On the Fourth of July 2014, Chicago police shot and killed a 14-year-old child, Pedro Rios Jr. Although the Cook County medical examiner’s autopsy revealed that Rios’s death was caused by homicide, his official death record, certified by the same agency, reads “suicide” as the manner of death.
That–and many more disturbing details of Chicago police and the Independent Police Review Authority’s (IPRA) practices around officer-involved killings–is what Sarah Macaraeg found in part one of her four-part investigation for Truthout.
According to its website, Chicago’s IPRA was created in 2007 over criticism over the police department’s misconduct. IPRA is lead “by a civilian Chief Administrator and staffed entirely with civilian investigators, IPRA is an independent agency of the City of Chicago, separate from the Chicago Police Department. IPRA replaced the former Office of Professional Standards.” But, Macaraeg’s reporting indicates IPRA is failing at holding police accountable: the agency failed to even count at least six officer-involved killings in three years alone–including Rios’s death, which is ironically listed as “non-fatal.”
Part one of Truthout’s investigation yields damning conclusions about the Chicago PD as well as the very costly civilian-led IPRA, including institutionalized bias.