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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Justice Department Releases Report on Chicago Police Brutality

Feb 09 2017, by Jared Staver in Personal Injury, Police Brutality

Police brutality has been a particular focus for the public, legislators, and human rights groups in recent years, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) repot on police violence in Chicago is not good news. After a 13-month-long investigation into the Chicago Police Department, the DOJ found a sustained pattern of abuse, a blatant disregard for civil rights, and unnecessary fatalities.

For most residents of the city, Chicago police brutality is not new. For many, it is an everyday fear or reality. However, for the rest of the nation, such clear-cut findings may be shocking. It also raises concern that other city’s police departments may have similar issues that are going unnoticed and unresolved.

If you are the victim of police brutality, do not hesitate to contact a Chicago personal injury attorney today. We will compassionately listen to your side of the story and gather evidence that you were injured unjustly. Call Staver Law Group today at to find out how we can help you.

Key Findings in the DOJ Report

Overall, the DOJ found the Chicago Police Department (CPD) lacks adequate training, community-responsive policies, proper supervision, adequate independent investigations, and accountability. All of these deficiencies result in racially biased and violent policing. In many situations, the police brutality has gone beyond reckless and is unconstitutional, yet is not addressed or punished.

Some of the DOJ’s specific key findings in regard to the CPD include:

  • CPD supervisors do not provide enough guidance to ensure CPD policing is lawful and effective
  • The CPD has an overall lack of training and accountability
  • CPD officers do not use proven crisis-intervention techniques
  • CPD officers use non-lethal and lethal force in a way that is both reckless and violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
  • CPD officers use unsound tactics that result in unnecessary shootings of unarmed individuals and toward moving vehicles
  • The CPD’s unreasonable force disproportionately affects predominantly black and Latino communities
  • CPD lacks effective community-focused policing strategies
  • The CPD’s own policies hinder investigations into officer misconduct
  • The Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) accepted officer’s reports even when there was evidence contrary to what the officer states
  • The City of Chicago’s discipline process is ineffective and “lacks integrity”
  • The CPD does not adequately collect information and provide transparency to the community
  • The CPD does not provide proper support for officer wellness and safety
  • The CPD’s lack of adequate training, supervision, and accountability lead to racially discriminatory conduct by officers
  • CPD officers, including supervisors and those of heightened rank, make clearly biased and bigoted comments online
  • CPD lacks concern about overtly racist or biased behavior
  • CPD’s current policing has built mistrust between the department and communities

How the DOJ Came to These Conclusions

The DOJ put considerable resources into learning about the CPD, IPRA, and the city’s participation with the force. In order to come to its current findings, the Justice Department:

  • Met with city leaders
  • Met with current and former police officers representing all of the ranks
  • Met with the command staff of specialized units and departments
  • Met with police officer unions
  • Received testimony and feedback from more than 1,000 city residents and 90 community organizations
  • Reviewed police documents, including all policies, procedures, training, and materials
  • Observed training programs
  • Analyzed a randomized sample of more than 400 force reports and investigative files, including more than 170 officer-involved shootings, for incidents between January 2011 and April 2016
  • Went on more than 60 ride-alongs covering every district in the city

A Move to Improve the Situation

The City of Chicago and the DOJ have signed an agreement to work together, gather community input, and to create a legally enforceable consent decree that addresses the issues found through the DOJ’s investigation. Chicago will not be the first city to go through this process and agree to a consent decree. The Baltimore Police Department and the DOJ recently announced a consent decree after a 2014 report regarding police brutality and more than 100 settled civil lawsuits regarding the misconduct.

Have You Suffered From Police Brutality?

If you have been a victim of police violence and unlawful actions, you may have the right to recover compensation. While police officers are entitled to use reasonable force to apprehend criminals, protect themselves, and to protect others in the community, they are not entitled to use unnecessary violence or brutal behavior. If you were apprehended through excessive force or suffered injuries due to an encounter with the Chicago Police Department, contact the attorneys of Staver Law Group right away. We can analyze your case and explain your legal options, which may include defenses for a current criminal case against you or a civil case against the CPD.

For more information, contact Staver Law Group at to schedule a free consultation.