The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will examine whether Chicago PD officers engaged in “a pattern of biased policing,” USA Today reported.
WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – The Department of Justice will soon open an investigation into the Chicago Police Department following public outrage over a police car dashcam video that shows a white police officer shooting a black teen 16 times, several news outlets reported.
USA Today, referencing an unnamed DOJ official, reported that an announcement by Attorney General Loretta Lynch is “imminent.”
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will examine whether officers engaged in “a pattern of biased policing,” USA Today reported.
On Oct. 20, 2014 the Chicago police department responded to a 911 call saying that Laquan McDonald, who was 17, was armed with a 3-inch blade and breaking into vehicles in a truck yard on the city’s Southwest Side.
The day following the encounter, the Chicago PD released a statement saying that: “Uniformed officers confronted the armed offender who refused to comply with orders to drop the knife and continued to approach the officers. As a result of this action, the officer discharged his weapon striking the offender.”
The video, released last month following the order of a county judge, shows a different situation. It shows McDonald walking past officers, stepping away from them before being shot repeatedly, even as he lay on the ground.
Prosecutors say McDonald had PCP in his system at the time of his death.
Officer Jason Van Dyke, who killed McDonald, told investigators following the incident that the teen “raised the knife across his chest and over his shoulder, pointing the knife” before firing upon him, according to the report from Van Dyke’s initial interview with investigators, USA Today reported. Van Dyke said he continued to fire on McDonald because he “appeared to be attempt[ing] to get up, all the while continuing to point the knife” at him.
Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder on the same day that the city released the video. He has since posted $150,000 of a $1.5 million bond, and awaits trial.
Illinois state attorney general Lisa Madigan and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) requested that the DOJ open an inquiry into the police department last week.
Following high profile incidents that saw deaths at the hands of police officers in Cleveland; Ferguson, Mo.; and New Orleans the Obama administration opened similar probes.