Acting on a lawsuit filed by the Better Government Association, a Cook County Judge ordered on Monday the Emanuel Administration to commence the public release of official reports and videos from any fatal Chicago Police Department shootings from 2011 through early this year.
The ruling from Judge Kathleen Kennedy requires the CPD to begin releasing the files as soon as they have been reviewed and to complete the process within six months.
The BGA requested the documents from CPD in the wake of the release a year ago this month of the controversial police shooting in 2014 of Laquan McDonald. The release of that video, also in response to a court order, led to the filing of murder charges against police officer Jason Van Dyke.
The BGA’s lawsuit for records and videos pertaining to other police shootings was filed in March after CPD both failed to produce the requested material or engage in a meaningful discussion about a schedule to do so.
“This release will be an important step forward in transparency, and will further efforts toward reform in Chicago” said BGA CEO Andy Shaw.
Since the McDonald shooting, the city has begun posting on its website similar records pertaining only to investigations of police shootings that remain open. Officials however balked at doing the same for closed cases. “We think the public ought to know the whole truth on every police shooting, and closed cases are particularly important because they allow the public to scrutinize the work in clearing those cases of the independent city agency charged with monitoring police conduct,” said Shaw.
BGA is told that there are approximately 70 files that will be reviewed and released.