CHICAGO (CBS) — A memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called into question whether the Justice Department will monitor reforms to the Chicago Police Department.
In the final week of the Obama administration, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch came to Chicago to announce the findings of a 13-month investigation that found systemic violations of civil rights by Chicago police.
The scathing report found officers regularly have used excessive force and discriminated against minorities. The Justice Department blamed insufficient and outdated training, disciplinary, and supervision policies at CPD.
“These are serious problems, and they bear serious consequences for all Chicagoans,” Lynch said.
The city agreed in principle to negotiate a consent decree under which reforms would be monitored by the Justice Department, and enforced by the courts.
However, Sessions has questioned the effectiveness of such consent decrees, and in a two-page memos said such pacts from the Obama administration would be subject to review. According to the memo, local law enforcement should be responsible for determining best practices for policing, not the federal government.
While acknowledging he hasn’t read it, Sessions has said the Chicago report is “anectodal.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police brass have said reforms would move forward with or without a consent decree.