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DOJ Report Exposes Chicago Police Department's Pattern Of “Excessive Force” And “Unlawful Conduct”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch details findings after 13-month investigation. 

Officers within the Chicago Police Department have a history of using “excessive force,” and other “unlawful conduct,” the United States Justice Department found in blistering 166-page report released Friday (Jan. 13).

The report concluded a 13-month impartial investigation in which the DOJ reviewed thousands of documents from the CPD, as well as interviewed “current and former officers” in Chicago, members of the community, and more.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch expounded on the findings at a news conference in Chicago, flanked by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

“My highest priority as attorney general is to ensure that every American enjoys police protection that is lawful, responsive and transparent,” Lynch said. “But as the events of recent years in Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, and many other cities have made clear, far too many Americans feel that they do no receive that kind of law enforcement and far too many communities suffer because of painful divisions between police officers and citizens.”

The investigation was initiated after the release of dash cam footage leading up to the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an unarmed teen who was gunned down by CPD in 2014. McDonald’s murder sparked protests in the city.

“We found further that CPD officers’ force practices unnecessarily endanger themselves and others and result in unnecessary and avoidable shootings and other uses of force,” the DOJ report reads.

Amid the CPDs longstanding reputation of misconduct and lack of accountability, including instances of officers lying to protect each other (even under oath), the DOJ provided perhaps the most detailed synopsis of the department’s personal contribution to the corruption and rampant violence in the city.

For example, CPD officers were found to engage in “unnecessary foot pursuits,” that “often” resulted in cops “shooting someone” including unarmed citizens. Cops used excessive force as a form of retaliation, tasered an unarmed naked 65-year-old mentally ill woman, and intentionally dropped young gang members off in a rival territories.

The reports goes on to note a ”routinely abusive behavior within CPD, especially toward black and Latino residents of Chicago's most challenged neighborhoods,” as well as a “low morale” within the department as a whole.

Furthermore, the DOJ points out the CPD fails to “meaningfully and routinely review or investigate officers use of force” and is therefore “perpetuating the practices that result in the pattern of unlawful conduct.”

The report adds that CPD officers endangered themselves and the safety of the public by routinely discharging their weapons without reason, failing to wait for back up, and using “unsound tactics” when approaching vehicles. The DOJ also exposed CPD officers for using “unreasonable force” against children.

“Among the most egregious use of deadly force we reviewed were incidents in which CPD officers shot at suspects who presented no immediate threat,” the report states. “CPD’s use of less-lethal force also contributes to the pattern of unlawful conduct we found. We received instances of CPD using less-lethal force, often Tasers including in drive-stun mode against people who posed no threat, and using unreasonably retaliatory force and unreasonable force against children. We found also that CPD officers use force against people in mental health crisis where force might have been avoided.”

In the five years prior to the DOJ investigation, the city of Chicago received over 30,000 complaints of police misconduct, yet less than 2 percent resulted in disciplinary action.

For its part, the CPD is attempting to “correct a number of deficiencies related to how officers used and are held accountable for force.”

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Big Sean Donates $100K Recording Studio To Detroit Boys And Girls Club

Detroit native Big Sean gave back to his community in a huge way on Saturday (Aug. 17). As a part of his second annual DON Weekend hosted by his Sean Anderson Foundation, a $100,00 production studio was installed on the city's west side at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Boys & Girls Club.

Equipped with headphones, audio workstations, DJ controllers and mini-performance stage, Sean's latest investment follows the 2015 recording studio that he opened at his alma mater Cass Tech, as reported by Detroit Free Press.

"It's a full-circle moment when your neighborhood supports you and holds you high, and you're in a position to be able to hold it up your own way and take it further," Sean said. President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan region, Shawn Wilson, said the space will include three video-editing bays and an audio-mixing console. Live intimate performances, movie nights, and classes with topics will also be held.

"Detroit is like one those staples in music," the "Single Again" rapper said. "It's important that we keep that legacy of being one of the music's backbones. We've got a reputation to uphold."

DON Weekend featured a block party, carnival rides, food trucks, a self-care panel, and more.

Today was one of the most bossed up things we ever did! Threw a block party w/ free rides, food n everything BUT also had rooms where we introduced people n kids to yoga, self healing, computer coding/engineering, Music programs n lighting and more right in our hood! #DONweekend

— Sean Don (@BigSean) August 18, 2019

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California Governor Signs 'Stephon Clark Law' To Combat Excessive Force By Police

A California law that will change the standards for use of excessive force by police has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, The Los Angeles Times reports. The Assembly Bill 392 was signed into law on Monday (Aug. 19) and will be named the “Stephon Clark Law," which honors the 22-year-old who was fatally shot by Sacramento police in his grandmother’s backyard. Local authorities believe he pointed a gun at them and was responsible for a theft in the area.

"They didn't have to kill him like that. They didn't have to shoot him that many times,” Clark’s grandmother said in a press conference last year. "Why didn't you just shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the leg, send the dogs, send a taser. Why? Why? Y'all didn't have to do that."

The law’s new language will state that officers could only use deadly excessive force when deemed “necessary” not within “reasonable” range, which is what the law currently states now. Reportedly, the mandate also prohibits authorities from firing at fleeing suspects who don’t pose any danger on the scene. The law goes into effect in January 2020.

“We are doing something today that stretches the boundary of possibility and sends a message to people all across this country that they can do more and they can do better to meet this moment,” Newsom said.

Initially, though, law enforcement was not keen on this new law and rebutted the bill until it was reformed to their liking. “This is Stephon Clark’s law,” his brother, Stevante Clark told the L.A. Times. “The cost, the price that had to be paid for this, it hurts...I hate that this had to come out of such a tragic situation, but at the same time, it helps the healing process to know his name could possibly prevent something like this from happening again.”

“The bill is watered down, everybody knows that,” he continued.  “But at least we are getting something done. At least we are having the conversation now.”

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Actor Tray Chaney attends "Traffik" Atlanta VIP Screening at Regal Atlantic Station on April 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
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'The Wire's' Tray Chaney Shares His Testament In Self-Entitled Documentary Trailer

You may have seen Tray Chaney as Malik "Poot" Carr on the HBO Emmy-nominated drama series The Wire where he starts as a neighborhood drug dealer in the Barksdale organization and slowly moves up in ranks. He has also starred in a list of roles including Bounce TV's  Saints & Sinners as Kendrick Murphy and was nominated in 2019 at the International Christian Film Festival for Best Actor: Short Film in Angels in Rocket Field. 

After being accepted as an "Official Selection" during the Black Continental Independent Movie Awards in Silver Spring, Maryland, Chaney released the documentary trailer for Undeniable: The Tray Chaney Story under his Undeniable (Wired Different) campaign on Thursday (Aug. 15). The potential docuseries will follow the narratives of the journeys of The Wire cast members, how they landed their roles, what happened when the television series ended in 2008, and what they are doing now.

Under the production of Commodore Independent Filmworks and Safe House Films DC. Chaney's 45-minute episode features testimonials from Big Daddy Kane, Clifton Powell, Kenny Lattimore, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Russ Parr, Jd Williams, Keith Robinson, Anwan Big G Glover, and Black Child. His former co-star Idris Elba also shows his support for the documentary.

"Just know how hard he hustles," says Anwan "Big G" Glover.

The less than 2-minute snippet touches on the framework of Chaney, his eagerness and willingness to learn,  even mentioning his journey on Saints & Sinners as "the work of the Gods".

Watch the trailer for Undeniable: The Tray Chaney Story below.

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