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September 21, 2021

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL TO CONVENE VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING REGARDING JOLIET POLICE DEPARTMENT

Raoul Invites Public to Participate in Meeting as Part of Investigation into Possible Patterns or Practices of Unlawful Policing

Chicago  — Attorney General Kwame Raoul is inviting members of the public to participate in a virtual town hall meeting discussing the investigation into the Joliet Police Department’s policing practices. The meeting is the first of multiple meetings and discussions the Attorney General’s office will convene as part of Raoul’s investigation into possible patterns or practices of unconstitutional or unlawful policing by the Joliet Police Department.

The Attorney General’s office will host multiple meetings – both virtual and in person – with Joliet residents, advocates and other stakeholders throughout the investigation. The Zoom town hall will take place Thursday, Sept. 23, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Residents who would like to attend must register online and can send questions or request reasonable accommodations by emailing Special.Events@ilag.gov.

“The upcoming virtual town hall meeting with Joliet residents is one of many opportunities for members of the community to ask questions and learn more about this investigation and how they can provide input,” Raoul said. “Just as cooperation from the Joliet Police Department and city officials will support our efforts to conduct a thorough review of department policies and materials, public input and participation will be critical to preserving the independence and integrity of the investigation. I encourage Joliet residents to register to participate Thursday, and learn more about the many ways they can be heard during this process.”

Over the course of Attorney General Raoul’s investigation, career attorneys from Raoul’s Civil Rights and Special Litigation bureaus will conduct interviews and public and private meetings with Joliet law enforcement officers, city government officials, Joliet residents, advocates and other stakeholders. Raoul and the office’s attorneys have already met with community groups; Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk; Joliet Police Department leadership, including Chief Dawn M. Malec; union representatives; and the Will County State’s Attorney’s office.

Attorney General Raoul’s civil investigation follows a June 2020 request by Mayor O’Dekirk and members of the Joliet City Council asking Raoul’s office to conduct an investigation. In response, the Attorney General’s office requested information from the city of Joliet and the Joliet Police Department, both of which have fully cooperated. Following a preliminary review of the information provided as well as publicly available records, Raoul’s office has initiated a formal investigation. The Attorney General’s office will take specific incidents into account during the investigation; however, the investigation’s questions, findings and conclusions will be focused on whether systemic problems exist within the Joliet Police Department. The investigation will not involve reconsidering criminal charging decisions made within the jurisdiction of local prosecutors.

Attorneys and subject matter experts from the Attorney General’s Civil Rights and Special Litigation bureaus will conduct a detailed review of the Joliet Police Department’s policies and training. Raoul’s office also will inspect department reports resulting from traffic and pedestrian stops, searches and arrests. Of particular interest will be the Joliet Police Department’s policies and practices related to the use of force and supervisory and department reviews of these incidents. In addition, Raoul’s attorneys and experts will investigate the department’s handling of misconduct allegations against officers by reviewing complaints from the public, the department’s investigations into those complaints, as well as any resulting corrective or disciplinary action.

Attorney General Raoul’s investigation into possible patterns or practices of unlawful policing by the Joliet Police Department is being conducted using the office’s authority under the Illinois Attorney General Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act, and the Illinois Civil and Equal Rights Enforcement Act. The investigation is the first of its kind since the 2021 Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act went into effect July 1, 2021. The SAFE-T Act gives the Attorney General’s office authority to investigate and take civil action to address patterns or practices of unconstitutional or unlawful policing.

Attorney General Raoul is encouraging individuals who have information relevant to the investigation to email input.joliet@ilag.gov or call the Attorney General’s office at 833-243-1498. Additional information about the investigation is available on the Attorney General’s website.

Release Available En español.

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