Source: US Justice Dept. to investigate Chicago police

Justice Department to Launch Investigation Into Chicago PD

The U.S. Justice Department will open an investigation into the Chicago Police Department after protests over how it handled the case of a black teenager shot by a white police officer, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The "patterns and practices" investigation will determine whether the department systematically violates constitutional rights. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would not elaborate on the investigation.

Viewer discretion advised: Some may find the dash-cam video of the shooting to be disturbing

Dashcam Footage Shows Fatal Shooting of Chicago Teenager Laquan McDonald


The Chicago Police Department said it was expecting to release a statement regarding the investigation later on Sunday.

The civil probe follows murder charges filed against the police officer in the October 2014 killing. The shooting was caught on videotape, which was not released until the charges were filed last month.

Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times. Shortly after that, the city released a patrol car video of the shooting. Van Dyke fired all the shots.

READ MORE: Restaurant video missing footage of Chicago police shooting

Protests erupted afterward in the third most populous U.S. city, culminating in the firing on Tuesday of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Critics of the mayor and local prosecutor have complained it took too long for the McDonald tape to be released and for charges to be filed.

The release of the video comes at a time of heightened debate in the United States over police use of lethal force, especially against black people. Over the past year, protests over the issue have rocked a number of U.S. cities.

A patterns and practices investigation does not criminally charge individuals, but often results in a consent decree between a police department and the Justice Department to agree to new practices and accountability measures.

A lawyer for the McDonald family and a spokesman for Emanuel were not immediately available for comment regarding the federal investigation.

See photos of protests in Chicago following the release of the shooting video:

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Protests in Chicago following Laquan McDonald shooting by police conviction
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Source: US Justice Dept. to investigate Chicago police
Protesters form a line and walk holding signs that spell out 'Laquan' following the release of a dash-cam video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being fatally shot 16 times by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, on Tuesday, Nov. 24 2015, in Chicago. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Protesters take to the streets in Chicago following the release of a dash-cam video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being fatally shot 16 times by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, on Tuesday, Nov. 24 2015. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Demonstrators confront police during a protest following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Police stand guard as demonstrators march through downtown during a protest following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Demonstrators march through downtown following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Bus passengers watch as demonstrators march through downtown following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Demonstrators march through downtown following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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The Justice Department launched an investigation in May into the Baltimore Police Department's use of force and whether there were patterns of discriminatory policing after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody.

A Justice Department investigation of police in Ferguson, Missouri, where a white officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager last year, concluded in March that the department routinely engaged in racially biased practices.

The investigation of the Chicago Police Department was requested by the Illinois attorney general.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards and Brendan O'Brien; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Alan Crosby and Peter Cooney)

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