The Justice Department is preparing to release a report on the Chicago Police Department before President Barack Obama leaves office later this month, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The DOJ probe was set in motion by the 2014 police shooting of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald. The investigation was launched in December 2015, a month after dash cam video of the incident was made public.
“With respect to Chicago, the Department hopes to complete its work as soon as possible so that the city can build on the work already underway to reform the Chicago Police Department and restore trust between law enforcement and the community it serves,” a source familiar with the probe told the Sun-Times.
According to the Sun-Times report, the Justice Department is likely to offer a deal for the city and DOJ to sign an “agreement in principle,” which would create a federal court-enforceable path to addressing investigatory findings from the probe.
However, it’s unlikely that the probe will conclude with a signed-and-completed consent decree replete with mandated changes in policing strategies, the Sun-Times reports.
On Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin met with President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has been skeptical about using consent decrees to change police practices in the past.
Durbin said Wednesday that Sessions would not agree to follow through on any of the DOJ’s forthcoming suggestions about addressing police misconduct in Chicago, according to the report.
“That troubles me because these reports are done by professionals, career professionals, in the Department of Justice,” Durbin told reporters after the meeting.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly wants new federal funding to hire additional officers and provide training. According to the Sun-Times, Durbin claimed Sessions declined to commit to support grants for the city.
Despite Justice Department pressure, Emanuel has reportedly held off on signing a “letter of intent” to negotiate a consent decree to implementing its findings, given Sessions’ views.
With or without a consent decree compelling the CPD to make certain changes, Emanuel will be under heavy political pressure to implement the federal findings in the wake of the McDonald shooting, the Sun-Times reports.
Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, who chaired the mayor’s Task Force on Police Accountability, reportedly plans to lead the way.
“We must move forward,” Lightford told the Sun-Times. “The Police Department is one of the most important institutions in this city. It needs to be doing its job aggressively in the right way, in a constitutional way that puts the sanctity of life and respectful engagement with communities at the front of the list of priorities."