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Chicago reaches settlement with DOJ in police employment discrimination suit

[JURIST] The city of Chicago on Tuesday agreed to settle [press release] a case alleging job discrimination against police department applicants. Under the settlement, Chicago will pay $2 million [Reuters report] in back pay and other benefits to 47 job candidates rejected under a residency requirement during the 2006 hiring cycle. The requirement stated that an applicant must have lived in the US continuously for 10 years. The suit, which was filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] earlier this month, alleged that their exclusion constituted nationality-based discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act [text]. The DOJ argued that the residency requirement disproportionately removed applicants who were born outside of the US from the hiring pool. The police department will also be offering jobs to eight of the 47 rejected applicants as part of the settlement. The city and the DOJ filed a joint motion in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois requesting that the settlement be approved.

The DOJ has also opened a separate inquiry into the Chicago Police Department. In December the DOJ announced [JURIST report] that it would be opening a full investigation into the department following the 2014 police shooting death of a black teenager. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at the news briefing that the DOJ will specifically look into the CPD's use of force, including deadly force. They will also look into whether there are systematic violations of the Constitution or federal law by the CPD, as well as racial, ethnic and other disparities in use of force, and its systems of accountability. In November protests occurred [Reuters report] in Chicago following the release of a 2014 squad car dashboard video showing officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year old Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke was charged [JURIST report] with first-degree murder for the death of McDonald in October 2014.

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