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Attorney General Lynch announces federal civil rights probe of Chicago police department

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CHICAGO — The latest developments in the city of Chicago’s efforts to deal with fatal police shootings and police accountability (all times local):

9:15 am

Attorney General Loretta Lynch has announced a federal civil rights investigation of the Chicago police department.

The investigation will search for patterns of unconstitutional policing practices throughout the police force.

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the city released the explosive video of a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times, killing him.

The investigation will be led by the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Its focus goes beyond the October 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald to look at the police force’s policies on use of force, including racial, ethnic and other disparities, and its accountability systems.

The investigation is similar to ones recently undertaken in other cities, including Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri. A Justice Department investigation of the Cleveland police force ended earlier this year in a sweeping settlement.

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8:15 a.m.

A law enforcement official says U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is going to announce a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department.

The official says Lynch will make the announcement with the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Zachary Fardon, at a news conference in Washington on Monday morning. The official is not authorized to speak about the announcement and would only speak to Associated Press reporter Don Babwin on condition of anonymity.

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the city released the explosive video of a white Chicago police officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times and killing him.

Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder and Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign.

Emanuel also says the city will release of another video that shows an officer shooting and killing a black man. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, whose office charged Van Dyke, has said she’s launched a criminal investigation into the shooting.

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7:15 a.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to address police accountability in a news conference with his new interim police superintendent and the acting head of the city agency that investigates police cases.

The mayor’s office says Emanuel, interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante and acting Independent Police Review Authority chief Sharon Fairley will speak to reporters Monday afternoon.

Last week, Emanuel fired police superintendent Garry McCarthy amid controversy over a video showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times.

Late Sunday, the mayor’s office said the head of IPRA had resigned effective immediately and that Fairley would take the job. She’s a former federal prosecutor and was with Chicago’s Office of Inspector General.

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7:10 a.m.

Prosecutors in Chicago plan a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into last year’s police shooting death of 25-year-old Ronald Johnson.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez plans to discuss the case Monday morning. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the city would release a video of Johnson’s killing this week.

Police say Johnson pointed a gun at officers in October 2014 before an officer fatally shot him. However, Johnson’s family and attorney Michael Oppenheimer say he wasn’t armed and claim a gun was planted.

Johnson’s relatives have pressed Chicago officials for squad car video of the shooting and filed lawsuits.

The Johnson announcement comes after the city released graphic video last month showing a white police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was black, 16 times.

 

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