Local law enforcement officials were reacting Friday after the Department of Justice released its findings of constitutional abuse by the Chicago Police Department—but some say the report is politically motivated.
The Fraternal Order of Police tells NBC 5 that it endorses many of the recommendations as well—but takes issue with the DOJ’s findings of constitutional violations—calling the 13-month investigation a rush job.
“If we stretch it out we’re looking at an 11-month investigation,” said Dean Angelo of the FOP, adding that investigating “12,000 people” in that time frame is “pretty quick.”
Retired Chicago police officer Richard Wooten said he welcomes proposed changes in the wake of the findings. The 23-year veteran met with DOJ investigators in 2016 and pointed to the need for more community policing, transparent hiring practices and improved training.
“The majority of the officers on the job, they want change,” Wooten told NBC 5. “This department is still operating behind the times.”
Investigators reviewed hundreds of documents, visited 22 police districts, did 60 ride-alongs and interviewed 340 Chicago Police Department members. The DOJ says it attempted to contact former superintendent Gary McCarthy but he was unavailable. McCarthy told NBC 5 in a text message that the DOJ’s assertion that he was unavailable “is a lie.”
“With all the investigative resources of the federal government, they can’t find me here in River North?” McCarthy’s text read.
But Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot says McCarthy had his chance to speak up.
“Mr. McCarthy clearly could have availed himself of those opportunities if he felt like his voice was important and needed to be heard,” she told reporters.
Lightfoot also said DOJ’s report is similar to the city’s task force findings.
She says improved training and transparency will benefit everyone—otherwise the city will continue to hemorrhage money in legal battles.
“That is madness, we need to stop that,” she said.