Latest: Protesters rally after no charges against officer

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2015 9:29 PM
Latest: Protesters rally after no charges against officer

CHICAGO (AP) — The latest developments in the city of Chicago's efforts to deal with fatal police shootings and police accountability (all times local):

8 p.m.

Organizers estimate roughly 50 to 100 protesters are marching and rallying on Chicago's South Side after authorities decided not to bring charges against a Chicago officer who fatally shot a 25-year-old man in 2014.

The protesters are from groups including Action Now, Black Youth Project 100 and Black Lives Matter.

They gathered Monday near the site where Ronald Johnson III was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer. Some chanted for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down.

Participants included Johnson's mother, Dorothy Holmes.

The protest capped a flurry of activity Monday that included the U.S. Department of Justice announcing a wide-ranging probe of police department practices and Alvarez deciding not to bring charges in the Johnson case.

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7:30 p.m.

A high-ranking Chicago police officer is retiring in the wake of the release of a graphic dashcam video showing the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer in 2014.

Department officials say Constantine "Dean" Andrews retired Monday, effective immediately. He was chief of detectives.

He tells The Chicago Tribune he informed interim Superintendent John Escalante a day earlier.

Andrews says with everything changing and a temporary superintendent, he thought it would be best for the city and department.

He adds that neither a recently announced U.S. Department of Justice investigation nor a high-profile case involving former Mayor Richard Daley's nephew impacted his decision.

Andrews was deputy chief of detectives in 2011 when authorities reinvestigated the 2004 death of David Koschman, who was in a fight with Daley's nephew and died after he fell and hit his head.

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5:15 p.m.

Several social justice groups are planning an evening protest after county authorities announced they won't charge a Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 25-year-old man in 2014.

That includes representatives from the group Action Now. In a statement, the group's executive director, Katelyn Johnson, says she questions some of the details of the case, including initial claims that Ronald Johnson III pointed a gun at officers when video doesn't show it.

She says elected officials have failed black neighborhoods in Chicago.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced Monday that charges won't be brought because evidence showed that Ronald Johnson III was carrying a gun and his DNA was found on a gun recovered at the scene.

The activist groups plan to meet Monday evening near where Ronald Johnson III was shot. Another protest is set for Wednesday morning.

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3:35 p.m.

The newly named chief of the independent body that reviews police officer misconduct in Chicago says she has no agenda beyond the pursuit of integrity and transparency.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel named Sharon Fairley as leader of the Independent Police Review Authority on Monday after the former leader resigned.

Chicago officials have been criticized for the handling of the 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer, with some alleging a cover-up.

Fairley spoke Monday at a news conference with Emanuel and said she hopes her appointment will be confirmed by the City Council.

She says Chicago is at a crossroads and change is in the air and on the horizon.

Emanuel and Fairley spoke hours after the federal Department of Justice announced it'll investigate the Chicago Police Department for patterns of unconstitutional practices.

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3:15 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city needs comprehensive solutions in the wake of the 2014 death of a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white police officer.

Emanuel says the police department's challenges go beyond one case and says he's making several reforms, including appointing a new leader for the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police-involved shootings.

The authority's new chief, Sharon Fairley, appeared with Emanuel at a Monday news conference at City Hall. The previous head resigned Sunday.

Emanuel spoke hours after the federal Department of Justice announced it'll investigate the Chicago Police Department for patterns of unconstitutional practices.

Officer Jason Van Dyke faces first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

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2:55 p.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that an independent body that investigates police-involved shootings will resume looking at the death of Ronald Johnson III, who was fatally shot by police in 2014.

The Cook County state's attorney announced Monday that she wouldn't charge the officer involved.

Emanuel says in a statement that the Independent Police Review Authority will see if the shooting was consistent with department policy.

The authority recommends whether an officer should be disciplined.

Emanuel says the death of Johnson can't be taken lightly. He adds that city officials need to ask if existing policies on deadly force are the right ones and if the training provided to officers in life or death situations is sufficient.

The federal Department of Justice announced Monday it will investigate the city police department for patterns of unconstitutional practices.

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2:30 p.m.

The mother of a 25-year-old man fatally shot by Chicago police in 2014 says even though the officer won't be charged, she intends to press authorities until she gets justice.

Dorothy Holmes and her attorney Michael Oppenheimer said Monday afternoon that they still believe there was a cover up in the death of Ronald Johnson III.

