CHICAGO (CBS) — A young Chicago man might be deported next week because he says Chicago police call him a gang member.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports he is going to federal court to fight it.
25-year-old Luis Pedrote-Salinas has been in Chicago since he was five. His parents brought him here from Mexico.
“I put my sweat in this city, I put my sweat in this country. I believe I’m a law abiding citizen. I’ve never committed nothing wrong,” said Pedrote-Salinas.
But his attorneys contend Chicago Police falsely put Pedrote-Salinas in a gang database, after he was arrested at 19 for having an unopened can of beer in a Southwest Side gang territory.
“He’s got no way to challenge that designation. No way to get off of that database. His only option is this federal lawsuit,” said Shelia Bedi, Northwestern.
A lawsuit against the city of the Chicago and the police department. Because he has been labeled a gang member, Pedrote-Salinas is scheduled to be deported to Mexico next week – where his pastor fears he could be targeted by drug cartels under the wrong impression.
“If the thought is they’re deported because they’re gang members — because those deportations are taking place now — then they moved right to recruit them. If they don’t join they kill them,” said Rev. Coleman.
Pedrote-Salinas is adamant that he’s never been in a gang. However, when he was 16 he got an Aztec Warriot tattoo, similar to one worn by some gang members.
CBS: Did you know it might have represented a gang? Or did you just like the design?
“I just liked the design, yeah,” Pedrote-Salinas said.
Pedrote-Salinas’s pastor said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, himself, said he would have the young man’s name removed from the gang database, but never did it.
The police spokesman told CBS 2 as the department does not comment of any pending litigation.