Aldermen pushing to cut thousands of names from CPD's gang database

A list of nearly 200-thousand Chicago gang members could be getting a lot shorter.

Some aldermen want a major overhaul of CPD’s gang database. The changes could cut tens of thousands of names from the list.

A copy of the Chicago Police Department's gang database shows 195-thousand names collected over decades, documenting race, age, arrests and gang affiliation. But a growing number of critics are questioning its effectiveness and fairness.

"It's the wild, wild west. Pursuant to anybody, any cop, anywhere if he thinks you're a gangbanger you're on the list,” said Alderman Rick Munoz.

Munoz on Wednesday proposed an ordinance that would overhaul the police department's gang database, which is already the target of a class action federal lawsuit.

Critics say the database is unconstitutional, discriminatory, antiquated and full of errors, and they say it penalizes people for gang membership years earlier, even after they've turned their lives around.

"We want to regulate it. We want to give people an appeal process by which they can take their name off of it. We want to make sure it's not being shared with any agencies unless required by law,” Munoz said.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department says, "We are going to take a look and meet with the aldermen on it."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says negotiations will start soon.

"The police department itself is looking at fresh ways and the different types of reforms and changes,” Mayor Emanuel said.

Forty-seven of Chicago's 50 aldermen signed on to the proposed legislation, which now goes to the Public Safety Committee for discussion.