US police watchdog posts videos to improve transparency

US police watchdog posts videos to improve transparency

Evidence from use-of-force incidents put online to improve image of Chicago police

By Kasim Ileri

WASHINGTON (AA) - A police watchdog in Chicago on Friday released video and other evidence in more than 100 cases of alleged police misconduct.

The Independent Police Review Authority published the online database, which includes videos of fatal shootings, incident reports and audio files relating to 101 incidents, following the recommendations of a police accountability task force in April.

The task force was established by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after video footage of the 2014 fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald was released in November.

The footage was ordered released by a judge as a result of a freedom of information lawsuit amid mounting concerns over police accountability in Chicago.

Sharon Fairley, head of the review authority, called the release “historic”.

She told a televised news conference: “There's a lack of trust between the community and law enforcement. Increased transparency is essential in rebuilding that trust.”

Future evidence will be placed on the database within 90 days of an incident, she said.

“Today, with the formal implementation of the new policy, we are acting boldly and thoughtfully,” Emanuel said in a statement.

“The policy we are implementing today is a major step forward to promote transparency and it makes us one of the leading cities in America to guarantee timely public access to this breadth of information involving sensitive police incidents.”

Many of the videos released seemed to be recorded by police dashboard cameras, CCTV and bystanders’ mobile phones.

One from 2012 depicts police officers opening fire on a minivan reversing towards them, killing one of the three occupants.

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