police misconduct attorneys know first-hand how individuals, primarily African American males, have suffered at the hands of Chicago police officers – especially as it relates to the pending federal class-action stop and frisk lawsuit against the City of Chicago and the CPD – which we are leading the fight on. Whether it’s with stop and frisk, fatal police shootings or excessive force, we have seen the rights of citizens here in Chicago violated by the CPD time and time again.
While the acknowledgement of these issues today is a step in the right direction, there is still a long road ahead before the people of Chicago, especially those which we represent whose rights have been routinely violated by CPD officers, can reach a level of trust with the battered department. It is our hope that this report is leveraged to help make real and lasting change for a brighter tomorrow in our beloved city of Chicago.