A number of media reports in recent days have pointed to a dramatic reduction in the number of pedestrian stops by officers of the Chicago Police Department. A number of sources – some anonymous – point to the agreement between the City and the ACLU regarding street stops, requiring police to record and report additional information about such stops, as one reason for this decrease. In response to these reports, the ACLU of Illinois issued the following statement.

The following can be attributed to Karen Sheley, Senior Staff Counsel at the ACLU of Illinois:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is encouraged by reports that street stops have decreased as our agreement with the Chicago Police Department has been implemented. The external oversight provided by the agreement external oversight should reduce the number of unconstitutional and unnecessary stops. During the summer of 2014, Chicago police stopped (and likely frisked) more than 250,000 people across the City – mostly young men of color – who were never arrested, ticketed or charged with any criminal activity. These stops can be incredibly invasive, involving a public stop and search of one’s pockets and clothing. The regular stops and searches helped to foster a schism between the police and the community, a schism that will take a long time and many reforms in order to repair.

We reject the premise that there is a demonstrable relationship between Terry stops and crime reduction and any attempt to link the recent uptick in shootings with this reduction in stops. We believe that policing can be constitutional and bring safety to the neighborhoods of the City. That is a goal that each of us should share.

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