University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation of Chicago Police Department PN-IL-0020
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In the aftermath of the November 2015 release of a police video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, sixteen times first as he walked away and later as he lay in the middle of the road, citizens called for a federal investigation into the Chicago Police ... read more >
In the aftermath of the November 2015 release of a police video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, sixteen times first as he walked away and later as he lay in the middle of the road, citizens called for a federal investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD). On December 7, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it was opening an investigation into CPD under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The DOJ aimed to identify any constitutional or federal law violations carried out by CPD and focused on CPD’s use of force and accountability standards.

The investigation’s findings were released on January 13, 2017. The report highlighted many incidents of unjustified force that violated the Fourth Amendment, such as shooting at individuals who did not pose immediate threats to CPD officers, used by CPD and concluded that this pattern was attributed to “a collection of poor policies.” These policies included inadequate training and supervision, a lack of accountability, poor data collection techniques, and procedures that eroded trust between CPD and the community. DOJ outlined how CPD had begun to take steps to ameliorate CPD’s unlawful behavior. Tactics adopted by CPD prior to the findings’ release include implementing a body camera program, providing a force mitigation training course for CPD officers, and revisiting old CPD policies connected to use of force.

The report indicated that even though CPD had taken commendable steps to improving its practices, reform will likely not continue without an independent monitor and consent decree. The City of Chicago pledged to negotiate with the DOJ after the findings were released in order to solve the issues outlined in the report.

Amelia Huckins - 02/12/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Chicago PD
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  New York City to Pay Up to $75 Million Over Dismissed Summonses
New York Times
Date: Jan. 23, 2017
By: Benjamin Weiser (New York Times)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Press Release
PN-IL-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Findings Report
PN-IL-0020-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/13/2017
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Re: Investigation of the Chicago Police Department
PN-IL-0020-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/13/2017
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Agreement in Principle Between the United States Department of Justice and the City of Chicago Regarding the Chicago Police Department
PN-IL-0020-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/13/2017
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fardon, Zachary T. (Illinois)
PN-IL-0020-0003 | PN-IL-0020-0004
Gunston, Emily A. (District of Columbia)
PN-IL-0020-0004
Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
PN-IL-0020-0003 | PN-IL-0020-0004
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
PN-IL-0020-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Patton, Stephen Ray (Illinois)
PN-IL-0020-0004

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