The Chicago Police Department has agreed to evaluations that could make its stop-and-frisk procedures more transparent. Critics of stop-and-frisk, including the American Civil Liberties Union, say that it unfairly targets African-Americans. The city agreement with the ACLU comes months after a scathing report last spring that said that Chicago police officers are among the nation’s leaders of the tactic. According to the Associated Press:
Under the agreement, former U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys will provide public reports twice a year on Chicago police investigatory stops and pat downs, looking at whether the city is meeting its legal requirements. It goes into effect immediately.
The ACLU report identified more than 250,000 Chicago stop-and-frisk encounters in which there were no arrests from May through August 2014. African-Americans accounted for nearly three-quarters of those stopped, even though they make up about a third of the city’s population.
One year after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Black Lives Matter organizers continue to bring attention to the unfair treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement throughout the country and demand reform among policymakers and communities. Chicago is no stranger to police brutality cases. This spring, the City of Chicago made history when it became the first U.S. city to offer reparations for victims of police brutality.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is no stranger to stop-and-frisk. According to the AP:
He worked at two police departments that came under fire for their use of the tactic — the New York City Police Department, where McCarthy was once a high-ranking member and Newark, New Jersey, which he headed before coming to Chicago. In New York, a monitor is overseeing changes to the stop-and-frisk policy after a federal judge ruled that the tactic sometimes discriminated against minorities. Last August, the city dropped its appeals of the decision after a new mayor [Bill de Blasio] took over who was elected, in part, on an anti-stop-and-frisk campaign.
The ACLU and the Chicago Police Department came to this agreement after months of negotiations aimed at avoiding costly litigation. “This unprecedented agreement with the ACLU is a demonstration of CPD’s commitment to fairness, respect, transparency,” McCarthy said.
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.