The Justice Department will investigate the Chicago Police Department to see whether the force “has engaged in a pattern or practice of violation of the Constitution or federal law,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced Monday.
“Our investigation is focused on use of force and the accountability within the police department,” Lynch said.
The probe follows similar federal civil rights investigations that were launched in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, in the wake of unrest in both cities. In Chicago, federal investigators will look at how officers use deadly force and examine any racial or ethnic disparities in how force is employed, as well as how the department handles discipline and allegations of misconduct.
This investigation into the country’s second-largest local police department comes less than two weeks after the Chicago force came under the national spotlight because of recently released video footage showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager. The Washington Postfirst reported Sunday that the Justice Department would open this investigation, putting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s force under the microscope of his former colleagues in the Obama administration.