The Chicago Police Department has always had a violent history plagued by corruption. On Friday a yearlong investigation by the U.S. Justice Department confirms that the CPD has continued to build on its bankrupt legacy.
According to DOJ findings, the Chicago police “have violated the constitutional rights of residents for years, permitting racial bias against blacks, using excessive force and shooting people who did not pose immediate threats,” the New York Times reports.
The report concluded that police tactics have endangered civilians and officers, caused avoidable injuries and deaths, and helped complicate an already contentious relationship between officers and the community.
The findings also noted that the pattern was attributable to “systemic deficiencies,” including insufficient training and bad officers remaining unaccountable for their actions.
Many are concerned that the findings come too little, too late, since the current administration has just days in office before President-elect Donald Trump’s regime takes over. Trump’s position on corruption within the police force and senseless killings of unarmed African Americans remains to be seen.
The DOJ investigation began after the release of dashcam footage that captured the shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald by Chicago officers. The video showed the 17-year-old walking down the street holding a small pocketknife before he was shot some 16 times. Although the shooting happened in 2014, the footage was not released until December 2015, after the McDonald family demanded that the video be made public.
Out of the 409 police shootings in the last five years, that were reviewed by the Justice Dept., only two were deemed unjustified. The report found that witnesses were often never interviewed, and officers colluded to make sure shooting stories had the same narrative.
“The procedures surrounding investigations allow for ample opportunity for collusion among officers and are devoid of any rules prohibiting such coordination,” the report said, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the report lays “the groundwork for the difficult but necessary work of building a stronger, safer, and more united Chicago for all who call it home,” AP reports.