In August of 2015, shortly after the ACLU released a groundbreaking report, 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 City agreed to take steps to ensure 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 and requires ongoing independent evaluation of CPD practices and procedures, data collection by the CPD, and additional training for officers.  The CPD has also been regularly making its ISR data public on this data portal. Judge Keys, with the assistance of experts, publis­hes regular public reports to assess CPD’s compliance with the agreement. The reports to date are below:

WHAT IS STOP AND FRISK?

“Stop and frisk” is when police temporarily detain and question a pedestrian (stop) and pat down the outside of their clothing to assess whether they are carrying weapons (frisk). The Fourth Amendment requires that before stopping the suspect, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed by the person. This is also called a Terry Stop, after the case Terry v. Ohio (1968). In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a stop-and-frisk must comply with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, meaning that it cannot be unreasonable. Under Terry, a reasonable stop-and-frisk is one "in which a reasonably prudent officer is warranted in the circumstances of a given case in believing that his safety or that of others is endangered, he may make a reasonable search for weapons of the person believed by him to be armed and dangerous."

Read more about knowing your rights when engaging with law enforcement

HOW IS STOP AND FRISK HARMFUL?

Courts have found that some police departments’ stop-and-frisk practices can be unconstitutional, specifically, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Many courts (including in New York City) have found the practice also violates the Fourteenth Amendment's promise of equal protection, as Black and Latino people are subject to stops and searches at a higher rate than whites. Studies (including in Chicago) suggest that stop-and-frisk does not effectively reduce crime where it is used. Studies have also shown that the majority of citizens of color view the practice as discriminatory and dehumanizing, leading to the erosion of trust between police and the communities of color they serve.

WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN DONE ABOUT STOP & FRISK IN ILLINOIS?

In May 2015, the Illinois 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.

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?

If you believe you have been stopped or frisked in an unlawful manner, please share your story with us.

 

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