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Activists Sue to Force Chicago PD into Court Supervised Reform

June 16, 2017  | 

Days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel backed away from a pledge to have a judge monitor efforts to reform the Chicago Police Department, a host of civil rights organizations filed a federal lawsuit seeking to spur sweeping changes in the troubled department that would be enforced by the courts.

About 15 lawyers from Chicago and New York filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago on behalf of six plaintiffs who allege they were victims of excessive force and other abuses at the hands of Chicago police. The plaintiffs also include groups such as Black Lives Matter Chicago.

The roughly 130-page lawsuit — which seeks class-action status — contends that police routinely beat, deploy Tasers on and shoot African-Americans and Latinos with the protection of a "code of silence" and little risk of discipline, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Though the suit seeks money for the individual plaintiffs, it is distinct from most litigation filed against police because it also seeks an injunction to force the department to adopt reforms. Those reforms are not fully specified in the lawsuit but would be hammered out if the litigation succeeds.

Indeed, the lawsuit's chief goal is an order empowering a judge to enforce reforms that could include those endorsed by the Obama administration's U.S. Department of Justice in its report from January criticizing the Chicago police.


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