Dec. 4, 1969
Fourteen Chicago police officers raid the West Side apartment of Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton, 21, killing Hampton and his fellow Panther Mark Clark, 22. Evidence by ballistic experts indicated that the police fired 99 percent of the shots and had falsified their reports on the shooting.
March 20, 1972
“Mr. Superintendent, you will be hard pressed to go into any home in the black ghetto and not find at least one member of that household who either feels that they have been abused verbally and physically by some member of the police force, or has first-hand information of such an incident.”
(U.S. Rep. Ralph H. Metcalfe to Chicago police Supt. James B. Conlisk at a community meeting held months before a Blue Ribbon Panel convened by Metcalfe released a report called the “The Misuse of Police Authority in Chicago”).
July 19, 2006
A four-year investigation concludes that detectives under former Chicago Police Department (CPD) commander Jon Burge tortured numerous black suspects from the 1970s to the 1990s — some with cattle prods (pictured) — but that the cases weren’t strong enough, or were too old, to bring charges. Burge would later be convicted for lying under oath after denying that he participated in the tortures during a civil trial. He was later sentenced to 4 years in prison.
Aug. 7, 2015
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announces that it has entered an agreement with CPD and the City of Chicago that includes “a series of concrete steps designed to ensure (and confirm) that CPD policies and practices related to ‘investigatory stops and protective pat downs’ comply with all laws, as well as the U.S. Constitution,” according to an ACLU statement released at the time.
The agreement requires cops to “collect additional data about all investigatory stops.” A year later, investigatory stops by Chicago police dropped precipitously.
Nov. 24, 2015
After a Cook County judge orders its release, footage of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014 is made public — precipitating widespread outrage and protests.
On the same day, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announcing that her office would be charging Van Dyk with first-degree murder.
And several hours after the footage is released, protestors take to Chicago streets, with many converging on police headquarters, shouting, “No justice, no peace.”
Dec. 1, 2015
As the controversy surrounding the McDonald video intensifies, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel dismisses police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
On the same day, Emanuel announced the creation of a Task Force on Police Accountability “to review the system of accountability, oversight and training that is currently in place for Chicago’s police officers.”
Dec. 7, 2015
The U.S. Department of Justice launches a civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s patterns and practices.
April 13, 2016
The task force Emanuel established releases a comprehensive report that includes numerous recommendations for reforming CPD, one of which is for the next superintendent to acknowledge the department’s “history of racial disparity and discrimination.”
On the same day, the Chicago City Council unanimously approves the hiring of interim police Supt. Eddie Johnson as the department’s new top cop even though Johnson didn’t apply for the job. “We have racism in America. We have racism in Chicago. So, it stands to reason we would have some racism within our agency. Our goal is to root that out,” Johnson says in a press conference that day.
June 3, 2016
The city adopt a new transparency policy recommended by the Police Accountability Task Force. The policy changes “the decades-old city practice of waiting to release videos and other evidence from police-involved incidents until the associated investigations concluded,” a statement released by Emanuel’s office notes.
Oct. 5, 2016
The Chicago City Council votes 39-8 on an ordinance to replace the city’s old oversight agency, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), with the Civilian Office Police Accountability (COPA). West Side Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) voted against the measure, aligning with some aldermen who felt that the measure wasn’t tough enough.
Oct. 27, 2016
New police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced the formation of the Community Policing Advisory Panel, comprising national experts, community leaders and CPD command staff members in order “to provide a comprehensive and thoughtful report proposing ways the Department can engage and collaborate with communities and restore trust,” according to a CPD statement released at the time.
Jan. 13, 2017
The Justice Department releases a report after its 13-month investigation into CPD. The report concludes, among other things, that the force “engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.”