Though the Chicago Police Department has been the subject of multiple recent protests and a scathing report concerning the way it handles police-involved shootings and allegations of misconduct, the department says it's actually improving its record on such matters.
In an interview, CPD spokesman Martin Maloney told The Huffington Post that police-involved shootings in Chicago are "on pace" to decrease for the third consecutive year. He also noted that the number of police misconduct complaints submitted to the department are down 18 percent this year, compared to the same time last year.
"Community policing and fostering stronger relationships with the communities we all serve is the foundation of our policing philosophy," Maloney said in an emailed statement.
"Over the past three years CPD has led a return to community policing to build relationships between officers and residents, and we have instituted new training, mandatory for all officers, focused on how they are to interact with residents," the statement continued.
The mandatory training, Maloney said, also includes a new level of firearms training for all officers.
Nevertheless, CPD does not have a good reputation in many communities when it comes to how it investigates and discloses misconduct complaints, including police-involved shootings of citizens. As an activist report soon to be presented to the United Nations Committee Against Torture noted, Chicago police brutality complaints have resulted in discipline at a rate dramatically lower than the national rate.
The department is also under increased scrutiny due to the indictment of embattled CPD Commander Glenn Evans, as well as the renewed national interest in police violence since the August shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Evans has pleaded not guilty to the nine counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct he is charged with in relation to allegations that he jammed his gun into a suspect's mouth, threatened him and used a stun gun on his crotch last year. In addition to that incident, Evans has been the subject of 52 brutality complaints during his 28-year career with CPD. He was suspended 11 times, but he was still promoted and celebrated by the department's top brass.
Evans was among 662 officers named in hundreds of pages of Chicago police misconduct files released to the public in July, following a court ruling that the department had to put them out. All of the officers identified in the documents had amassed at least 10 complaints between 2001 and 2006. Because some of the officers named had since been exonerated, the city of Chicago had tried to block the release of the files.
The union representing the city's police officers has also fought against the misconduct files going public. Last month, the Fraternal Order of Police filed an injunction asking that a judge halt the release of additional files to reporters at local newspapers. The city informed the union that the files would still be released to the reporters who filed Freedom of Information Act requests.