Filed Date: Aug. 29, 2017
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On August 29, 2017, the State of Illinois filed this lawsuit against the City of Chicago in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003, and the Illinois Human Rights Act. The State brought this action on behalf of the people of Illinois to ensure that the City enacted comprehensive, lasting reform of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), and the Chicago Police Board (Police Board). It sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was assigned to Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. and Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert.
The State claimed that, through acts and omissions, the City and its agents maintained policies, customs, or practices of police officers that violated the Fourth Amendment. The complaint alleged that some of these policies, customs, or practices had a disparate impact on Black and Latino persons in violation of the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003 and the Illinois Human Rights Act. It further contended that these policies, customs, or practices were reflected in, and caused by, the City’s failure to effectively train, supervise, and support law enforcement officers, and the City’s failure to establish reliable programs to detect officer misconduct and administer effective discipline.
On August 31, 2017, two days after the lawsuit was filed, the parties filed a joint motion to stay proceedings in order to continue settlement negotiations. The parties stipulated that, if successful, the result of the negotiations would take the form of a consent decree. On September 5, 2017, the court granted the joint motion.
On June 6, 2018, the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No. 7 (FOP), Chicago’s police union, filed a motion to intervene in the action. The FOP argued that it had a substantial interest in the subject of the litigation, as the litigation could impair or impede the union’s ability to protect the collective bargaining interests of Chicago police officers. Both the State and the City opposed intervention.
Meanwhile, the parties engaged in extensive settlement negotiations from June through August of 2018 to draft the terms of a consent decree. On July 27, 2018, the State and the City released a draft consent decree for public review, inviting comments prior to submitting a proposed consent decree to the court. The parties received more than 1,700 comments and suggestions. The draft consent decree covered a broad range of topics, including:
The FOP opposed the draft consent decree, worried that certain provisions of the agreement interfered with statutory collective bargaining rights. However, on August 16, 2018, the court denied the FOP's motion to intervene as untimely, because the FOP had waited nearly a year to intervene. The court also noted that intervention would be prejudicial to the existing parties and that FOP’s concerns regarding the litigation’s impact on collective bargaining rights were only speculative. 2018 WL 3920816. The FOP appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which upheld the ruling on January 2, 2019. 912 F.3d 979.
On September 13, 2018, the State and the City reached an agreement on a final consent decree and filed a joint motion for the court's approval. The court set a public fairness hearing for the end of October 2018 and opened a written comment period which elicited dozens of written submissions from the public.
On October 12, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a statement of interest opposing the proposed consent decree. The DOJ argued that the consent decree would function like an earlier settlement agreement between CPD and the ACLU (November 2015). That agreement was intended to reduce stop-and-frisk abuses, but the DOJ argued that it had instead restrained Chicago police excessively, and had thus contributed to a rise in homicides and other violent crime from 2015 to 2016.
The DOJ cited four main problems with the consent decree:
The DOJ expressed concern that such consent decrees stripped local government officials of the flexibility required in addressing evolving law enforcement issues and deprived citizens of their ability to control policies through the democratic process. To this end, the DOJ expressed concern that the consent decree would be signed by an outgoing mayor who was not seeking reelection. In this statement of interest, the DOJ further announced that it would send five additional federal prosecutors to Chicago to establish a new Gun Crimes Prosecution Team.
The court held a fairness hearing on the proposed consent decree on October 24 and 25, 2018. After the fairness hearing, the court received and reviewed additional briefing from the parties and from the FOP, addressing the oral and written comments submitted in connection with the fairness hearing.
On January 31, 2019, the court approved and signed the proposed consent decree. 2019 WL 398703. Although the parties made some changes in response to comments from various entities, the consent decree largely covered the same areas of reform as the agreement originally proposed. Under the terms of the consent decree, the City would endeavor to achieve full and effective compliance within five years of the effective date (March 1, 2019). The agreement would terminate once the City had maintained compliance in each area of reform for a designated period of time:
On March 1, 2019, the court appointed Ms. Maggie Hickey to serve as independent monitor. On the same day, the FOP moved to amend the consent decree, arguing that it conflicted with established statutes and ordinances in a number of ways:
The motion asked the court to amend the consent decree to bar the use of non-state-certified COPA investigators in the investigation of officer-involved deaths, to prohibit the CPD from reviewing unflagged videos that had been stored for more than ninety days, to bar the use of anonymous complaints in non-criminal matters that did not involve residency allegations or medical roll abuse, and to require the City to reveal to officers the name of complainants prior to investigation of an officer.
On April 1, 2019, the court appointed the Honorable David H. Coar (ret.) to serve as a Special Master, with duties complementary to the independent monitor’s.
