Demonstrators march through downtown following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on Nov. 24, 2015 in Chicago, Ill.
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Justice Department to investigate Chicago Police in Laquan McDonald death

Attorney General Loretta Lynch plans to announce this week that the Justice Department will open an investigation of the Chicago Police Department, according to law enforcement officials.

The investigation will examine whether Chicago police have engaged in a pattern or practice of violating the civil rights of residents, the officials told NBC News.

The inquiry would be broader than the federal investigation already under way into the videotaped police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald last year. The officer in that case has been charged with murder.

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The shooting and the filing of murder charges led to calls from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for a Justice Department civil rights investigation. Gov. Bruce Rauner and Sen. Dick Durbin have joined in the calls. After initially resisting, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he would “welcome the engagement of the Justice Department.”

Since 1994, the Justice Department has had the legal authority to investigate whether a law enforcement organization is engaging in a pattern or practice of civil rights violations. Some investigations end with agreements to improve conduct. Others end up in federal court.

In the last six years, the department has launched more than two dozen investigations of police departments nationwide — more than twice as many as were opened in the preceding period.

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