• Press Release

Amnesty International USA Responds to Department of Justice Pattern or Practice Investigation

December 7, 2015

WASHINGTON — In response to Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s announcement that the Department of Justice would initiate a civil pattern or practice investigation into the Chicago Police Department, Amnesty International USA interim executive director Margaret Huang issued the following statement:

“From the use of torture under former Commander Jon Burge to allegations of abuses at Homan Square to the death of Laquan McDonald, Chicago’s legacy of policing is chilling. Today’s announcement is a welcome development and it should be noted that the Justice Department has opened its second pattern or practice investigation against a U.S. city in less than a year. It’s time to take a holistic look at policing and the use of lethal force in this country.

“The history of police use of force and racial profiling in the U.S. is only matched by its equally long history of inadequate accountability for those responsible. President Obama and the Department of Justice must support the creation of a national commission to undertake a review of the use of lethal force by police, as well as a review of state and federal laws, training and practices. Additionally, because we still don’t know exactly how many people are killed by police officers every year, the Justice Department must require all police agencies to report on the number of people killed by law enforcement and then must publish the nationwide data.

“It is long past time for all states, not just Illinois, to urgently review and bring their policies in line with the international standards for lethal force.”

In June, Amnesty International USA issued a report, Deadly Force, on the use of lethal force by law enforcement.