CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised Chicagoans that racist remarks made by police on social media would not go unpunished after a U.S. Justice Department report released Friday found widespread racial discrimination by officers.
But the mayor declined to apologize for the conduct, which occurred on his watch.
The Chicago Police Department "tolerated racially discriminatory conduct that not only undermines police legitimacy, but also contributes to the pattern of unreasonable force" in Chicago, according to the report released Friday by the Justice Department.
Chicago police officers "expressed discriminatory views and intolerance with regard to race, religion, gender, and national origin" without penalty during interactions with Chicagoans on the street and on social media.
According to the report:
- One officer posted two images of slain black men with a caption reading "Hopefully one of these pictures will make the black lives matter activist organization feel a lot better!"
- Other officers posted disparaging remarks about Arabs and Muslims, with one officer saying that "the only good Muslim is a f------ dead one."
Some of those officers were supervisors, including a sergeant who posted at least 25 anti-Muslim statements and 43 other discriminatory posts, and a lieutenant who posted at least five anti-immigrant and anti-Latino statuses, according to the report.
"As CPD works to restore trust and ensure that policing is lawful and effective, it must recognize the extent to which this type of misconduct contributes to a culture that facilitates unreasonable force and corrodes community trust," the report states.
Emanuel said Friday that racism exists everywhere across society, but is unacceptable among Chicago officers, who must uphold the city's values of tolerance and diversity.
"If you feel it's OK to make a racist comment, it is not permissible," Emanuel said.
Emanuel did not specify what new penalties or preventive measures will be introduced to curb such conduct.
Instead, Emanuel stressed the need for "mutual respect" between officers and the public, saying Chicagoans need to "move forward as a united team."
"We need to support our officers and give them the resources to do their jobs as they have asked for in this report," Emanuel said. "We need to provide clear policies, consistent leadership and certainty across training."
The Justice Department released its report on Chicago police misconduct after a 13-month investigation following the release of a video showing the fatal shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald by a police officer.
Emanuel signed an agreement Friday promising to negotiate a legally binding agreement — known as a consent decree — to ensure that reforms are implemented under the authority of a federal judge.
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