The Chicago Police Department is finally making changes in the way officers handle citizens during arrests.
The new excessive force policy comes as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department that began with the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was struck 16 times when an officer opened fire on him during an encounter. Video footage of the shooting later revealed that McDonald was walking away from the officer when he was shot.
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According to CBS Chicago, the new policy requires that officers “use a slower, more cautious” approach when it comes to deadly force. As part of the new restrictions, Chicago law enforcement is also required to reserve the use of excessive or deadly force when there is an “immediate threat” posed by a fleeing suspect — a slight change from the previous policy which permitted officers to open on any suspect who “poses a threat.”
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says the ultimate goal as to improve accountability within the department.
“The goal is to make everybody accountable in the Police Department, from me on down to the last probationary police officer,” Johnson told reporters during a press conference last week. “That’s the goal.”
While implementing changes to hold every officer accountable is certainly a step in the right direction, the ultimate test will be in whether or not the officers follow the new protocol once it’s in place.