In 2017, the City of Chicago made sweeping changes to its use of force policies following a scathing Justice Department report after the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. The report stated that the city routinely violated the constitutional rights of residents. After reading the article below, which is a required unit resource for this unit, and after taking into consideration the current issues being faced by Chicago law enforcement, do you think the policy changes are effective and are helping to protect the community and the Chicago law enforcement officers? Why, or why not?
Jackman, T. (2017, May 17). Chicago police adopt de-escalation in sweeping change to use-of-force policy. Washington Post. Retrieved from
                          CLASSMATE’S POST
Having said that, I do think that the shooting of Laquan McDonald was a bad shoot.  It did not look to me that the officer, Jason Van Dyke, was in fear for his life and had no escape.  Laquan McDonald DID have a knife in his hand, but he was walking away from the officers.  I get it, you can’t let this guy just walk away because he has a knife.  I also get that there is a “21-foot rule” too.  For those who don’t know what that is – it is a measure of distance that scientific research has proven that in the time it takes for a police officer to draw and fire a shot at an offender charging at them, the distance covered by the offender would be 21 feet.  With additional units on the way there had to be more options available to them.  In a department that size, I’m sure they had an assortment of less-lethal weapons to choose from.  A bean bag gun or a Taser would have been optimal choices, a canine would be a last resort because you risk the dog being stabbed but without McDonald engaging the police officers, you can’t just shoot him. 
I don’t agree with giving the individual space to calm down.  I agree with talking to try to cool a person down, but you don’t ever give up a tactical advantage by retreating space.  I found it odd that use of deadly force can only be used as a last resort – umm, that’s why it is called deadly force!  If officers were using deadly force and it was NOT a last resort, there is a problem and that stems from poor administration.  In Michigan, if a police officer strikes a subject in the head with an impact weapon – baton, flashlight, etc., that IS and has been deadly force.  According to this article that was also an accepted practice.  I do teach a chokehold that is considered deadly force and is supposed to be used as a “last resort.”  The hold is called a Shoulder Pin Restraint.  This summer one of my patrolmen used it on a subject who said he had a gun and was going to kill him, the subject reached in his pants, my officer was too close to back out to draw his gun so he wrapped up the suspect and took him to the ground.  Another officer arrived on scene and helped with the suspect’s arm, keeping it in his pants so the officer could choke him out.  I reviewed that incident and applauded him.  He would have been justified to shoot and kill him over that, instead, he spared a life and that suspect will face a trial.  As far as shooting fleeing felons, 1985’s ruling on Garner v. Tennessee should ring a bell to these people.  Just because somebody commits a felony, you can’t shoot them because they are fleeing.  In only the most serious cases – perhaps a serial killer was escaping and was a true threat to society, shooting that person could be justified, other than something like that, you can’t shoot fleeing felons.  Good luck with an officer reporting a violation to a supervisor too.  I would hope a blatant violation would be reported so we can get out in front of it before it goes to the media and we find out about it that way.  That was put in there to cover the City’s behind. 
I do think that the changes will protect the citizens of Chicago and the protections for the police officers are designed to protect them civilly and criminally but not so much out on the street in real life.  I feel the citizens believe that they can push the envelope and get more aggressive because the officers may feel pressure of being reprimanded and be afraid to put their hands on them.  It is sad that the new policy must be sold as having a “Core value of sanctity of life.”  Part of the oath we take is the oath to protect life and property.  I feel fortunate that we have a large training budget and our officers are some of the utmost professionals.  In large departments, officers tend to get lost in the cracks and some go bad and are not accounted for.  I feel the step toward training everyone is a great move.


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