ACLU sues Chicago police for disability and race violations
ACLU sues Chicago police for disability and race violations

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU-IL) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [press release] Wednesday accusing the Chicago Police Department (CPD) [official site] of widespread abuses against people with disabilities and ethnic minorities.

Thesuit [complaint, PDF] follows the release of the US Department of Justice [official website] report [JURIST report], which found that the CPD repeatedly violates the rights of the disabled in addition to systemic abuses against people of color.

The ACLU-IL, along with other activist groups, filed the lawsuit because they say there have not been any substantial changes [JURIST report] such as training programs.

The City also has failed to train CPD officers on how to serve and protect individuals with disabilities. Symptoms of mental illness, deafness, and intellectual and developmental disabilities may be demonstrated in behavior that appears non-cooperative, or even criminal, and inadequately trained CPD officers often fail to recognize these symptoms and unnecessarily escalate situations. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act requires law enforcement to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities when needed during their encounters with police, the City has failed to provide its officers with necessary training and
guidance on how, when, and where to do so.

The complaint states that minorities with disabilities face compounded risk when interacting with law enforcement due to the lack of training. As such the suit is also seeking injunctive relief to force the city to implement the recommendations from the DOJ report.