On January 7, 2020, the court denied a motion to intervene by the Second Vice President of the FOP. He had argued that despite the court’s earlier ruling against the FOP intervening, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s election had changed the city’s position in the litigation, and that his motion to intervene was therefore appropriate.
On June 5, 2020, the Monitor informed the court of her intention to publish a special report, “to promote transparency,” regarding the City’s and CPD’s response to protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May.
On January 13, 2021, a coalition of attorneys brought together by the MacArthur Justice Center (“The Coalition”) filed a motion to enforce the terms of the consent decree. In its complaint, the Coalition alleged yet another violation of a Black Chicago residents' rights. The motion stated that the CPD raided the home of a Black social worker with no criminal record, pointed guns at her, and handcuffed her. The motion stated that the CPD officers involved in the incident were in the wrong place, and it claimed that the CPD had violated the person's Fourth Amendment rights as well as the terms of consent decree. The Coalition requested that the court immediately convene a structured settlement process to remedy these actions. On September 27, 2021, the court struck without prejudice and with leave to refile the Coalition’s motion to enforce the consent decree because of the possibility of a negotiated resolution.
On February 11, 2022, the City filed an unopposed motion and memorandum in support of finding full and effective compliance of the consent decree with respect to the Office of Inspector General and Public Safety Inspector General. The court granted the City’s motion five days later.
On March 25, 2022, the parties presented the court with a motion to approve their stipulation that dictated the scope of the consent decree with respect to search warrants, timelines, and process in the event of full and effective compliance. That same day, the court approved the parties’ stipulation. The stipulation clarified that the consent decree’s mandate of non-discrimination applied to the Chicago PD’s search warrant procedure, extended the deadline for full and effective compliance from 2024 to 2027, and made more flexible some of the procedures associated with a finding of full and effective compliance.
On April 8, 2022, the City filed another unopposed motion, this time seeking a partial finding of full and effective compliance with the consent decree’s requirements as to the Police Board. The court granted the unopposed motion on May 9, 2022.
On August 10, 2022, the City filed a broader unopposed motion and memorandum in support for a partial finding of full and effective compliance of the consent decree, this time as it applied to the entire City. The court found the defendant to be in full and effective compliance on August 15, 2022, under 10 paragraphs of the consent decree: (44) officer interactions with students on school grounds, (142) telecommunicators receiving mental health and crisis intervention training, (143) training being at least an eight-hour course taught by qualified staff, (145) previous training fulfilling the training requirements, (170) police issuing a foot pursuit training bulletin, (257) informing officers of the role of the Office of the Inspector General in overseeing hiring and promotions, (537) all regular meeting by the Police Board that are open to public being attended by certain officials, (554) adopting a policy relating to the public release of video footage of weapons discharges and incidents involving death or serious bodily injury, (555) Police Board tracking and publishing aggregate data about its decisions, and (565) quarterly sharing of information regarding trends and data analysis of CPD.
The case was reassigned to Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer on October 11, 2022.
On June 27, 2023, the parties reached a tentative agreement to amend the consent decree and expand the City's obligations as they pertained to investigatory stops, pat downs, and the enforcement of the City's Loitering Ordinances. The amendments were in response to the City's termination of a separate agreement––that it negotiated with the ACLU in 2015––regarding Fourth Amendment violations. Some third parties, including the aforementioned Coalition and the ACLU, moved for a fairness hearing regarding the new agreement, which the court granted on August 1, 2023. These third parties argued that the parties' new agreement did not go far enough to remedy potential constitutional violations and thus was not fair or reasonable.
As of August 2023, this case is ongoing.
The Chicago Police Department maintains a Consent Decree Compliance Dashboard, documenting compliance with the Decree's various provisions.
Jake Parker (6/4/2018)
Eva Richardson (10/15/2018)
Averyn Lee (3/10/2019)
Gregory Marsh (7/10/2020)
Anjali Baliga (4/19/2021)
Jerry Lan (2/8/2023)
Matthew Feng (8/15/2023)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6144928/parties/state-of-illinois-v-city-of-chicago/
Arenz, Patrick M (Minnesota)
Bass Ehler, Karyn L. (Illinois)
Caplan, Gary Steven (Illinois)
Coar, David H. (Illinois)
Babbitt, Elizabeth Erin (Illinois)
Dow, Robert Michael Jr. (Illinois)
Kanne, Michael Stephen (Indiana)
See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6144928/state-of-illinois-v-city-of-chicago/
Last updated July 1, 2023, 3:13 a.m.
State / Territory: Illinois
Filing Date: Aug. 29, 2017
Case Ongoing: Yes
The State of Illinois, on behalf of the people of Illinois.
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Order Duration: 2019 - None
Content of Injunction:
Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions: