Despite growing chorus, DOJ is limited in police probes | #schoolshooting

CHICAGO (AP) — The only way for 13-year-old Adam Toledo to get justice, activists say, is with a federal probe into the Chicago police officer who shot him during a foot chase down a darkened alley.

About a dozen people gathered Tuesday at a legal office in the heart of a Latino neighborhood, near Little Village where the boy was shot last month, to ask the Justice Department to get involved.

“We cannot leave it up to the police department to investigate itself and expect meaningful reforms,” said attorney and activist Arturo Jáuregui. “That has never worked in the past and will not work now.”

Calls like this have grown for federal investigations into recent police killings across the nation since President Joe Biden took office and said he believes racial disparities in policing must change.

The family of a child shot dead by police in 2014 have also recently asked the Justice Department to reopen that case. After motorist Daunte Wright was killed by a Minnesota police officer earlier this month, there were also calls for federal authorities to step in. And although former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of George Floyd, a federal investigation in the case is ongoing.

The U.S. Justice Department, though working under an administration with very different priorities, is still bound by the same laws that present a high bar for bringing federal charges. And that may leave victims’ families disappointed.

Still, the department is shifting its priorities to focus more on civil rights issues, criminal justice overhauls and policing policies. Attorney General Merrick Garland has declared there isn’t yet equal justice under the law.

As the jury deliberated after a three-week trial, Biden said of Floyd’s family: “They’re a good family, and they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is. I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. It’s overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”

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