The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a widespread civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in a news conference Monday. The pattern and practice probe, which will look at the department's use of force — including potential racial disparities — follows widespread scrutiny over the department's response to an officer's 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager.
"Every American expects and deserves the protection of law enforcement that is effective, responsive, respectful, and most importantly, constitutional," Lynch said. "When community members feel they are not receiving that kind of policing, when they feel ignored, let down or mistreated by public safety officials, there are profound consequences for the well-being of their communities."
After video footage released in November showed officer Jason Van Dyke firing 16 times at 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as he walked away from officers, the officer was charged with first-degree murder. Shortly after, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy amid protests. Emanuel originally opposed a federal investigation, but later changed his stance.