The ACLU of Illinois filed a lawsuit in October 2011 to challenge what had long been known across the City of Chicago – namely, that Chicago officials have failed to ensure that police are deployed equitably across the City’s many diverse neighborhoods, resulting in delayed police responses to emergency calls in neighborhoods with higher minority populations. Neighborhoods with significant ethnic minority populations in Chicago are more likely to have slower response rates to emergency calls and higher rates of serious violent crimes, as compared to predominately white neighborhoods. Overall, in July 2013, residents in minority districts waited approximately twice as long for an officer to be dispatched to calls where life or property were in danger. The lawsuit is brought under the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003 which prohibits government practices that have a racially disparate impact. ACLU was a primary drafter of this law.

The City moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that the case raised a “political question” and therefore could not go forward. In October 2012, the court issued a decision granting the City’s motion to dismiss on the basis that the complaint poses a non-justiciable political question. We appealed the trial court’s dismissal and in November 2013, the appellate court reversed the dismissal and returned the case to the trial court. We are now conducting discovery and preparing the case for trial.


Eric Mattson (Sidley Austin LLP)

Date filed

October 27, 2011


Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division


Honorable Neil H. Cohen



Case number

11 CH 37299