CHICAGO, April 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Personal injury law firm, Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, today announced the filing of a class action civil lawsuit against the City of Chicago for the practice and policy of unconstitutional stops and frisks by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) of City of Chicago residents, including plaintiffs. According to the lawsuit, this practice is being done without reasonable suspicion required under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Instead, the CPD employs race and/or national origin as determinative factors in deciding to stop and frisk individuals, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. All victims and plaintiffs represented in the complaint are African-American males who seek immediate injunctive and declaratory relief of these unconstitutional stop and frisk practices.
The complaint asserts that the CPD's widespread constitutional abuses have flourished as a result of, and are directly caused by, policies and practices devised, implemented, and enforced by the City. These entities have: (a) failed to properly screen, train, and supervise CPD officers, (b) inadequately monitored CPD officers and their stop and frisk practices, (c) failed to sufficiently discipline CPD officers who engage in constitutional abuses, and (d) encouraged, sanctioned and failed to rectify the CPD's unconstitutional practices.
This class action lawsuit to stop the pervasive practice of unconstitutional stop and frisks in the City of Chicago follows a landmark federal class action lawsuit filed in 2008 against the City of New York and NYPD (Floyd, et al. v. City of New York). In August 2013, a federal judge found the NYPD liable for a pattern and practice of racial profiling and unconstitutional stops and frisks.
"We are hopeful that the complaint we've filed on behalf of racial minority residents of Chicago will resonate with the City of Chicago's and the CPD's leadership," said Antonio M. Romanucci, lead attorney for Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. "We strongly encourage the CPD to seriously consider the recommendations of the Illinois ACLU to institute policy changes to discourage the unlawful use of stop and frisk against its citizens. Given the severity of the ACLU's findings in its latest report, these recommendations for policy change should be court supervised."
Based on information made publicly available by the CPD, and recently publicized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois, hundreds of thousands of people are stopped or stopped and frisked each year by the CPD without reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal conduct. In their March 2015 report investigating the CPD's stop and frisk practices, the ACLU of Illinois found:
- In 2012 and 2013, half of the written and recorded 250 stops in the CPD's records did not provide legally sufficient reasons to establish reasonable suspicions for stop and frisk.
- During a four-month period of May through August 2014, African-American Chicagoans were subjected to 72 percent of all stops (though this demographic constitutes just 32 percent of the city's population).
- From May through August 2014, more than 250,000 stops--primarily of African-Americans--did not lead to an arrest; Chicagoans were stopped at a substantially higher rate than New Yorkers in 2011, which was the peak of NYC's stop and frisk regime.
- In 2014, there were 93.6 stops in Chicago per 1000 people (between May-August 2014). By contrast, in 2011, at the height of New York City's stop and frisk practice, there were 22.9 stops per 1,000 people.
The ACLU report also identified a historical pattern of the CPD's stop and frisk practice during Terry stops (a brief detention of a person by police on reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity but short of probable cause to arrest). According to the report, in the early 1980s, more than 100,000 residents were stopped and frisked and arrested. However, these cases almost never resulted in convictions due to arresting officers not attending court hearings to defend arrests. In the 1990s, a 'gang loitering ordinance' led to more than 40,000 stops and frisks and arrests during an 18-month period. An ACLU lawsuit filed on behalf of Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis in the early 2000s, after being subjected to an unwarranted stop and frisk conducted by the CPD, resulted in official policy changes by the CPD. However, these changes have proven futile or insufficient in stopping the practice of unlawful stops and frisks of minorities protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The plaintiffs seek judgments against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department (CPD), in addition to an immediate injunction of stop and frisk practices or a consent decree mandating policy change. The lawsuit is class action No: 1:15-cv-03467.
About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC:
Romanucci & Blandin has been rated as a leading civil trial practice law firm in Chicago concentrating in personal injury and police misconduct. The attorneys at the Chicago law firm represent individuals and their families in catastrophic personal injury matters, wrongful death and workers' compensation cases. The cases that are referred to Romanucci & Blandin involve accidents or injuries which occurred due to negligence and carelessness on the part of individuals, governmental bodies and corporations of all sizes. Since its inception more than 16 years ago, Romanucci & Blandin has secured more than $300 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients. For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000.
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