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Lawsuit Seeks To End Police Stop And Frisk Tactics In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A group of six black men has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, and 14 unnamed police officers, alleging so-called "stop and frisk" procedures are unconstitutional.

Rev. Paul Jakes, a politically active minister, said African Americans in some neighborhoods suffer mistreatment similar to apartheid-era South Africa; as they are stopped and checked for papers, even if they are doing nothing wrong.

Civil rights attorney Anthony Romanucci has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of six black men -- Darnell Smith, Darren Nathan, Gregory Davis, Jeff Coleman, Phillip Overton, and Marque Ross -- challenging the Police Department's use of "stop and frisk" tactics. The men claim they were stopped and frisked without any probable cause, or reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed.

The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of anyone who has been the subject of stop and frisk tactics. The complaint names the city, McCarthy, and 14 "John Doe" police officers as defendants; and seeks unspecified monetary damages, and an injunction barring police from continuing the policy.

Romanucci said there were 250,000 such stops made in just one four-month period in Chicago.

"This stop and frisk policy was borne out of policing that is not correct. It's unconstitutional, it's illegal, and it's improper. Other cities across this country have brought similar lawsuits, and have had good results," he said.


According to Romanucci, better guidelines have been established as a result of other lawsuits against stop and frisk tactics.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union published a study that found Chicago police are among the nation's leaders in the use of the controversial policy. According to the ACLU, Chicago police made 250,000 stops that did not lead to an arrest last from May to August last year – more than four times the number in New York during the height of its use of the stops, during the same four months in 2011.

The ACLU said African-Americans have been singled out for such searches, and the justification for such stops often fails to meet constitutional standards.

African-Americans accounted for approximately 72 percent of those stopped, while the city's population is only 32 percent black, according to the ACLU report. Hispanics and whites made up 17 percent and 9 percent of the stops, respectively, while they make up 29 percent and 32 percent of the population, respectively.

The study concluded police were far more likely to stop and frisk people in predominantly black neighborhoods. Even in white neighborhoods, blacks were far more likely to be targeted, the ACLU said.

A spokesperson for the city says the lawsuit is being reviewed and they have no comment for now.

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