Attorney General Loretta Lynch will launch a Civil Rights Division investigation of the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The inquiry will look into the practices of the Chicago police in what is expected to be a wide-ranging probe of the Laquan McDonald case and likely other controversies involving the use of force or shootings. Lynch to make the official announcement of what is known as a “pattern or practice” inquiry in the coming days. The Justice Department intervention is potentially very significant in challenging how the Chicago Police Department conducts its business.
If the Justice Department determines that the police department has a pattern or practice of racial bias or using unreasonable force or other misconduct or unlawful policing practices, the remedies are enforced by a federal court — not by the mayor or City Council. Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel at first said a Justice Department civil rights review was “misguided.” As more voices from officials and activists called for the inquiry, Emanuel eventually said he welcomed the probe. The mayor will address the City Council Wednesday on police issues.