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Rights groups sue Chicago seeking police reform

[JURIST] Six individuals joined with several civil rights groups, including Black Lives Matter Chicago [advocacy website], to file a federal lawsuit against Chicago, accusing the city police force of racial discrimination against African Americans and Latinos. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking [complaint, PDF] "a city-wide, class action injunction prohibiting the abusive policies and practices undergirding the alleged constitutional and state law violations alleged herein." The alleged violations include, among others, a system of racial discrimination within the police force, disproportionate force against African Americans and Latinos, "hand-to-hand violence," and harassment of African American and Latino minors. The plaintiffs want [Chicago Tribune report] judicial monitoring of police department reforms, as recommended by the Obama administration. The lawsuit comes after Mayor Rahm Emanuel [official profile] sidestepped his earlier promise to have a judge monitor police reforms. Emanuel maintains that he is still committed to reforming the police department.

The transition from the Obama to Trump administrations has brought changes in how the Department of Justice views police reform. In May Jeff Sessions, the attorney general appointed by Trump, ordered [JURIST report] a review of police reform activities. In March Sessions gave [JURIST report] his support for local law enforcement agencies against government lawsuits. In January Baltimore reached [JURIST report] an agreement with the DOJ on police reform after a finding [JURIST reports] in August by the DOJ that the police force had violated First and Fourth Amendment rights. In November Cleveland submitted [JURIST report] a revised use-of-force policy to a federal judge after a 2014 DOJ investigation found[JURIST report] the department was using excessive force.

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