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Chicago to release police videos and reports from 100 incidents in a bid to gain public trust

Chicago to release police videos and reports from 100 incidents in a bid to gain public trust
Chicago police investigate a shooting on May 19. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

City officials plan to release videos, reports and other materials this week from about 100 police incidents, including officer-involved shootings, as part of an effort to improve public trust in Chicago's police force, according to a memo obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

The impending release of the materials comes after Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Police Accountability Task Force — formed as part of the fallout from the court-ordered release last November of the Laquan McDonald shooting video — recommended that videos of police-related incidents be made public within 60 days.

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The materials from each incident are tentatively scheduled to be released Thursday, according to the memo issued by the city's office of emergency management and communications. The Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that investigates allegations of excessive force against Chicago police officers, "will be responsible" for making the materials available through the task force's website, the memo said.

Image from dash-cam video prior to the shooting of Laquan McDonald, seen on the right walking in the street.
Image from dash-cam video prior to the shooting of Laquan McDonald, seen on the right walking in the street. (Chicago Police Department)

It's unclear exactly what incidents will be released to the public. A police review authority spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The materials to be released include video and audio recordings of officer-involved shootings and Taser-discharge events as well as "incidents of bodily harm to individuals while in police custody," the memo said.

The video and audio recordings could be from police dashboard cameras, body cameras and police surveillance cameras, according to the memo. Private surveillance video from homes or businesses obtained as part of investigations by the Chicago police and the review authority also could released.

Various police reports may also be released, including arrest reports and "tactical response reports," which are filled out by officers whenever they use force during an arrest. Chicago police radio calls and dispatcher recordings may also be publicly released, the memo said.

Gerald A. Hollowell, the office of emergency management and communications' deputy director of 911 operations, announced the release of dozens of videos and other materials in a memo to police and fire dispatchers.

"Be advised: This pending initiative will impact employees on the operations floor directly as you will now all be subject to having your day-to-day job performance publicly available on the (task force) website for all to hear and scrutinize," he wrote.

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