Activist priest Michael Pfleger predicts the Chicago Police Department is going to get a licking when the clock stops ticking Friday.
“I was told by Vanita Gupta, head of the department’s civil rights division, that the Chicago Police probe by the Department of Justice is going to send a message to the rest of the country when it comes to the abuse of civil rights,” said Pfleger, a Roman Catholic pastor whose South Side parish has been ravaged by drugs, street gangs and murder.
• To wit: The U.S. Department of Justice is releasing a yearlong report on civil rights and constitutional violations by the Chicago Police Department on Friday, which could place Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political career on tenterhooks.
“She told me there would be no limits on who they would talk to,” he said. “No place they would not investigate and search. No one would be protected. It was a search to find the truth,” said Pfleger, who tells Sneed he was interviewed by the DOJ six times last year — and led a march of cross-bearers on New Year’s Eve, each symbolically honoring each of the 780 people killed in Chicago in 2016.
“She was great and really wanted to get to the bottom of this problem,” Pfleger told Sneed. “She said she realized they were putting together a document not everybody was going to be happy with!”
It was reported Thursday that Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be accompanied by Gupta when they announce the DOJ’s findings of constitutional violations by the CPD, but a signed and completed consent decree outlining mandated changes to police practices was considered unlikely — although an “agreement in principle” might be announced to create a court-enforceable path.
Also in attendance at the press conference podium will be Emanuel and U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon, the top federal prosecutor in northern Illinois.
“But now I’m concerned there may be no hammer to enforce the results of the probe because a new administration is around the corner,” Pfleger said. “At the end of the day, the new attorney general will call the shots.”
• Addendum: Pfleger has been invited to deliver the sermon for the National Commemorative Service celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday in Atlanta.
Is this a rush to judgment?
Fraternal Order of Police chief Dean Angelo is scratching his head over the one-year timeline release of the DOJ report on the Chicago Police Department.
“How did they do this in a year?” Angelo asked Sneed.
“It took three years for the DOJ to probe the 15,000-member Puerto Rican police force.
“It took 19 months for them to probe the 1,500-member police department in Cleveland.
“It took six months to probe Ferguson’s 72-member police force.
“Did the DOJ rush to get this done before the inauguration of a new president?”
The flip side: The shootout in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side by gangbangers with an assault rifle — which killed one man and wounded three others — was not only the second shooting in recent weeks to be carried out by a .223 caliber rifle, but:
• Thirty casings were found at the scene.
• The police don’t have access to that kind of firepower to take on this kind of weapon.
• Officers have been trying to get certified to carry these weapons, but the CPD doesn’t have enough instructors certified to do so.
• Police squad cars don’t have appropriate gunlocks in their vehicles to accommodate long guns.
Even if they were certified to carry them.
“Listen, we need a wake-up call,” said Ald. Ed Burke (14th), a former Chicago cop. “It is frightening to think that the women and men in the police department are being outgunned, the people who put their lives on the line each day.
“They need the best and most effective equipment to protect them as they indeed serve and protect.”
Haha: Yes. Yes.
Uber Cubs fan Bill Murray was spotted peering out from under the World Series trophy sitting upside down on his head at the birthday bash for Cubs President Theo Epstein on Saturday at Green Street Smoked Meats on the up and trendy Green Street.
And, yes, Eddie Vedder played for the birthday boy.
Sneedlings . . .
I spy: Blackhawks player Scott Darling having brunch at Chicago Cut on Saturday. . . . Wrestler John Cena spotted at Gibsons recently. . . Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, wife Gabrielle “Being Mary Jane” Union, NBA champion Chris Bosh and wife Adrienne watching the Green Bay Packers game while dining at The Vig on Wells on Sunday. . . . Today’s birthdays: Orlando Bloom, 40; Patrick Dempsey, 51, and Shonda Rhimes, 47.Tweets by @sneedlings