‘Agreement in Principle’ Due Next Week on Chicago Police

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel is bracing for the Justice Department to release – before President Obama leaves office Jan. 20 — findings from its Chicago Police Department probe triggered by the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. No announcement is expected before Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night as homicides are soaring in the president’s adopted hometown. The report is expected to be released later next week. It is highly unlikely the probe will conclude with a signed-and-completed consent decree outlining mandated changes in police practices. What is on the table, given the time constraints, is a deal for the city and Justice Department to sign an “agreement in principle.” Such a pact, to be made with community input, would create a federal court-enforceable road forward addressing investigatory findings from the probe, launched in December 2015.

The sense of urgency was heightened Wednesday after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) met with President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who in the past has said he is skeptical of using consent decrees to change police practices. After the meeting, Durbin said Sessions would not promise to follow through on any suggestions the Justice Department will make to address police misconduct in Chicago. Emanuel wants the federal government to provide funds to hire more police and provide more training; Sessions, Durbin said, declined to commit to support grants for the city. Durbin said Sessions’ stance on the pending DOJ report “troubles me because these reports are done by professionals, career professionals, in the Department of Justice,” not political appointees.

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