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DOJ Release Report on Reform Efforts By the Philadelphia Police Dept.

14 January 2017

The Chicago Police department shows a pattern of using excessive force and civil rights violations, according to year-long report released by the US Department of Justice.

The senator said he's encouraged Mayor Rahm Emanuel has forged an agreement in principle to negotiate a consent decree, to be filed in federal court, and to have an independent monitor oversee reforms.

The department's response to "overtly discriminatory statements" "reflects a lack of sufficient concern", the report noted, citing a June, 2015 case in which an officer called for a race war on social media and the case remained pending as of last month. Additionally, the report states the department has been far too lax in rigorously investigating complaints about officers' use of force.

The misconduct included a pattern of unconstitutional arrests and use of excessive force by the country's second largest police department, and a failure to adequately examine those transgressions, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.

The Philadelphia Police Department requested the federal probe in 2013. In it, the Justice Department's civil rights division asserts that the department has been violating the constitutional rights of residents for decades. In a Sun-Times op-ed on Wednesday, two days before the Justice Department report was released, he wrote that he is committed to bringing "the highest professional standards" to the Police Department because that is part and parcel of doing good police work.

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However, some activists were less optimistic about the chances that the Justice Department report could have any real impact on problems that have plagued the Chicago police. The teenager was shot 16 times as he was walking away from police in 2014, but the video was not released until December 2015, due to efforts by the city to prevent it from being released to the public.

Nearly certainly, the onus will be on Emanuel to lead the effort to carry out the report's recommended reforms - just because it's the right thing to do - without Justice Department pressure.

Discriminatory actions by police officers, which lie at the heart of the eroded community trust toward law enforcement, were, again and again, unaddressed, the report concludes.

The report recommends that the Chicago police mandate the use of body cameras on all officers by the end of 2017, along with developing "community policing" as a core component the department's strategy. The report's likely to call for more reforms.

The DOJ announced yesterday that it had also reached a consent decree with the Baltimore Police Department, five monthsafter concluding its investigation into that department following protests over the in-custody death of Freddie Gray.

DOJ Release Report on Reform Efforts By the Philadelphia Police Dept.