- A Chicago police officer will not be charged in the shooting of a 25-year-old black man who authorities said was armed with a gun as he ran away from officers in October 2014, prosecutors announced yesterday, the same day the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into patterns of racial disparity in the use of force by Chicago police.
The investigation, announced by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, comes nearly two weeks after the release of a video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times.
The federal investigation, which is separate from an existing federal investigation into last year's shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, also will review how the department disciplines officers and handles misconduct accusations. Justice Department officials say they use such patterns-and-practices investigations to identify systemic failings in troubled police departments and to improve trust between police and the communities they serve.
"This mistrust from members of the community makes it more difficult to gain help within investigations, to encourage the victims and the witnesses of crime to speak up and to fulfill the most basic responsibilities of public safety officials," Lynch said. "And when suspicion and hostility is allowed to fester, it can erupt into unrest."
The civil rights probe follows recent ones in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, and comes as the police department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are under intense scrutiny over their handling of the October 2014 death of McDonald.
Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder Nov. 24, more than a year after the killing and just hours before the release of police dashboard camera footage showing the officer shooting the teenager.
Kerry joins Paris talks amid climate warnings
LE BOURGET, France
-The United Nations secretary-general called for a clean energy revolution to avoid a "climate catastrophe" as talks on a global warming pact entered their final week yesterday with crunch issues on money and burden-sharing yet to be resolved.
One of them, however, appeared to be untangling as the European Union softened its insistence that countries' targets to limit carbon pollution need to be legally binding, something U.S. negotiators reject because of opposition in the Republican-controlled Congress.
"We need the United States on board and we have to find a solution," EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told reporters on the sidelines of the conference. "We understand the concerns they have because of the political situation they have in the Congress."
Many Republicans question whether climate change is happening and oppose emissions limits out of concern that it would hurt U.S. industry and jobs.
Upon arrival in France, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that even without binding targets the deal could change the way world business thinks about energy.
County in business after massacre
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.
- Thousands of employees of San Bernardino County began returning to work yesterday, five days after a county restaurant inspector and his wife opened fire on a gathering of his co-workers.
The reopening of much of the government's offices signals an effort to return to normalcy for a community that has been in shock and mourning since Wednesday's attack killed 14 people and injured 21.
"To honor them, to express our gratitude for their unimaginable sacrifice, we have to fight to maintain that ordinary," San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford said of the victims. "We can't be afraid of our lives, of our community, of our neighbors, of our co-workers."
The Board of Supervisors said at a news conference that all facilities have increased security, including armed sheriff's patrols, and officials were considering additional permanent safeguards. Counseling centers and a hotline were open, and managers were urged to look for signs of distress in their employees.
Public Health Director Trudy Raymundo, who attended the holiday luncheon where Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook opened fire, thanked law enforcement who guided workers to safety and shielded them from harm. She also expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support worldwide.
U.S. blames Russia for fatal Syrian bombing
- Syria yesterday accused the U.S.-led coalition of bombing an army camp in the eastern part of the country, killing three Syrian soldiers and wounding 13, but a senior U.S. military official said the Pentagon is "certain" the strike was from a Russian warplane.
The dispute over the deadly airstrike underscored the increasingly chaotic skies over Syria as various powers hit targets in the war-ravaged country. The U.S.-led alliance began its airstrikes in Syria in September 2014, while Russia's air campaign began a year later.
In a letter sent to the United Nations and published in Syrian state media, the government in Damascus said four aircraft from the coalition targeted the army camp in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour on Sunday night. In addition to the casualties among the troops, it said the attack destroyed armored and other vehicles, and a weapons and ammunition depot.
If Syria's allegations are confirmed, it would mark the first time the U.S.-led coalition has hit troops loyal to Assad.