Chicago Law Firm Files Federal Lawsuit Over Stop-and-Frisk Policy

A Chicago law firm filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the City of Chicago regarding the Chicago Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy.

Six African-American men from Chicago's South and West Sides, represented by attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, seek to sue the city, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and 14 Chicago police officers, who have not been named.

The lawsuit alleges that the police department stopped these men without reasonable suspicion, leading to "constitutional abuses." The men's attorneys claim these abuses are a direct result of police policies regarding stop-and-frisk. 

"We are hopeful that the complaint we've filed on behalf of racial minority residents of Chicago will resonate with the City of Chicago's and the CPD's leadership," said Antonio M. Romanucci, the lead attorney for Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. "We strongly encourage the CPD to seriously consider the recommendations of the Illinois ACLU to institute policy changes to discourage the unlawful use of stop and frisk against its citizens."

The plaintiffs' attorneys cite findings by the ACLU in their argument against stop-and-frisk. Among the findings were statistics stating that half of the written and recorded 250 stops in the police department's records did not provide legally sufficient reasons to stop the plaintiffs on account of suspicion.

According to the lawsuit, two of the plaintiffs, Darnell Smith and Darren Nathan, were visiting neighbors in the 6000 block of South Paulina Street in May 2013 when two police officers approached them and asked if they were armed. When the men replied that they were not armed, the officers allegedly ordered Nathan to put his arms up and subsequently searched both men's pockets.

The police department has defended these actions in the past, claiming the stops were made based on crime data, not racial profiling.

Officials from the city's law department say they are reviewing the suit and are unable to comment at this time.

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