CPD defends 'stop-and-frisk' after ACLU study

Monday, March 23, 2015
ACLU challenges CPD stop, frisk policy
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Chicago police 'stop-and-frisk' more people than New York City officers, according to the ACLU, and most of those who are stopped are African-American.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police "stop-and-frisk" more people than New York City officers, according to the ACLU, and most of those who are stopped are African-American.

A year and a half ago, a federal judge ruled New York City's stop-and-frisk policy were often outside the scope of the law and discriminated against minorities. A reported released by the ACLU on Monday says the number of police stops in Chicago far outnumber those in New York.

When police officers make a stop, they must have a reasonable suspicion that subject committed or is about to commit a crime. From May to August of last summer, Chicago police officers made more than 250,000 stops that did not lead to arrests, according to the ACLU study. The ACLU argues many of those stops may have been illegal, and the practice of stop-and-frisk feeds racial profiling.

"We see from the data that the impact on the African-American community is grossly disproportionate to that community's population in our city," Harvey Grossman, ACLU, said. The ACLU also says that almost three-fourths of those stopped were African-American, though they make up about a third of the city's population.

"It seems like I'm just being racially profiled, if you ask me. That's what I think," Gerald LaMar Wilson said.

Wilson said he's never been arrested and has no criminal record. But he said he has been stopped numerous times by police who often tell him it was a matter of mistaken identity.

"You get stopped by a police who don't have a legitimate excuse for stopping you, you know, that frustrates you," Wilson said.

"Chicago does not record stops that lead to an arrest or a ticket. In cities like New York, this has proven very valuable," Karen Sheley, ACLU, said.

The Chicago Police Department has failed at stop-and-frisk record keeping, according to the ACLU, which also calls the supervising and training for proper stops inadequate.

"We do not stop people based on demographics of the population. We stop them based on crime data. That crime data comes from civilian complaints," Chicago Supt. Garry McCarthy said.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says the ACLU study is faulty. The CPD's own statistics show stops are not race-based and ongoing training has led to fewer complaints against officers.

"We are making less arrests. We're getting better results. We're stopping the right people at the right place at the right time for the right reasons," McCarthy said.

Both parties say the other is misreading numbers and comparing apples to oranges.

A key question is if the ACLU plans to file suit against the Chicago Police Department. The answer right now is no, but the question will continue to be evaluated.