Their comments came after Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said her office wouldn't charge Officer George Hernandez.

Oppenheimer doesn't believe the investigation was thorough, and Holmes believes DNA evidence was planted.

Both say the lack of charges has angered people. Several groups of activists say they planned to protest later in the evening.

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2 p.m.

The attorney for the family of a black man fatally shot in the back by Chicago police say an investigation into the shooting was a "joke" and an affront to the man's family and Cook County citizens.

Attorney Michael Oppenheimer on Monday afternoon questioned the evidence and conclusions in an investigation into the October 2014 shooting death of 25-year-old Ronald Johnson. Earlier Monday, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said her office wouldn't charge the police officer who fired at Johnson.

Police say Johnson pointed a gun at officers. But Johnson's family says he wasn't armed and claim a gun was planted. Oppenheimer says investigators weren't thorough enough and failed to interview key witnesses.

Johnson's relatives had pressed Chicago officials to release the squad-car video of the fatal shooting. They have filed lawsuits over the shooting.

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1:05 p.m.

Video released as Illinois prosecutors announced they won't charge a Chicago police officer who shot an allegedly gun-wielding suspect in the back does not include audio as it should.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters she didn't know why the squad-car footage lacked sound. She expressed frustration that audio was absent in this and other cases, calling it "a problem" for police and saying "they have to answer for" it.

Largely based on what's seen in the video, prosecutors said Monday they're not charging Officer George Hernandez in the death of Ronald Johnson III last year.

Five police-car videos released over two weeks ago in the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald have no audio. That raised questions about whether officers intentionally switched off the audio.

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12:55 p.m.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says her office sent video of a police officer fatally shooting a suspect in the back to a computer laboratory.

Alvarez said at a Monday news conference that she wanted to determine if Ronald Johnson III was carrying a gun as he ran. Alvarez announced that the officer wouldn't be charged in the case.

In a presentation that included the video of the shooting, prosecutors displayed magnified photographs showing Johnson carrying an object.

Alvarez would only say "there's an object in his hand" but pointed out that there was other evidence that he was carrying a gun — including Johnson's DNA found on a gun recovered at the scene.

The hour-long presentation included diagrams, dashcam video, radio calls between officers and dispatchers and 911 calls.

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12:45 p.m.

Prosecutors say witness statements, squad-car video and other evidence shows a Chicago police officer last year didn't act criminally when he fatally shot a suspect in the back.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced Monday that she's not charging Officer George Hernandez in the death of Ronald Johnson III. Less than two weeks ago another officer was charged in a separate case — the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Assistant State's Attorney Lynn McCarthy says responding officers were told about reports of gunshots. She slowed a video to show what she said was a gun in Johnson's hand before he was shot. Prosecutors say a loaded weapon was found in his hand after he was killed.

The video shows Hernandez shooting as Johnson runs away and as Johnson steps just out of view of the camera.

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12:10 p.m.

A grainy dashcam video shows Ronald Johnson III running across a street at night with several officers in pursuit. One officer begins shooting — fire flaring from the barrel — as Johnson runs. Prosecutors say he was hit just as his image goes out of view.

At a news conference Monday, Assistant State's Attorney Lynn McCarthy slowed down the video to show what she says is a gun in the 25-year-old black man's hand. She says it is a semiautomatic pistol with 12 live rounds loaded.

No audio was captured in the video, as in an earlier police shooting case. The lack of audio in the video showing the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald raised questions about whether officers might have switched audio off intentionally to conceal their actions.

McCarthy says officers repeatedly shouted at Johnson to stop and drop his weapon but that he ignored these commands.

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11:55 a.m.

A Chicago police officer will not be charged in the fatal shooting of a black man in an incident captured by a squad car's dashcam.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced Monday that she's not charging Officer George Hernandez in the shooting death of Ronald Johnson III in October 2014. Less than two weeks ago another officer was charged in the fatal shooting of a black man recorded by a squad car dashcam.

Last month, Alvarez charged Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times.

Police say the 25-year-old Johnson pointed a gun at officers before Hernandez shot him in the back. Johnson's mother, who has been pressing the city to release the video, says it shows her son was running away from officers when he was shot.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the video should be released this week.

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This item has been corrected to show that Hernandez is not the second officer to be charged.

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11:45 a.m.

The State's Attorney's Office has shown a video of a white Chicago police officer fatally shooting a young black man — the second such video to be released in as many weeks.

