CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - In the wake of Mayor Rahm Emanuel backing off his pledge that the federal courts oversee reforms to the embattled Chicago Police Department, members of the group Black Lives Matter Chicago and other organizations have filed a lawsuit seeking federal court oversight over the embattled Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
“For years and continuing to this day, the City of Chicago has employed a pattern and practice of excessive force that adversely affects all people in Chicago, but that disproportionately and intentionally targets Black and Latino individuals,” the lawsuit filed on Wednesday morning states. “It is clear that federal court intervention is essential to end the historical and on-going pattern and practice of excessive force by police officers in Chicago.”
By alleging a “pattern and practice” of such behavior, the lawsuit seeks establish that the department’s discrimination is systemic, and not just a matter of separate incidents limited to specific individuals.
The lawsuit comes amid a chorus of people calling for a federal judge to oversee reforms sparked by a Justice Department review of the police department under former President Barack Obama’s administration. They include members of the ACLU and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the city of Chicago and 15 individual police officers. Besides Black Lives Matter, the plaintiffs include the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and the 411 Movement for Pierre Loury.
Loury was 16 when he was shot and killed by Chicago Police last year. His mother has filed a lawsuit over his death, identifying the two officers she said were involved, but they are not among the defendants in the lawsuit.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has refused to publicly respond to pressure from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to honor his January promise to agree to court oversight over the embattled Chicago Police Department.
“The city has a decades-long history of failing to address systemic problems that have plagued CPD. Without enforcement by the federal courts, I just fear that the story will be the same again this time,” Madigan told the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday.
The plaintiffs want the court to issue a “city-wide, class action injunction” to stop what it called the department’s unconstitutional and abusive policies, which include “the CPD’s use of excessive force and physical harassment targeting youth of color” and the department’s “reliance upon overly aggressive tactics that lead to unnecessary escalation and excessive force.”