US Attorney General announces civil rights probe into Chicago Police force

Loretta Lynch, Garry McCarthy
FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2015 file photo, Attorney General Loretta Lynch greets Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in the Old Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has fired McCarthy after a public outcry over the handling of the case of a black teenager shot 16 times by a white police officer. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

CHICAGO (AP) – 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.

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2014 frame from dash-cam video provided by the Chicago Police Department, Laquan McDonald, right, walks down the street moments before being shot by officer Jason Van Dyke in Chicago. Amid an outcry after the city waited more than a year to release dash-cam footage of Officer Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that he was setting up a special task force to examine, among other things, the city’s video-release policy. (Chicago Police Department via AP, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2014 frame from dash-cam video provided by the Chicago Police Department, Laquan McDonald, right, walks down the street moments before being shot by officer Jason Van Dyke in Chicago. Amid an outcry after the city waited more than a year to release dash-cam footage of Officer Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that he was setting up a special task force to examine, among other things, the city’s video-release policy. (Chicago Police Department via AP, File)

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.

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

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