A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by three Chicago police officers who challenged the Police Department's new policy requiring officers to cover up their tattoos, reports the Chicago Tribune.
U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras ruled that the city's goal to have a professional-looking department with uniform restrictions outweighs the officers' interests in expressing themselves by keeping their tattoos visible while on duty.
In filing the suit against the city in July, Officers Daniel Medici, John Kukielka and Dennis Leet argued that the crackdown by the department violated their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and expression. The officers all have tattoos on their arms. All also served in the military.
Kocoras argued that the trust that officers are trying to establish with the community might be compromised by allowing them to show off the tattoos.
According to the changes instituted by the department in June, tattoos and body brandings cannot be visible on officers "while on duty or representing the department, whether in uniform, conservative business attire or casual dress."
The hands, face, neck and other areas not covered by clothing must be covered with "matching skin tone adhesive bandage or tattoo cover-up tape," according to the policy. Uniformed officers also are barred from wearing baseball caps, or knit caps in the winter.