Calling it “a needed change,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced Wednesday that the department will implement a new use of deadly force policy, focusing on conflict de-escalation and “the sanctity of life.”
By 2018, all sworn members of the department will be required to complete an e-learning course, along with an additional 12 hours of training, according to police officials.
The reform efforts by the department are self-imposed, and police leaders solicited feedback from city residents and community leaders before deciding on the changes.
Johnson said the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in 2015 and its ensuing fallout “was an incident we all learned from.”
Protests erupted in Chicago after the video — which showed Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting the 17-year-old 16 times as he walked away — was released. Van Dyke currently faces murder charges in the teen’s death.
Johnson’s predecessor, Garry McCarthy, was fired and the Department of Justice opened an investigation into CPD practices.
The department has intensified its community outreach efforts in the 16 months since the video was released.
Johnson said the McDonald shooting “may have given us the springboard to move forward and change some things.”
“Sometimes tragic things happen that ultimately result in things being better,” Johnson said.
Community activist William Calloway joined Johnson, Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot and other police leadership at Wednesday press conference and praised the department’s decision to implement reform.
Addressing fellow activists, Calloway said, “This is a big win for us, our voices were heard.”
Source: Chicago Sun Times | Sam Charles and Andy Grimm