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Chicago Police 'Stop and Frisk' Policy to Undergo More Scrutiny

By Joe Ward | August 7, 2015 8:50am | Updated on August 7, 2015 8:54am
 Chicago police can be seen in this file photo.
Chicago police can be seen in this file photo.
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Creative Commons/Grendelkhan

CHICAGO — Stops of people made by Chicago police who suspect a crime may have been committed, often accompanied by pat downs or searches, will now be reviewed by an outside agency, the city announced Friday.

The new policy reflects negotiations with the American Civil Liberties Union, which called it a "landmark agreement" and said it would bring increased transparency and accountability for police actions.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said "this unprecedented agreement with the ACLU is a demonstration of CPD's commitment to fairness, respect [and] transparency."

The new policy come after an ACLU Illinois report released in March that argued that the police's "stop and frisk" policies were unlawful and unfairly targeted minority residents.

Along with the two annual independent reports on police stops, the department will also collect more data from the stops and increase officer training to ensure stops are lawful, the city said.

With this new agreement, reached after negotiations between the city, police and the ACLU, the civil rights group has said it will not sue the city over the findings of its report.

Harvey Grossman, the ACLU's legal director, said the agreement includes many of the recommended changes outlined in the group's March report.

"What we have done here is move past the litigation process and advanced directly to a collaborative process, to insure that stops on Chicago streets meet constitutional and legal standards," Grossman said in a statement ahead of a morning press conference.

The agreement calls for former federal judge Arlander Keys to issue twice-yearly public reports on the city's use of investigatory stops. Among other things, Keys will be using newly collected data to determine if individual stops met the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search.  The first public report is expected to be released next year.

Keys will have access to data that is being recorded for the first time, including:

• The name of the officer involved in stop. 

• The race and gender of person stopped.

• Whether a pat down was conducted

• Whether contraband was found.

McCarthy said he believes "policing in Chicago must be strictly based on crime data, patterns, statistics and community intelligence." The agreement "underscores our willingness to work side by side with everyone as we work toward our shared goal of keeping our neighborhoods safe," McCarthy said in a statement.

Officers will also undergo training to ensure the legality of stops and pat downs, the department said. Along with the training, the department will conduct regular audits to ensure the new policy is implemented.

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