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Case Name Chicagoans for an End to the Gang Database v. Chicago PN-IL-0027
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-04242 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization MacArthur Justice Center
Case Summary
This case is about Chicago's Gang Database and its constitutionality given Chicago Police Department's unlimited discretion to add names to the database without consistent guidelines or approval requirements.

On June 19, 2018, a coalition of four individuals and community organizations ... read more >
This case is about Chicago's Gang Database and its constitutionality given Chicago Police Department's unlimited discretion to add names to the database without consistent guidelines or approval requirements.

On June 19, 2018, a coalition of four individuals and community organizations filed a federal class action lawsuit against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) alleging that the city’s Gang Database is unconstitutional and seeking injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The four individual plaintiffs, three Black and one Latino, were falsely identified as gang members and placed in the database. The putative class consisted of all individuals included in the database and within that class a subclass of all Black and Latino individuals in the database. As of the date that the complaint was filed, the database included around 128,000 adults, 95% of whom were Black or Latino.

CPD officers had unlimited discretion to designate someone as a gang member; this discretion was often wielded disproportionately against Black and Latino individuals. Individuals also lack the ability to challenge the gang member designation or be removed. This created the potential for lifelong false designations as a gang member, which could have serious repercussions, especially because CPD shares this information with third party agencies. CPD also relied on the Database in its work, which could lead to false arrests and imprisonment of individuals on the Database. The complaint alleged that the city’s Gang Database and its usage violated individuals’ rights to due process, the Equal Protection Clause, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unlawful search and seizure, and Illinois state law. The case was assigned to Judge Andrea Wood.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on September 14, 2018. The plaintiffs withdrew their motion for class certification on November 19, 2018, with leave to refile upon the conclusion of class discovery.

In light of a number of developments outside of court, namely the Chicago Office of the Inspector General's audit of the Gang Database and CPD's responding new policy draft, the parties jointly filed a motion to stay to evaluate these developments and determine how CPD's anticipated new policy would affect the litigation. The court granted the motion on April 23, 2019. After the duration of the stay, the parties agreed to a several additional extensions of the timeline. The case was also pushed back several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On August 20, 2020, the parties reported to the court that they had reached an agreement to resolve the case. The individual plaintiffs voluntarily withdrew their complaint on September 2, 2020, and the organizational plaintiffs also voluntarily withdrew on September 4. The primary initiative that seems to have motivated the case's resolution is the Criminal Enterprise Information System (CEIS), which would be the new tool by which CPD vets, maintains, and utilizes criminal enterprise and street gang membership information. In addition to the implementation of CEIS, the old gang database would be unavailable, there would be disclaimers to those accessing CEIS regarding potential inaccuracies and appropriate uses of the information, and user agreements for those assessing CEIS prohibiting disclosing the information to other agencies. Furthermore, CEIS would be subject to an annual review.

The notice of initiatives filed by the City of Chicago expressed that the document was not a settlement agreement and did not create binding obligations. In their voluntary withdrawal, the plaintiffs clarified that they did not endorse the initiatives, but rather a choice to terminate the litigation in order to "focus their efforts on the ultimate relief they seek—a complete abolition of CPD’s gang database." The organizational plaintiffs asserted that they maintained their rights to and would not hesitate to file another lawsuit if CPD continued to designate people as gang members in a discriminatory and unconstitutional manner.

As such, on September 10, 2020, Judge Wood dismissed the case without prejudice to the organizational plaintiffs and with prejudice to the individuals. Each party was ordered to bear its own fees and costs.

The case is closed.

Rachel Kreager - 02/09/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
False arrest
Pattern or Practice
Racial profiling
Search policies
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Chicago Police Department
City of Chicago
Plaintiff Description Four individual adult men, three Black and one Latino, and several community organizations.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations MacArthur Justice Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Settlement-like initiatives unprompted by the litigation
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 06/19/2018
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Chicagoans for an End to the Gang Database v. City of Chicago
https://www.macarthurjustice.org/case/chicagoans-for-an-end-to-the-gang-database/
Date: Sep. 3, 2020
By: Vanessa del Valle (MacArthur Justice Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
N.D. Ill.
09/25/2020
1:18-cv-04242
PN-IL-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
N.D. Ill.
06/19/2018
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-IL-0027-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
04/17/2019
Joint Motion to Stay Litigation [ECF# 55]
PN-IL-0027-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
08/31/2020
Notice of Initiatives Associated with Criminal Enterprise Information System [ECF# 83]
PN-IL-0027-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ill.
09/02/2020
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of Organizational Plaintiffs' Claims [ECF# 84]
PN-IL-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Wood, Andrea Robin (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bedi, Sheila A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0001 | PN-IL-0027-0002 | PN-IL-0027-0003 | PN-IL-0027-9000
Bergin, Chris J (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0002 | PN-IL-0027-9000
del Valle, Vanessa (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0001 | PN-IL-0027-0002 | PN-IL-0027-0003 | PN-IL-0027-9000
Haywood, Tia L (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0002 | PN-IL-0027-9000
Homsy, Elizabeth Abouchar (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0002 | PN-IL-0027-9000
Mogul, Joey L. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0002
Shiller, Brendan (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0002 | PN-IL-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Flessner, Mark A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0004
Kennedy, Tara D (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0003 | PN-IL-0027-9000
Rosen, Jordan Alexander (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0003 | PN-IL-0027-0004 | PN-IL-0027-9000
Siskel, Edward N. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0003
Worseck, Andrew W (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0027-0003 | PN-IL-0027-0004 | PN-IL-0027-9000

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