Did you know that these reports that were referenced in today’s news are available to the public? I didn’t. But they are.
For each of the two major reports talked about recently, the Department of Justice put out a press release that links to the full report plus fact sheets and other supplemental material:
- Findings of Investigation into Chicago Police Department (January 2017)
- Findings of Investigation into Ville Platte, Louisiana, Police Department and Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office (December 2016)
[update 3/1/2017] In addition, you can see the full list of cases on this topic from 1997 to the present in the Department of Justice’s report “The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present” starting at page 41 (Published January 4th, 2017). Searching for the name of the police department and then adding site:justice.gov should land you on the investigative reports for those cases.
These reports cite case law heavily, and not every case is available for free to the public. Searching Google for a case name is usually a good way to go, in this case, since various people may upload copies of rulings. You can also use the filetype:pdf syntax at the end of your search if you’re trying to weed out people just talking about the ruling and really want to see if there’s a PDF of the ruling out there for the viewing. Justia and RECAP are two other places to look, and Google Scholar has a “case law” option just under its main search box that may lead you to useful results. (And if you have access to LexisNexis through work or a library, that’s an obvious choice, too.)