In August of 2015 the ACLU of Illinois and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) reached a landmark agreement to reform the practice of investigatory street stops known as “stop and frisks.” The CPD and the City agreed to take steps designed to ensure and confirm that CPD policies and practices comply with the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Illinois Civil Rights Act, which requires that government policies do not have a racially disparate impact.
The agreement is overseen by former Federal Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys, who is empowered to hire experts in police practices and statistics. The agreement requires an independent evaluation of CPD practices and procedures, data collection by the CPD, and additional training for officers. Reports on data collected from stops and frisks will be regularly reviewed and audited by CPD headquarters to ensure that training is effective. On a monthly basis, the CPD will also release all of its data on stop and frisks to the ACLU and Judge Keys. Judge Keys, with the assistance of his experts, will publish public reports twice a year to assess CPD’s compliance with the agreement. Further information can be found here.
The agreement is a result of the ACLU of Illinois’ groundbreaking report, Stop and Frisk in Chicago. The report found that the CPD conducted a shocking number of stops: in the summer of 2014 there were more than 250,000 that did not lead to an arrest. Those stops were disproportionately concentrated in the black community. Black Chicagoans were subjected to 72% of all stops, yet they constitute just 32% of the city’s population. And although officers were required to write down the reason for stops, in nearly half of the stops we reviewed, officers either gave an unlawful reason for the stop or failed to provide enough information to justify it.
In addition to the settlement agreement, in May 2015, the General Assembly passed a bill mandating state-wide data collection for stops that result in a frisk or arrest. This bill also requires officers to issue receipts if they search a person during a street stop.
If you believe you have been stopped or frisked in an unlawful manner, please share your story with us.
Chicago Stop and Frisk Timeline
The CPD made two changes in its stop and frisk policy beginning January 1, 2016. Here’s what you need to know:
The CPD has begun recording every stop and frisk encounter, including those that result in an arrest. Previously, data was collected only on stops that did not result in an arrest, making it difficult to assess the practice and its impact on people of color. The CPD will collect information about the officer who conducted the stop; the race and gender of the person stopped; all reasons for the stop; the location, date and time of the stop; whether a pat down or other search was conducted; whether contraband was found; and the outcome of the stop.
Police officers have begun issuing receipts for all stop and frisk encounters. This receipt should state the officer’s name, the time and place, and the reason for the stop. Receipts will help facilitate any civilian complaints regarding the encounter. If you have been stopped and/or frisked in Chicago and were not issued a receipt, please contact us.
Judge Keys, with the support of the City, the CPD and the ACLU, retained experts in police practices and statistics. Merrick Bobb and Matthew Barge of the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC) have been selected to provide expert assistance in police practices. Mr. Bobb is the court-appointed monitor in a consent decree between the Department of Justice and the City of Seattle. Part of his responsibility is to review the Seattle Police Department’s policies and practices regarding the use of stop and frisk. Mr. Barge is the federal court-appointed monitor to oversee implementation of a consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Cleveland.
Ralph B. Taylor is a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University. He also has experience as an expert witness for the City of Philadelphia in Bailey v. Philadelphia. In that case, the ACLU and others challenged the City’s stop and frisk program on both Fourth Amendment and Equal Protection grounds. That case has since been settled, and he continues to work for the City in the monitoring phase to provide a statistical assessment of the City’s use of stop and frisk. In addition, he served as an expert for the ACLU in Melendres, et al. v. Arpaio, a challenge to racial profiling in Maricopa County, AZ.
August 12, 2015
Governor Rauner signed the Police and Community Relations Improvement Act into law. This law requires statewide data collection for stops that result in frisks or arrests. Police officers will also be required to issue receipts to people they search during a stop.
In addition to adding regulations for stop and frisk, the bill sets standards for officer-worn body cameras. It also requires statewide training on topics including arrest and control tactics; search and seizure; cultural competency; implicit bias and racial/ethnic sensitivity; recognition of mental conditions including addiction; and interview techniques for victims of trauma such as rape.
August 7, 2015
The ACLU of Illinois and the CPD reached an agreement to include an independent evaluation of CPD practices and procedures, additional data collection by the CPD, heightened training for officers, and increased transparency. Former Federal Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys was appointed as an independent consultant to report to the public twice annually on stops and searches by the CPD.
- Read more about the agreement in our press release.
- View a side-by-side analysis (PDF) of changes in CPD policy before and after the settlement and Senate bill.
May 30, 2015
The Police and Community Relations Improvement Act passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly.
This act requires data collection on stops that result in a frisk or arrest. It also requires that officers issue a receipt to people whom they frisk.
The ACLU of Illinois issued its groundbreaking report, Stop and Frisk in Chicago. The report found that the CPD conducted a shocking number of stops: in the summer of 2014 there were more than 250,000 that did not lead to an arrest. Those stops were disproportionately concentrated in the black community. Black Chicagoans were subjected to 72% of all stops, yet constitute just 32% of the city’s population. And although officers were required to write down the reason for stops, in nearly half of the stops we reviewed, officers either gave an unlawful reason for the stop or failed to provide enough information to justify it.
In response to ACLU advocacy, the Chicago Police Department revised its order on data collection of stops to exclude voluntary non-criminal interactions. This change allowed the ACLU and the public to make FOIA requests about the stops and analyze them.