Published 7:25 PM EDT Oct 9, 2018
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will oppose a pending agreement to overhaul Chicago Police Department operations that was set in motion following the 2014 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a written statement late Tuesday, said that such agreements "undercut proactive policing" and have contributed to recent surges in violence.
"It is imperative that the city not repeat the mistakes of the past — the safety of Chicago depends on it," Sessions said, adding that Justice would file a "statement of interest" in federal court later this week formally opposing the proposed, court-monitored pact.
The sweeping plan, among other things, would require officers to document each time they draw their weapons. The provision has sparked opposition from the police officers union which contends that such a requirement could put officers at risk.
Justice is taking its action to meet a Friday deadline for written comment on the plan to be reviewed by U.S. District Judge Robert Dow. Public hearings on the policing proposal are scheduled later this month.
The developments come nearly a week after an Illinois jury convicted Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each shot he fired at McDonald.
The incident was one of several deadly confrontations between African-Americans and law enforcement that touched off a national debate about policing in black and Latino communities.
The Trump administration has been adamantly opposed to federal court oversight of policing operations, a policy aggressively pursued by the Obama administration.
Contributing: Aamer Madhani in Chicago