ACLU Lawsuit Alleges Chicago Police Brutality ‘Magnified For People With Disabilities’

The suit seeks a permanent injunction to block the city from continuing what it calls its current policies and practices “of using unlawful force against black and Latino people and individuals with disabilities.” It also seeks to have all court costs covered by taxpayers.

The ACLU’s litigation comes after two other lawsuits were filed against the city in recent months urging Mayor Rahm Emanuel to allow a federal judge to oversee reforms within the Police Department following heavy criticism from the Obama administration’s U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Chicago’s police practices.

The Justice Department report, made public earlier this year, blasted the Police Department for its poor training of officers, lack of officer supervision and failures in adequately disciplining officers for misconduct.

Flanked by about a dozen leaders of community groups around Chicago, ACLU attorney Karen Sheley told reporters at a Wednesday news conference that two other lawsuits filed against the city in recent months over the Police Department’s reform efforts do not address officers’ interactions with people with mental and physical disabilities.

Since last year, the department has been requiring officers to undergo mandatory training for de-escalation and crisis intervention, skills that would be useful for dealing with people with disabilities.

But Sheley said the Justice Department probe made clear that reform efforts need wider input than just the Police Department and the city or are doomed to failure as past decades have shown.

Chicago police overtime monitored loosely and ripe for abuse, report finds
“Our goal is to have community members who are most impacted by these issues at the table ensuring that the reforms are meaningful and real, and that they are taking hold over time,” Sheley said at the ACLU’s downtown headquarters.

A statement released by the Law Department Wednesday did not directly address the ACLU suit but said the city has already committed to fashioning a consent decree — including an independent monitor overseen by a federal judge — on police reforms, a process that will include the “input of local community groups, police officers and other stakeholders.”

A spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The Justice Department investigation was prompted by the court-ordered release in 2015 of video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting black teen Laquan McDonald 16 times a year earlier. The video sparked widespread protests, the firing of Chicago’s police superintendent and calls for widespread reforms. Van Dyke is awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges.

After the Justice Department released its findings in January, Emanuel signed an agreement with then-President Barack Obama’s attorney general to enter a consent decree in which a federal judge would enforce reforms. By May, however, Emanuel was trying to reach an out-of-court agreement with President Donald Trump’s administration, which has signaled its opposition to court oversight of police departments. Emanuel argued that an out-of-court deal would get the same results as a consent decree.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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