CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Department has finalized a new set of rules regarding the use of force, aiming to focus on conflict de-escalation to prevent loss of life.
The new policy comes on the heels of a Justice Department probe that found systemic abuses by Chicago police. The department’s use of deadly force came under closer scrutiny in November 2015, after the city was forced to release dashboard camera video of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times as he was walking away from officers, with a knife in his hand.
“I’m not going to worry about whether or not it was a forced change, it was a needed change,” Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said as he announced the new policy on Wednesday.
Johnson said the policy emphasizes “sanctity of life,” protecting officers’ safety, and ensuring the rights of citizens, and de-escalation.
“There will be some who will think that these policies are too restrictive, and there will be some who think it isn’t restrictive enough,” he said.
The superintendent said police officers are not bouncers.
“If we are part of the community, then that respect will be there on both sides,” he said.
The department invited activist Will Calloway to be at the announcement.
“I think today’s a new day in the Chicago Police Department,” he said.
Police Board President Lori Lightfoot said time will tell.
“The proof is going to be in how it is that officers feel comfortable engaging with members of the public,” she said.
The policy also requires officers to police one another.