The Latest: All Chicago police patrol cars to have Tasers
The Associated Press
Dec. 30, 2015
CHICAGO (AP) — The latest on Chicago police shootings, including one in 2014 in which an officer has been charged with murder for killing a teenager (all times local):
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says every Chicago police patrol car will be equipped with a Taser following a series of high-profile shootings by officers.
Emanuel said Wednesday the city will double the number of Tasers available, to 1,400.
Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante says 21 percent of Chicago officers are certified on using a Taser, but more training will be offered.
The mayor and Police Department have been heavily criticized since the city last month released video footage of a white officer shooting a black teenager 16 times in 2014.
Emanuel noted that on audio recordings of communications between dispatchers and officers on the scene that night, several officers are heard "frantically" asking for a Taser before officer Jason Van Dyke shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Police have said no officers or vehicles on the scene were equipped with one.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says public trust in Chicago police is "frayed to the point that it's broken."
Emanuel said during a news conference Wednesday that he's trying to make changes to rebuild that trust. But he says Chicago is not unique in having issues between its police department and the community.
He says, "Every city is going through a change in police practice, tactics and culture."
Emanuel announced new policies regarding training and use of force.
The changes come amid an uproar over shootings by police, including one in which a white officer shot a black teenager 16 times. Squad-car video of the fatal 2014 shooting, released last month, set off protests and calls for Emanuel to resign.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Chicago officers must be better trained in knowing the difference between when they can use a gun and when they should use a gun.
Emanuel on Wednesday announced changes in Chicago police training and the use of force. He also says the department will double the number of Tasers available to officers, from 700 to 1,400.
Emanuel says the new policies are just the latest step as he works to restore public trust in the department and his administration.
Both have been under intense scrutiny since a dashcam video was released last month showing a white officer shooting a black 17-year-old 16 times.
Over the weekend, Chicago police shot and killed two other people: A 19-year-old man they said was "combative" toward officers and a 55-year-old neighbor who was accidentally hit by gunfire.
Emanuel says the changes are aimed at "injecting some humanity" in how police operate.
A community activist says he's skeptical changes Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing for Chicago police will reverse decades of mistrust between officers and residents.
Emanuel's office says he plans to lay out new policies Wednesday regarding police training and use of force.
Ted Pearson is a leader of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which advocates for the city to have a civilian police accountability council that isn't appointed by the mayor.
Pearson noted that after a video was released showing a white officer shoot a black teenager 16 times, Emanuel forced his police superintendent to resign and gave an emotional public apology. But Pearson says that didn't stop police from fatally shooting two people last weekend.
Pearson says, "The people have no trust in the police. They have no trust in the mayor."
The 19-year-old man fatally shot by Chicago police last weekend spent most of his life in foster care, and his longtime foster mother says she never saw him be violent.
But the Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1moWNJE ) Quintonio LeGrier had run-ins with police in the past year at Northern Illinois University, including a charge of battery for allegedly punching someone.
Chicago police say LeGrier was "combative" toward officers before he was shot early Saturday. A 55-year-old neighbor, Bettie Jones, was accidentally hit and killed by gunfire.
According to the newspaper, state records show the Illinois Department of Family Services took custody of LeGrier when he was 5 because of allegations of abuse by his mother.
His foster mother, Mary Strenger, says LeGrier lived with her for 12 years. She says he was a strong student and "never got in trouble."
Chicago officials are expected to announce changes in police training, including a requirement that every officer responding to service calls be equipped with a Taser.
A statement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office said Emanuel and Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante will have a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday to announce "a major overhaul" of the policy regarding how officers respond to incidents and the use of force.
The statement said the department will also begin to require every officer who "responds to calls for service" to be equipped with a Taser and trained to use it by June 1, 2016.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi didn't immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking further details.
The police department has been under scrutiny since a dashcam video was released last month showing a white officer shooting a black 17-year-old 16 times.