12-15-2017  9:34 pm      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

Exhibit Explores the Legacy of Portland Bird Watchers

Dedicated bird watchers catapult a conservationist movement ...

Special Call for Stories about the Spanish Flu

Genealogical Forum of Oregon seeks stories from the public about one of history's most lethal outbreaks ...

Joint Office of Homeless Services Announces Severe Weather Strategy

Those seeking shelter should call 211 or visit 211.org. Neighbors needed to volunteer, donate cold-weather apparel ...

Q&A with Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams

A conversation on diversity and the tech industry ...

City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason

Laura John brings an extensive background in tribal advocacy and community engagement to the city of Portland ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Don’t Delay, Sign-up for Affordable Healthcare Today

The deadline to enroll or modify healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act is December 15. ...

The Skanner Editorial: Alabama Voters Must Reject Moore

Allegations of predatory behavior are troubling – and so is his resume ...

Payday Lenders Continue Attack on Consumer Protections

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes that two bills that favor predatory lenders has received bipartisan...

Hundreds Rallied for Meek Mill, but What About the Rest?

Lynette Monroe, a guest columnist for the NNPA Newswire, talks about Meek Mill, the shady judge that locked him up and mass...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

In this Oct. 20, 2014 frame from dash-cam video provided by the Chicago Police Department, Laquan McDonald, right, walks down the street moments before being fatally shot by CPD officer Jason Van Dyke sixteen times in Chicago. (Chicago Police Department via AP File)
MICHAEL TARM and DON BABWIN, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Police Department has violated the constitutional rights of residents for years, permitting racial bias against blacks, using excessive force and killing people who did not pose threats, the Justice Department announced Friday after a yearlong investigation.

Among other findings, the report concluded that the pattern was "largely attributable to systemic deficiencies" within the department and the city. It also cited insufficient training and a failure to hold bad officers accountable.

"The resulting deficit in trust and accountability is not just bad for residents — it's also bad for dedicated police officers trying to do their jobs safely and effectively," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. The report lays "the groundwork for the difficult but necessary work of building a stronger, safer, and more united Chicago for all who call it home."

The Justice Department began investigating the nation's third-largest police force in December 2015 after the release of dashcam video showing a white police officer shoot a black teenager named Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times as he walked away holding a small folded knife. The video of the 2014 shooting, which the city fought to keep from being released, inspired large protests and cost the city's police commissioner his job.

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department has conducted 25 civil rights investigations of police departments, including Cleveland, Baltimore and Seattle. The release of a report is one step in a long process that, in recent years, has typically led to talks between the Justice Department and a city, followed by an agreed upon reform plan that's enforceable by a federal judge.

Chicago's report comes just days before a change in administration, from a White House that strongly backed the process to President-elect Donald Trump's, whose commitment to federal review is unclear.

The perception that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel badly mishandled the McDonald shooting hurt the former Obama chief of staff politically, and he may feel pressure to address many of the Justice Department's findings to restore his political fortunes.

The Chicago department, with 12,000 officers, has long had a reputation for brutality, particularly in minority communities. The most notorious example was Jon Burge, a commander of a detective unit on the South Side. Burge and his men beat, suffocated and used electric shock for decades starting in the 1970s to get black men to confess to crimes they did not commit.

The McDonald video, which showed officer Jason Van Dyke continuing to shoot the teen even after he slumped to the ground, provoked widespread outrage. It was not until the day the video was released, which was more than a year after the shooting, that Van Dyke was charged with murder. He has pleaded not guilty. Police reports of the shooting later suggested a possible cover-up by other officers who were at the scene.

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