US launches probe into Chicago police

Washington, Dec 8 (IANS) US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Monday that the US Justice Department opened a probe into the Chicago Police Department’s practices following the release of a video showing a white officer shooting dead a black young man in 2014.

The federal investigation was mainly focused on whether the Chicago Police Department had engaged in “a pattern or practice of violations of the Constitution or federal law,” said Lynch here at a press conference.

“Specifically, we will examine a number of issues related to the CPD’s use of force, including its use of deadly force; racial, ethnic and other disparities in its use of force,” said Lynch, adding that the CPD’s accountability mechanisms would also be under investigation.

The announcement came about two weeks after police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Tensions heightened recently in Chicago, Illinois, after the release of a video clip showing Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times after the teenager walked away from him.

The Justice Department had in the last six years opened more than 20 investigations into police departments.

In March, the department released a scathing report of the Ferguson police force in the state of Missouri that found widespread discrimination against the black communities among law enforcement officials.

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