Study by Kyle Rozema: Van Dyke’s Complaint History Could Have Foretold Shooting of McDonald

Study: Van Dyke’s complaint history could have foretold shooting of McDonald

(Additional coverage in The Root…)

Jason Van Dyke could have been flagged as a problem officer who needed intervention to avoid a tragic incident long before he fired the 16 shots that killed 17-year old Laquan McDonald in 2014, a study of civilian complaints against Chicago police officers concludes.

The study of more than a decade of civilian complaints by Kyle Rozema of the University of Chicago Law School and Max Schanzenbach of Pritzker Law School at Northwestern University found that officers with the highest numbers of civilian complaints were more likely to be named as defendants in future civil rights lawsuits resulting in high payouts.

Van Dyke is scheduled to go on trial this week for murder charges for killing McDonald. Rozema and Schanzenbach found that the number of complaints against him from 2002 to 2014 put him in the top three percent of officers, a category that the authors found were likely to be the subject of civil rights lawsuits and large payouts.

Their study, “Good Cop, Bad Cop: Using Civilian Allegations to Predict Police Misconduct,” is to be published in a forthcoming edition of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.