The Chicago Police Department (CPD) announced Friday that it had reached an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the manner its officers will be allowed to perform the controversial stop and frisks on civilians.
The agreement will result in the CPD monitoring all street search and frisks performed throughout the city; until now, the only ones registered were the ones which lead to an arrest. The data will then be communicated to the ACLU, where a commonly appointed independent consultant will analyze how police officers conduct search and frisk operations and offer policy change recommendations if necessary.
The deal will go into effect immediately, and is aimed at solving a problem pointed out by many civil rights groups – the fact that street searches are mainly directed against black residents. An ACLU March report showed that 72 per cent of street stops and frisks targeted black Chicagoans, who are just about a third of the city’s population. The study also showed that Chicago police officers conducted a big part of their street searches in predominantly African American neighborhoods.
The Chicago Police Department also agreed to conduct specialized training and take all necessary measures to ensure that racial profiling will not influence judgment when it comes to officers deciding when to stop-and-frisk. Under the agreement, former Illinois District judge Arlander Keys has been named as the above-described consultant and will issue bi-annual reports about the state of civil frisking.
Chicago police officers will now also be required to fill out a certain form any time that they choose to stop a civilian for investigatory reasons. These will specify whether the individual was frisked, what possible incriminatory evidence was found and if any actions was taken against him or not. Officers will also need to state the reason for which they stopped the civilian, and if applicable a reason for him being frisked; the form will require the officer’s name and badge, and also the race and gender of the individual being stopped. All of this is compulsory and officers who do not comply can be reported by the targeted person.
The CPD is currently facing a lawsuit for racially targeting stop-and-frisk operations, as six black Chicago residents have accused officers of committing constitutional abuses, using excessive force and illegally searching them without offering a reason. An older ACLU report states that over 250,000 stop-and-frisk operations leading to no arrests were performed only between May and August 2014.
Image Source: upi.com