Monday, June 06, 2016

UNDER SCRUTINY - The Chicago Police Videos

"Why Chicago made scores of police brutality videos public" PBS NewsHour 6/3/2016


SUMMARY:  Chicago’s Independent Police Review Board today released scores of video and audio recordings from police-involved shootings and some of them are pretty shocking.  The release is part of sweeping police reforms instituted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a young black man, by a white officer.  Jeffrey Brown talks to Chicago Police Board chair Lori Lightfoot.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  It’s a stunning release for its sheer size and scope.  Today, Chicago’s Independent Police Review Board released scores of recordings related to 101 cases involving officer-related shootings and other incidents in which civilians were injured or killed.

The videos came from dashboard cameras and other sources.  They involve alleged misconduct in cases that remain under investigation.  In one video, an unarmed man was shot by police after he allegedly caused a disturbance on a bus and struck a driver.

Another, shot on a cell phone, shows police hitting someone after arriving at a scene where there was open alcohol.

Today, Sharon Fairley, chief administrator of the review authority, said the release is part of an effort to make the department more open.

SHARON FAIRLEY, Independent Police Review Authority:  These past few months, as the city has struggled with so many questions about policing and about police accountability, it has been clear that we all agree that there’s a lack of trust and that increased transparency is essential to rebuilding that trust.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Fairley added, though, that the videos only show so much.

SHARON FAIRLEY:  It’s really important for you to keep in mind that these materials may not convey all of the facts and considerations that are relevant to an investigation of an officer’s conduct.

JEFFREY BROWN:  For its part, the police union called today’s release of the videos irresponsible.

Anger and frustration with the police department came to a head last year after a video was released showing a white officer killing black teenager Laquan McDonald.  The event occurred in 2014.

Facing a firestorm, Mayor Rahm Emanuel sacked the police superintendent, replacing him with a new chief, veteran Eddie Johnson.

And let’s go to Chicago for reactions to these videos from Lori Lightfoot, former chair of the city’s Police Accountability Task Force.  It was formed by the mayor after criticism of the department and his office.  She’s now president of the Chicago Police Board, an independent civilian group appointed by the mayor.

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