Here’s a hypothetical question based in reality: What happens if you accidentally get shot in the back by a cop in Chicago? The answer is, assuming you survive the initial blast, you may be charged by police and prosecutors and then ordered to serve in trial. That’s what an eight-month investigation by the Chicago Tribune found, including other details highlighting methods used by the Chicago Police Department to clear officers involved in civilian shootings.

Reporters Sam Roe, David Heinzmann, and Steve Mills analyzed more than 200 Chicago Police Department shooting cases and found astonishing evidence of law enforcement officials who “have failed to properly police the police” when it comes to civilian shootings.

It’s a truly detailed and informative piece that deserves to be read in its entirety, including this sidebar which details how the police department destroys evidence implicating any wrong doing.

During their research the reporters found:

  • On average, a civilian is shot by a member of the Chicago Police Department once every 10 days. 
  • In cases where full accounting and internal investigations of civilian police shootings occur, they are often a result of wrongful death lawsuits.
  • Off-duty shootings have been viewed as “administrative issues” by the Chicago Police Department and officers “rarely face serious punishment.”