Chicago Lawyers’ Committee Files Amicus Brief Supporting Community Lawsuit Seeking Federal Oversight of CPD

Craig Futterman, clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, discusses a lawsuit seeking federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department filed Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Craig Futterman, clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, discusses a lawsuit seeking federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department filed Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

As part of our work to advance civil rights through police accountability, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights filed an amicus brief in support of the class action lawsuit brought against the City of Chicago. The lawsuit, Campbell v. City of Chicago, was filed in June on behalf thousands of predominantly Black and Latinx individuals who have been, or will be, subjected to abuses and discriminatory policing by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The lawsuit, incorporating many findings of the Department of Justice and the Police Accountability Task Force reports, documents the historic and ongoing pattern and practice of abuses and discriminatory policing by CPD, and seeks federal court oversight of reforms.

Our amicus brief, joined by the Cook County Bar Association, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and highly respected faith leaders Rabbi Seth Limmer and Rev. Michael Pfleger, opposes the City’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and supports the legal standing of the nine separate community-based organizations that represent the communities most impacted by police misconduct in Chicago.

“We felt it was important to provide an additional perspective to the court on the importance of the lawsuit,” said Advocacy Director Aneel Chablani, “and to support the unique positioning of the organizational plaintiffs to bring this necessary legal challenge.”

The amicus brief, available here, highlights overwhelming evidence of a history of targeted policing abuses impacting the Black and Latinx communities, which persist today as a result of deeply rooted policies and practices within CPD. We argue that the organizational plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit - Black Lives Matter Chicago, Blocks Together, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Justice for Families- Black Lives Matter Chicago, Network 49, Women’s All Point Bulletin and 411 Movement for Pierre Loury – are not only “appropriately positioned to meet Constitutional standing requirements,” but are also uniquely positioned to implement and enforce the relief they seek. National experiences have shown that meaningful and long-lasting reform of police abuse patterns and practices requires that the most-impacted communities be fully engaged in the reform process.  The community organizations that have stepped up in Chicago to serve as plaintiffs are prepared to serve in that role, and to give voice to these communities.