Justice Dept. holds meetings on police—but few know

The U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) is letting citizens vent about their experiences with Chicago police at several public forums in June and July.

In December, 2015 the DOJ opened a "civil pattern or practice investigation" into the police department to learn whether it had engaged in "systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law."

As part of that investigation, the DOJ planned four public meetings to "provide information about its investigative process, advise how community members can contact the DOJ, and offer time for audience members to speak about their experiences with policing in Chicago."

The first meeting took place on Monday, June 20 at Malcom X College. The remaining meetings will take place as follows.

  • Wednesday June 22, Kennedy King College, U Building, 740 W. 63rd St.
  • Tuesday July 12, Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.
  • Thursday July 14, KROC Center Chapel, 1250 W. 119th St.

Citizens can also give info to the DOJ investigation by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by phone at 844/401-3735.

The DOJ said that it's focusing on: the police department's use of force, including racial and ethnic disparities in its use of force; and how the department conducts internal investigations, responds to citizen complaints, and disciplines officers.

The public forums apparently were not widely advertised. For example, DOJ issued a press release about the forums on June 21—one day after the first forum. And before that date, no notice about the meetings appeared on the DOJ's Web site.

But DOJ "tweeted out about the public forums a number of times" starting on June 16, spokesman David Jacobs said via e-mail.

Despite the intense public interest in police accountability, the June 20 meeting had only about 30 citizens attending, according to Progress Illinois.