CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with officials from the Justice Department on Thursday, as federal authorities continue a civil-rights probe of the Chicago Police Department’s use of force.
Two weeks ago, the mayor said a Justice Department investigation of the Chicago Police Department would be “misguided,” saying it did not make sense to start such a probe when federal prosecutors already were investigating every aspect of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald. However, Emanuel backtracked the next day, and said he would welcome a federal probe of systemic problems at CPD.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Sunny And Dry With A Gradual Warmup
The next week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Justice Department would pursue a “pattern and practice” investigation into the CPD’s policies and procedures regarding the use of force.
Justice Department officials arrived in Chicago on Wednesday, and spent most of the day meeting with top police brass at Chicago Police Headquarters.
Thursday morning, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon and his team arrived at City Hall to interview Emanuel and speak with other city officials who oversee Chicago police.READ MORE: At Least 5 People Killed, 45 Wounded In Gun Violence In Chicago So Far This Weekend
Their investigation includes a review of police records, and analysis of police stops, searches, citations and arrests.
CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller says the Justice Department is trying to determine if there are any systemic patterns of excessive force, abuse, or other misconduct.
“What they’re trying to do is to see if there’s any constitutional violations, policy violations; is there racial profiling within the Chicago Police Department?” Miller said. “They’re just trying to get a sense of where this investigation is going, so they can manage it, and get it done in a reasonable amount of time.”
The Justice Department probe is expected to be a prolonged investigation, which could take months or years to complete. It’s likely to result in an agreement between the feds and the city to institute widespread and expensive reforms at the Chicago Police Department.MORE NEWS: Fight Over Counterfeit Tickets Sends 3 People Crashing Through Window At Congress Hotel Near Lollapalooza
Ahead of the Justice Department probe, the mayor has criss-crossed the city, essentially making a goodwill tour of the inner city, as he tries to convince skeptics he’s the one who will end systemic use of excessive force, rather than the one to blame for it.