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Chicago police probe announced; no charges in 2nd shooting

Chicago police officers line up outside the District 1 central headquarters at 17th and State streets, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, during a protest for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot and killed in October 2014 in Chicago. Chicago... (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago police officer will not be charged in the shooting of a 25-year-old black man who authorities said was armed with a gun as he ran away from officers, prosecutors announced Monday, the same day the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into patterns of racial disparity in the use of force by Chicago police.

The investigation, announced by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, comes nearly two weeks after the release of a video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times.

The federal investigation, which is separate from an existing federal investigation into last year's shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, also will review how the department disciplines officers and handles misconduct accusations. Justice Department officials say they use such patterns-and-practices investigations to identify systemic failings in troubled police departments and to improve trust between police and the communities they serve.

"This mistrust from members of the community makes it more difficult to gain help within investigations, to encourage the victims and the witnesses of crime to speak up and to fulfill the most basic responsibilities of public safety officials," Lynch said. "And when suspicion and hostility is allowed to fester, it can erupt into unrest."

The civil rights probe follows recent ones in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, and comes as the police department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are under intense scrutiny over their handling of the October 2014 death of McDonald. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder Nov. 24, more than a year after the killing and just hours before the release of police dashboard camera footage showing the officer shooting the teenager.