Saturday, January 14, 2017


"-- The Chicago police have systematically violated the civil rights of residents by routinely using excessive force, especially against black and Latino people, the Justice Department said in a scathing report released Friday.
Federal investigators excoriated the department and city officials alike for what they called "systemic deficiencies." They said their inquiry found that the Chicago police force did not provide officers with proper guidance for using force, did not properly investigate improper uses of force, and did not hold officers accountable for such incidents.
"The systems and policies that fail ordinary citizens also fail the vast majority of Chicago Police Department officers, who risk their lives every day to serve and protect the people of Chicago," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a news conference.

The report culminates a 13-month federal investigation launched amid the fallout over the shooting of a black teenager by a white officer."

This sounds like many police departments.

On the other hand, here's Philadelphia's PD, now headed in the right direction after federal  intervention.  They couldn't do it by themselves.  Most problem agencies can't.  Ameond the reasons are the culture within the department and strong police unions which protect even the bad cops.

Philadelphia Police Department has made a "substantial effort" to implement reforms in its use of deadly force and is an example for the country amid the current climate of community and police tensions, federal officials said Friday.
The city's police department had been part of a collaborative effort with the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services Office to make changes to its culture and policy since 2013.
The Justice Department found a troubled agency it said was motivated by fear and a use of force that disproportionately affected black people. But by December 2015, the Justice Department praised Philadelphia for making a remarkable turnaround on 91 recommendations for improvement.
In an interim report Friday, the federal office's director, Ronald Davis, said the Philadelphia police have completed 61 of the recommendations — up from 21 about a year ago — and has made "demonstrable progress" on 22.
"We will never get comfortable," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross. "This does not mean we're at the finish line. This is the path we need to take, and we're willing to do that. We do realize there are issues in policing."
Officer-involved shootings have steadily declined in Philadelphia over the past decade. In 2007, there were more than 60. In 2015, there were 23."

However, it will take constant effort and monitoring to keep the agency from falling back to its former self.  The culture dies hard, unions will still protect even bad cops and public and politicians will lose interest.  Look at he long term history of NYPD--scandal, commission investigation, reforms then a few years later, another scandal.  The cycle goes on and on.


  1. Behavior within PDs is under the control of the police chief--who in almost all cities is appointed and approved by the mayor and city council.

    Castigation of a bad police force is appropriate, but not pointing out the ultimate responsibility avoids the actual problem. But I doubt that Lynch would point a finger at Rahm Emmanuel et al.


  2. The federal courts do not have power to remove police chiefs under pattern and practice litigation.