CHICAGO, IL – A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois alleges the Chicago’s deployment of police officers results in slower response times to 911 calls in primarily black and Hispanic neighborhoods than largely white communities.
The suit is based on recent news reports that found minority neighborhoods had disproportionately fewer officers than white districts as measured by response times to emergency calls and rates of serious violent crime.
The ACLU said its own efforts to gather such data have been stonewalled by city officials.
The Central Austin Neighborhood Association in Chicago’s crime-plagued West Side also joined in the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Ron Reid, who represents the group, said he and his wife live less than two blocks from the Austin District station, but the closeness of the station doesn’t mean nearby residents obtain swift police service. The area around Reid’s home is riddled with drug activity, gun violence and prostitution, he said.
“Over the past several years I have personally and repeatedly dialed 911 to report illegal activity outside our home, on our block and in our community,” Reid said at a news conference Thursday morning at the ACLU headquarters at 180 N. Michigan Ave. “Time and again, we call the police and they rarely respond.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended the city’s deployment of officers and said more moves could happen.
“We’ve put more officers in those districts where there’s high crime and higher crime. I’m not done, nor is (police Superintendent Garry McCarthy) . . . in looking to see if we need to put more officers where we have the crime problem,” Emanuel told reporters.
“I understand that they brought the lawsuit, but we’re ahead of where we were on May 15,” Emanuel said in reference to when he took office. “We’re not done applying our resources.”
“It’s not just manpower alone,” said Emanuel, citing the earlier curfew for younger children and higher fines for illegal firearm possession.
“Now we have applied more resources to the areas that need them and we’re not done. and we constantly take a fresh look and it’s not static,” Emanuel said. “If it were static, I would have been stuck with the system we had on May 15. I didn’t accept the way police officers were distributed.”
From The Chicago Tribune.