Chicago Police Brutality Lawyer
Unfortunately, police brutality is all too common in Chicago. Not only does police violence cause life-altering injuries and mental suffering, it can also have deadly consequences. If you or someone you know has been the victim of police brutality, an experienced Chicago police brutality lawyer at the Police Brutality Center can help you seek justice and fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Abuse inflicted by the police or other law enforcement officers can have a life-long impact on victims. Physical harm, humiliation, and even false statements all take their toll—both physically and emotionally.
If you believe you were the victim of police brutality or misconduct, you have rights. At the Police Brutality Center, we encourage victims and their families to contact our Chicago police brutality lawyers for help seeking justice.
Chicago Police Brutality Statistics
Unfortunately, hundreds of people are harmed by police brutality and misconduct in Chicago yearly. Consider these statistics from the University of Illinois Chicago:
Police brutality also imposes a financial burden on Chicago and its residents. According to a recent WTTW News analysis, Chicago taxpayers spent approximately $280 million to resolve police misconduct lawsuits from 2019 to 2023. That staggering amount reflects not just the scale of the issue but also the financial implications for the city and its residents.
History of Police Misconduct in Chicago
Police brutality has been an ongoing issue in Chicago for decades. The pattern of police misconduct, including excessive force, wrongful arrests, and systemic racial bias, has disproportionately impacted minorities and their communities.
Academic research has shown that Chicago police officers have a long history of harming and killing citizens dating back to the late 1800s, especially Black Chicagoans. This research found that Black residents accounted for a disproportionately high number of police killings in Chicago between 1910 and 1920.
Notable Police Misconduct Cases
Chicago’s history of police misconduct includes the following landmark cases:
In 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, leading to widespread protests and calls for reform. The officer was later found guilty of second-degree murder.
Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old woman, was shot and killed by off-duty Officer Dante Servin in 2012. Servin was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter, igniting public outrage over perceived injustices.
Perhaps one of the most egregious examples involves Jon Burge, a former Chicago Police Department detective implicated in using torture of over 100 suspects between the 1970s and the early 1990s to elicit confessions. Examples of the torture he inflicted on suspects included suffocation, electric shock, and burning.
Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was shot and killed during a 1969 police raid. While the police described it as a “shootout,” evidence later revealed Hampton was likely drugged and shot while sleeping, making this a disturbing case of extreme police violence.
These cases serve as a reminder of Chicago’s tragic history of police misconduct, highlighting the pressing need for reform and justice.
Police Misconduct Laws in Chicago
Several laws and regulations have been enacted to curb police brutality and misconduct in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The laws aim to help bring about accountability, transparency, and justice.
Illinois Uniform Police Officers' Disciplinary Act
This law outlines the procedures to file a complaint against police officers and the investigation that must occur. It also provides guidelines for disciplinary action against officers found guilty of misconduct.
Illinois Police and Community Relations Improvement Act
Use of Force Guidelines
The Chicago Police Department has guidelines that set forth the conditions under which officers can use force, including deadly force. The department’s directives are available for public review and align with federal guidelines.
Federal Civil Rights Act of 1871
Individuals deprived of their civil rights can sue the government under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, to seek damages.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Civil Rights Cases in Illinois?
If you wish to file a civil rights violation lawsuit in Illinois, you have two years from the incident date. You can lose the right to seek justice if you miss the deadline.
Chicago Police Brutality Lawyers
Due to the shocking number of civil rights cases coming out of Chicago, there are also many police brutality lawyers in the area. Some with notable experience include:
Anthony Romanucci has worked in Chicago for years, helping pursue justice for his clients. His most notable case was working as co-counsel with Ben Crump in the lawsuit George Floyd’s family filed against the City of Minneapolis after his murder. After his work on this trial, he was named the 2021 Person of the Year by “Chicago Lawyer” and featured in a Netflix series about police misconduct.
In the spring of 2020, protests erupted throughout Chicago after the police killing of George Floyd. A person known as “M” attended a protest where he was struck in the face with a police baton, breaking his nose. Gregory Kulis and his firm, Kulis Law, sued the City of Chicago and helped “M” recover a $50,000 judgment.
Why Work With a Police Brutality Lawyer?
A police brutality lawyer in Chicago can provide you with the skill, experience, and knowledge needed to level the playing field between you and a police department. Lawyers can help gather evidence, negotiate on your behalf, advocate for you in court, and help you seek the best possible outcome for your case.
At the Police Brutality Center, we understand the impact police misconduct and brutality have on victims and their families. We are ready to help you seek justice and hold the officers who hurt you accountable.
Filing a Civil Rights Claim in Chicago
If you believe your civil rights have been violated, our legal team is here to help. As we move forward, understanding the claims process can help you feel more in control and make it easier to navigate the process.
Initiating the Complaint Process
The first step is filing a complaint with the Chicago Police Department. According to the CPD’s official guidelines, you can submit your complaint via email, by calling a toll-free number, or in person. This initial complaint triggers an internal investigation of the officer or officers involved.
Engaging a Police Brutality Lawyer in Chicago
Civil rights laws are complex. A police brutality lawyer in Chicago can explain how relevant laws and rules apply to your case so that you understand your rights and options. They can also collect evidence, interview witnesses, help you meet important filing deadlines, communicate with the department on your behalf, and advocate for you at the negotiation table and, if necessary, in the courtroom.
Once a complaint is filed and an internal investigation is underway, you can file a civil rights lawsuit. This is distinct from the department complaint and seeks financial compensation for the misconduct you’ve experienced. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for filing such a claim is generally two years from the date of the incident.
Police Reform and Legislation in Chicago
The City of Chicago has taken steps to update the legislation regarding police misconduct and brutality in recent years.
The SAFE-T, or Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity – Today, Act is comprehensive legislation designed to reform various aspects of the criminal justice system. Some of the changes the Act instituted include requiring all officers to wear body cameras by 2025, establishing new limits on the use of force, banning chokeholds, and creating reporting requirements for deaths that occur in police custody and deaths caused by the use of force. It also introduced police accountability measures and ended cash bail.
The Independent Monitoring Report, or IMR-6, is part of the ongoing evaluation and oversight process that’s part of the police reform effort. This report evaluates the progress police departments make in implementing reforms and recommends further actions. For instance, IMR-6 might assess policies related to use-of-force, officer training, and community engagement and recommend changes to improve those policies.
Civilian Office of Police Accountability
Another significant step towards police reform in Chicago was the creation of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, which is responsible for investigating police misconduct.
COPA is an independent entity in Chicago that investigates allegations of police misconduct, including fatal shootings, excessive force, verbal abuse, and other offenses. The organization uses existing research and data analysis to find patterns of police misconduct. They use the information to identify patterns of misconduct issues and create policy recommendations to help reduce incidents of misconduct while improving the public’s trust in the police.
Understand Your Rights With Help From the Police Brutality Center
At the Police Brutality Center, we are ready to help victims seek justice. The first step is to contact us and get legal help. We are ready to advocate for you and protect your rights.