7/26 Chicago Urban League and NAACP Join Landmark Class Action Calling for Federal Court Oversight of Chicago Police Department
Chicago Urban League and NAACP Join Landmark Class Action Calling for Federal Court Oversight of Chicago Police Department
The Oldest Civil Rights Organizations in the Country join Diverse
Community-Based Groups in Lawsuit Against City of Chicago
Alleging a Pattern of Racially Discriminatory Policing and Brutality
Chicago – The NAACP and the Chicago Urban League have joined a landmark class action lawsuit seeking federal court intervention and community-driven oversight of Chicago Police Department (CPD) operations. The suit, Campbell v. City of Chicago, was filed on behalf of thousands of individuals, predominantly African Americans and Latins, who have been, or in the future will be, subjected to the CPD’s policy and practice of using force in racially discriminatory and brutal ways.
The NAACP and the Chicago Urban League are two of the nation’s oldest civil rights organizations. The NAACP’s mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. The Chicago Urban League has served for more than a century as a primary service and advocacy agency for bringing about social and economic justice to Chicago’s African American communities.
“The Chicago Police Department’s systemic abuse of the Black community is the most prominent civil rights crisis facing our country,” said Karl A. Brinson, President of the Chicago Westside Branch of the NAACP. “The City of Chicago has failed to stop CPD officers from abusing our communities for more than a century. Our community is overdue for real Justice. This litigation continues NAACP’s legacy of fighting against racial violence and blatant injustice in all its forms. We have been aggressively demanding federal intervention regarding police misconduct for the past few years. Therefore the NAACP is proud to partner in this fight.”
Filed last month, the lawsuit details the history of racist, violent policing in the City of Chicago and describes how the CPD – in the absence of federal court oversight – has proven that it is incapable of real change. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who in January signed an agreement with the Obama Justice Department to seek a federal court order overhauling CPD operations, recently announced that he would instead attempt to negotiate an out-of-court settlement agreement with U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Sessions.
According to Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, “Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has abdicated his responsibility to fix what’s broken with the Chicago Police Department and has rejected federal court oversight, which is the one solution that has been proven to end police abuses in other cities across the country. The Chicago Urban League has joined in this historic litigation in order to hold Mayor Emmanuel and the CPD accountable to promises of ending police abuse.”
In the weeks since the suit was filed, the public call for a federal court oversight in the form of a consent decree has continued to grow. In addition to community members, community-based organizations, and faith leaders, prominent officials, such as former U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon, former Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the Department of Justice, Vanita Gupta, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, the City’s Aldermanic Progressive Caucus and even the Inspector General for the City of Chicago have strongly argued for the need for a consent decree. Major news outlets, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Boards have also repeatedly emphasized the need for federal court oversight.
“The organizations that have come together in this lawsuit represent diverse perspectives and constituencies that are united in the recognition that CPD—on its own - cannot and will not end the pattern and practice of civil rights violations in Chicago,” said Sheila Bedi of the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, co-lead counsel for the Plaintiff class. “This powerful collaboration, between organizations with both strong local roots and national recognition, sends a clear message that Chicago’s communities will settle for nothing less than federal court intervention and community oversight of the CPD.”
A copy of the lawsuit is available on the MacArthur Justice Center’s website http://www.macarthurjusticecenter.org/news/11481
About the Chicago Urban League
Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. For more information, visit www.thechicagourbanleague.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
About the NAACP
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our Economic Opportunity “Game Changer” issue by visiting http://www.naacp.org/issues/economic-opportunity/.