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City Settles With Man Wrongly Placed In CPD Gang Database

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The City of Chicago settled a lawsuit with Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, whose false inclusion in the Chicago Police Department's "gang database" resulted in a chain of events that left him imprisoned and fighting deportation.

Catalan-Ramirez filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago as well as with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in May of this year, according to a press release from the MacArthur Justice Center and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. His home was raided by immigration agents in March as a result of being put on that list.

The suit alleged violations of unreasonable search and seizure, among other violations, the release said.

Now, he is in a federal detention center fighting to keep from being kicked out of the United States.

In the settlement, the lawyers say the City has agreed to modify Catalan-Ramirez's law enforcement records to make clear that he is not a gang member. The City will also write a letter to federal immigration officials in support of his visa application.

"The City of Chicago has cleared Wilmer's name, but the gang data base still exists and thousands of almost exclusively black and brown Chicagoans have been labeled as gang members without adequate due process," said Vanessa del Valle, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center. "Wilmer's story demonstrates the need for a comprehensive audit of the database to determine how many other people are falsely labeled and for CPD to cease this practice until it develops adequate due process protections."

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