Washington, D.C. – Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement Tuesday after a federal jury in Chicago convicted a city police officer of violating civil rights by using excessive force in a December 22, 2013, shooting that wounded two teenagers.
“Yesterday’s decision is a small victory for African Americans and other minority communities in Chicago, who have been subject to unconstitutional policing practices and excessive use of force at the hands of the Chicago Police Department for far too long. This case demonstrates a pattern of abuse that infects the Chicago Police Department and makes clear that the Justice Department must enter a consent decree with the department to bring about long, overdue reform. While this is a notable victory for the constitutional rights of the people of Chicago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made clear his opposition to pursuing civil rights investigations and prosecutions of law enforcement officers. To reverse the tide of shootings of unarmed Black men, law enforcement must be held accountable for their actions when they use excessive or deadly force without basis.
“The verdict comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues his quest to remake the criminal justice system by promoting the militarization of law enforcement, reigniting the War on Drugs, and enforcing tough-on-crime policies and harsh sentencing for low-level drug offenses.”
About the Lawyers’ Committee:
The Lawyers’ Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 54th year, the Lawyers’ Committee is continuing its quest “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights