DOJ expected to launch Chicago civil rights probe

CHICAGO - The Justice Department is expected to announce this week a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department similar to probes of police departments in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri.

The decision to investigate was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person who wasn't authorized to discuss the investigation publicly because it has not yet been announced. The person said an announcement is expected this week. Other media outlets have reported the probe will be announced this week as well.

The investigation would come as the police force is under intense scrutiny since the recent release of a video showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.

Prosecutors have charged Van-Dyke with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting and Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign.

Last week, the Illinois attorney general wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a federal probe of the Chicago Police Department.

CBS Chicago reports Emanuel initially referred to Madigan's request as "misguided," but one day later appeared to change course, saying that he is open to a federal probe of the department.

About 200 protesters gathered in downtown Chicago on Sunday following the release of documents showing that police officers' accounts of the 2014 killing of McDonald differed greatly from what was captured on dashcam video.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he hopes the sight of protesters holding a disciplined and non-violent march will prompt the city to "dispense justice and fairness all across the city."

The protesters walked in the business district known as The Loop are counting to 16 to signify the number of times that Officer Jason Van Dyke shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. They also continued their calls for Mayor Emanuel to resign.

Police fought for months to keep the public from seeing the dashcam video but released it last month facing a court deadline and only hours after Van Dyke was charged with murder.

The Chicago Police Department's interim superintendent is warning officers they face discipline if they don't make sure both the video and the audio of their squad car dashboard cameras are working.

The department was harshly criticized when it reported that the audio was not functioning on the dashcam that recorded the fatal shooting of McDonald. Days later, the city released four more dashcam videos from other squad cars at the scene - none of which included audio.

Escalante told the Chicago Tribune that he's sent inspectors to do random checks of dashcams. He says that when they've found technical problems preventing them from working they are disciplining officers who did not report those problems to their supervisors.