Chicago Agrees to Cooperate on Police Reforms

Jan 13, 2017

The Justice Department and the city of Chicago have signed a joint statement in which the nation's third largest city commits to police reforms under a court-enforced agreement, called a consent decree.  The document, along with the findings of a yearlong Justice Department civil rights investigation of the police force,was released Friday. 

It found that the police department has violated the constitutional rights of residents for years, permitting racial bias against blacks, using excessive force and killing people who didn't pose a threat.

The agreement in principle provides only broad outlines for reform, including commitments to improved transparency, training and accountability for bad officers.  Officials from the Justice Department and city will negotiate a final settlement.  Those talks will take place under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the Justice Department civil rights investigation of the city's police department is "sobering" and that the city will proceed with reforms.

Emanuel says that the city has already implemented some of the recommended changes. He cited expanded de-escalation training for officers and stricter use-of-force polices that were put in place after the 2015 release of video showing a white officer shoot a black teenager 16 times.

Emanuel also addressed the Justice Department's conclusion that officers do not have nearly enough supervision. He pointed to his decision to increase the number of lieutenants and other supervisors.