Last Friday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released the report of their investigation into Chicago's Police Department. I read the 168-page document over the weekend and found it to be fiercely honest and disturbing, both in the description of the brutal actions that were described and the length of time that had to go by before a full investigation would occur. I encourage you to read it in order to hold the City and CPD accountable. Click here to download a copy of the DOJ's report. The Department of Justice recommendations begin on page 150.
This was a 13-month investigation of a pattern of practice with more than 1,000 witnesses interviewed. Of the 20+ police departments across the country that have been investigated, this one was the largest investigation ever conducted. Due to the Presidential election with anticipated changes to the Dept. of Justice, there was a strong push to have this investigation completed during President Obama's administration. Whether or not the President-elect will support these findings, I, as a member of the City Council, am committed to make sure the City of Chicago makes the necessary changes outlined in this report.
I am committed to making sure that Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson stay on the path to correct this culture of abuse that has been allowed to go on for too long. If we as a city are serious about addressing the Chicago murder rate, a key component to this is a better relationship between the community and the police. The Chicago Police Department must prioritize the difficult work of establishing trust within the African-American and Latino communities in our city. This is the key to creating a plan to reduce violence that will actually produce results.
Undoing the damage created by many decades of a culture supporting intolerance and abuse within the Chicago Police Department will take time and incredible effort. We must institute the changes recommended by the Department of Justice immediately. If we want to move our city forward, we have no other option.