officials meet with Chicago police over practices
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[December 17, 2015]
By Mary Wisniewski
CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. Department of
Justice officials began meeting with Chicago police on Wednesday, three
weeks after the release of a video showing a white officer shooting a
black teen 16 times, which spurred calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to
The meeting is to review policies and procedures, a police
spokesman said. The U.S. Justice Department said last week it would
look at the department's use of deadly force, among other issues.
Use of force by police has become a focus of national debate due to
a series of high-profile police killings of black men by mainly
white officers in U.S. cities. Baltimore police also are under
federal scrutiny, after the death of a black man injured in police
The Chicago Police Department "pledges the city's complete and full
cooperation," said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Those meeting
with federal officials include Interim Superintendent John Escalante
and command staff.
The October 2014 video showed Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting
17-year-old Laquan McDonald while McDonald appears to be walking
away, and continuing to fire while the teen was on the ground. Van
Dyke was charged with murder on Nov. 24, the same day the video was
Protesters have questioned why it took 13 months for the city to
release the video and for a murder charge to be filed by Cook County
State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Sixteen protesters were arrested on Tuesday night, and all were
charged with misdemeanors and released, according to Chicago police
Officer Jose Estrada. Estrada said protesters were lying down in the
A protest is planned for Christmas Eve on the city's "Magnificent
Mile," its most prestigious shopping district, according to the
political group "Coalition for a New Chicago." A Nov. 27 protest on
the strip drew thousands of demonstrators, who prevented shoppers
from entering some stores.
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"We're going to do prayer and demonstration," said Gregory
Livingston, Coalition founder. He said the group is also planning a
protest at politicians' offices on Thursday.
Also on Wednesday, the Chicago Justice Project, a nonprofit
dedicated to transparency in local justice systems, sued Alvarez for
denying Freedom of Information Act requests. Sally Daly, a
spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, said officials had not yet
read the lawsuit and could not comment.
Emanuel has responded to the criticism by firing his hand-picked
police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, and replacing the head of the
Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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