Justice Department reportedly set to launch probe of Chicago police

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The Justice Department is planning to launch an investigation of the Chicago Police Department, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The paper said that the probe "would focus on the police department’s practices broadly to determine whether any of them contribute to civil rights violations." It would resemble the wide-ranging investigation into the Ferguson, Mo. police department, which led to a blistering report about the deep-seated injustices there.

The news comes as the scandal surrounding the killing of black teenager Laquan McDonald—who was shot 16 times by a police officer he was running away from—shows no signs of abating. That officer, Jason Van Dyke, has since been charged with murder. Sunday saw a fresh round of protests after newly released records revealed that a number of officers described the McDonald killing in ways that were thoroughly contradicted by the footage of the incident.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel had initially been resistant to the idea of a federal probe, but he eventually relented under pressure.

The McDonald killing is far from the only controversy that has hit the CPD. It has also been under fire after an investigation by The Guardian showed that it had detained thousands of people inside a secret warehouse, where abuse was allegedly common. And a recent Chicago Tribune investigation showed that the department has spent around $500 million over the last 11 years to handle cases of police misconduct.

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