Dick Durbin

Durbin Adds His Support for DOJ Investigation Into Chicago Police Tactics

The senator joins the voices of Hillary Clinton, Lisa Madigan and others who have called for the investigation in recent days

Sen. Dick Durbin has added his voice to the mix of politicians and elected officials calling for a Department of Justice investigation into the Chicago Police Department in response to the fallout from the release of the dashcam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Following a meeting at the White House on criminal justice reform, Durbin wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to "swiftly initiate" an investigation into the police department's policies and practices.

"The shooting death of Laquan McDonald is just one of a number of troubling incidents that have frayed the relationship between the CPD and the community it serves, and in truth, this most recent incident is only the latest in a series of troubling events over many years," Durbin wrote in the letter. "These incidents raise serious concerns about whether the CPD has in place appropriate policies and practices to prevent civil rights violations. An impartial investigation by the Justice Department can help identify those areas where the CPD has fallen short and guide the CPD onto a better course." 

In the letter, Durbin expressed his confidence in the majority of police officers, whom he said are "conscientious and professional," but he questioned whether certain officers in the Chicago Police Department have abused their authority.

Several other politicians and elected officials have called for the Justice Department investigation in the days following the release of the dashcam video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old McDonald. These public figures include Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

The potential investigation has also made its way into the Senate race in Illinois, with Andrea Zopp coming out in support of the investigation followed by Rep. Tammy Duckworth. State Sen. Napoleon Harris, who will face Zopp and Duckworth in the March primary, was the first of the three to ask for an investigation into the police department back in October.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel even lent his support for the investigation on Thursday, despite his previous comments that he opposed it. Emanuel said he wanted to "clarify" his previous comments and announced his confidence that the Justice Department would carry out an effective investigation.

Surprisingly, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has remained mostly mum on the issue. He spoke out on the McDonald case for the first time Thursday, more than a week after the dashcam video was released. Although he did not say whether he supports a Justice Department investigation, he did say he is surprised the Obama administration has not taken steps to get involved in the case.

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