Police | Politics

In the Report

In December of 2015, after massive public outcry over the killing of Laquan McDonald, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a probe into the Chicago Police Department. The thirteen-month investigation, for which the Department spent hundreds of days in Chicago, conducted hundreds of interviews, and reviewed tens of thousands of pages of documentation, resulted in the release last Friday of a 160-page report. The report concludes that CPD engages in the unconstitutional use of force and suffers from severely broken training and accountability systems. Below we have highlighted particularly jarring numbers, anecdotes, and conclusions from this report.

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Number of officer-involved shooting investigations reviewed: over 170
Number of incidents of less-lethal force where related documents were reviewed: over 425
Ride-alongs with officers conducted: over 60
Community members spoken with: approximately 1000
Number of sworn CPD officers employed as of June 2016: approximately 12,000
Number of field training officers readily available to train new CPD officers: 60 to 75
CPD homicide clearance rate in 2016: 29%
National homicide clearance rate for 2015 (most recent data fully available): 61.4%
Phrase used to describe officer morale: “feel abandoned by the public and often by their own department”
Report prediction about police reform: “not likely to be successful without a consent decree with independent monitoring”
Rahm’s remark about police reform: “we’ve never, ever as a City measured up with the changes on a sustained basis to finally deal in whole cloth with that situation”

Whether the City was able to identify how many people were shot by CPD over a given time period: they were not
Report’s judgment on whether CPD should have a policy on foot pursuits: “it should.”
Report’s judgment on whether CPD’s Taser policy should address the use of Tasers on children: also “it should.”
Phrase used to describe some officers’ justification for firing a gun: “because others had done so”
Phrase used to describe process of recognizing plainclothesmen as police officers when they jump out of cars: “can be difficult, especially at night”
Action made by a sixteen-year-old girl that caused an officer to Tase her: flailing arms while being arrested
Number of employees on CPD’s crisis intervention team in 2008: 9
Number of employees in late 2016: 3
Mechanisms CPD has to evaluate performance of crisis intervention officers: none
Increase in Taser uses from 2009 to 2010: 200 to 900
Phrase used by a tactical unit officer to describe his colleagues’ approach to finding “offenders”: they “like to hunt”
Actions taken by an officer against two boys on their bikes: pointed gun at boys; swore at boys; threatened to blow up boys’ houses
Phrase used to describe use-of-force culture in CPD: “officers expect to use force and not be questioned about the need for or propriety of that use”

Number of Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) staff members: 80
Number of civilian complaints CPD receives annually: 7,000
Number of complaints that are thrown out annually by IPRA and CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs due to lack of a signed affidavit (pursuant to the city’s contracts with police unions): 2,400
Average number of months before the accused officer in an investigation is interviewed: 4
Percent of closed complaints by IPRA and BIA combined, from January 2011 to March 2016, that were sustained: 1.4%
Average time in years it takes the IPRA to complete the investigation of a sustained case: 2.5
Percent of sustained findings resolved with a “verbal reprimand” penalty: 24.8%
Percent of sustained findings resulting in a “violation noted” or a “no discipline imposed” penalty: 28.4%
Length of time in years after which “violation noted” penalties disappear from an officer’s record: 1
Amount that Chicago has paid out in police misconduct settlement cases since 2004: $500,000,000
Percent of misconduct cases settled in court for which the city also pursued disciplinary investigations: 50%
Percentage of investigated settlement cases where the city recommended discipline: 4%
Phrase used by report to characterize IPRA and BIA investigation process: “consistent patterns of egregious investigative deficiencies”
To characterize discipline process: “inconsistent and unpredictable”
To describe accounts given by accused officers during IPRA interviews: “apparently rehearsed”
Question posed by an IPRA investigator to an officer who had not said that his shooting victim was holding a gun: “and uh could you tell me which hand let’s see yeah, which hand the [fleeing man] held the weapon in?”
Explanation given by an officer for how a recovered weapon ended up on the other side of a hedge from a shooting scene: “the gun went over the hedge”; the gun “just went over”; the victim “apparently threw it over”
Length of interview with that officer and a second officer who was at the hedge scene: less than 15 minutes
Things an investigator is required not to state on the record during an officer interview: who requests a pause in the recording, why the request was made, how long the pause was, anything that occurs during the pause
Existing prohibitions against officers talking to each other after a police shooting and before investigators arrive: none
Phrase used to describe the way IPRA treats attempts by officers to conceal misconduct: “ancillary and unexceptional”
Number of student witnesses interviewed in the non-sustained case of an 8-year-old girl who complained that a CPD officer swung her by her hair and choked her: 0
Ratio of sustained allegations by white complainants to sustained allegations by black complainants: 3.5 to 1
White complainants to Latinx complainants: 2 to 1

Portion of police shootings that Chicago found “unjustified” from 2010 to 2015: 2 out of 409
Number of investigators in CPD’s Civil Rights Unit, responsible for “investigating all hate crimes and hate incidents in Chicago”: 2
Length in days of the most frequent suspension given to police officers: 1
Length in days of the median suspension given to police officers: 3
Days an officer was suspended for shoving a baton into a victim’s side: 1
Phrase used by report to characterize IPRA’s mediation process: “what IPRA calls ‘mediation’ ”
Percentage of all IPRA cases resolved through mediation: 65%
Rate at which CPD uses force against black people compared to white people: 10 times as often
Percent of CPD dash cams with audio capabilities that were tampered with or were not working as of January 2016: 80%
Number of years ago that the police academy’s video on deadly force was made: 35
Proportion of CPD officers that “came close to properly articulating” CPD’s use of force policies: 1 in 6
Number of officers who were the subject of five or more complaints from 2010 to March of 2016: 1,627
Number of prior complaints of excessive force against an officer who took a twelve-year-old boy off his bicycle and pinned him against a fence: 10
Number of officers who were referred to CPD’s Behavioral Intervention System for domestic abuse from January 2010 to July of 2016 but never enrolled: 56
Least severe action deemed by some interviewed IPRA investigators to constitute domestic abuse: “a punch in the face”
Ratio of clinicians available to address physical and mental health concerns of CPD department personnel:  1 for every 4,000
Percent of CPD officers with multiple complaints filed against them who were not identified by the CPD’s electronic early intervention system: 90%

Most recent year that the CPD published an annual report: 2010
Phrases used in the report to describe the procedures or behavior of CPD, IPRA, or BIA: “constitutionally impermissible,” “consistent patterns of egregious investigative deficiencies,” “working in a constant state of triage,” “highly troubling”
Conclusion (of course): “CPD engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional use of force”

Glossary

CPD: Chicago Police Department

IPRA: Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency charged with investigating some complaints of police misconduct

BIA: CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs, responsible for investigating the remaining police complaints

Homicide Clearance Rate: the rate of murders solved by police

Sustained Complaint: a complaint sustained by sufficient evidence to warrant disciplinary action

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