The video's release Monday follows an effort by the family of 25-year-old Ronald Johnson III to force the city to make public the video that they say shows an officer shooting him in the back. Prosecutors have not said if they will charge Officer George Hernandez in the shooting.

Nearly two weeks ago, the city released a video that shows the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times. Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder.

Police say Johnson pointed a gun at police before Hernandez killed him. Johnson's mother says her son was running away from police when he was killed.

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10:20 a.m.

Illinois lawmakers are pushing legislation to make it easier to see videos depicting shootings by police.

The legislation, introduced by Chicago Democrat Rep. Arthur Turner, would require police agencies who want to deny release of a video under the Freedom of Information Act to prove their case in court.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting (http://trib.in/1XW2I4I ) that Turner's legislation has support from co-sponsor Rep. David McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills.

The two met last month when Chicago police released the video of the police shooting of black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

A citizen denied records under FOIA may challenge the decision in court. McSweeney says the legislation puts that action upfront because of the delay in releasing the McDonald video.

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10:10 a.m.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says she's pleased the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate use of force by the Chicago Police Department.

Madigan was among several politicians, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who have called for a federal civil rights investigation following the release last week of a video showing a white police officer shooting a black man 16 times. The officer has been charged with murder and the city's police chief was forced to resign.

Madigan says the investigation is the "best hope" for reforms necessary to build trust. She says independent experts are the only ones who can answer questions about department practices and procedures.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says the investigation shouldn't be viewed as a penalty but rather an opportunity to identify areas where Chicago police have "fallen short."

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9:40 a.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is welcoming a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights investigation into the city's police department less than two weeks after a video of a police shooting of a teenager was released.

In a statement released minutes after U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the investigation, Emanuel says his goal to create a stronger and better police force "that keeps the community safe while respecting the civil rights of every Chicagoan."

Emanuel had initially resisted the probe, saying it was not necessary given the fact that the U.S. Attorney's office was investigating the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Van Dyke was charged last week with first-degree murder for the 2014 shooting and the mayor forced Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign.

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9:15 am

Attorney General Loretta Lynch has announced a federal civil rights investigation of the Chicago police department.

The investigation will search for patterns of unconstitutional policing practices throughout the police force.

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the city released the explosive video of a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times, killing him.

The investigation will be led by the Justice Department's civil rights division.

Its focus goes beyond the October 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald to look at the police force's policies on use of force, including racial, ethnic and other disparities, and its accountability systems.

The investigation is similar to ones recently undertaken in other cities, including Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri. A Justice Department investigation of the Cleveland police force ended earlier this year in a sweeping settlement.

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8:15 a.m.

A law enforcement official says U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is going to announce a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department.

The official says Lynch will make the announcement with the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Zachary Fardon, at a news conference in Washington on Monday morning. The official is not authorized to speak about the announcement and would only speak to Associated Press reporter Don Babwin on condition of anonymity.

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the city released the explosive video of a white Chicago police officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times and killing him.

Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder and Mayor Rahm Emanuel forced Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign.

Emanuel also says the city will release of another video that shows an officer shooting and killing a black man. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, whose office charged Van Dyke, has said she's launched a criminal investigation into the shooting.

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7:15 a.m.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to address police accountability in a news conference with his new interim police superintendent and the acting head of the city agency that investigates police cases.

The mayor's office says Emanuel, interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante and acting Independent Police Review Authority chief Sharon Fairley will speak to reporters Monday afternoon.

Last week, Emanuel fired police superintendent Garry McCarthy amid controversy over a video showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times.

Late Sunday, the mayor's office said the head of IPRA had resigned effective immediately and that Fairley would take the job. She's a former federal prosecutor and was with Chicago's Office of Inspector General.

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7:10 a.m.

Prosecutors in Chicago plan a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into last year's police shooting death of 25-year-old Ronald Johnson.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez plans to discuss the case Monday morning. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the city would release a video of Johnson's killing this week.

Police say Johnson pointed a gun at officers in October 2014 before an officer fatally shot him. However, Johnson's family and attorney Michael Oppenheimer say he wasn't armed and claim a gun was planted.

Johnson's relatives have pressed Chicago officials for squad car video of the shooting and filed lawsuits.

The Johnson announcement comes after the city released graphic video last month showing a white police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was black, 16 times.