ACLU Files Lawsuit Asking Federal Courts To Oversee Reform Of CPD

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new lawsuit seeks to have a federal judge oversee reform of the Chicago Police Department, especially as it relates to the use of force.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and community groups, which advocate for those with disabilities, are behind the federal lawsuit.

“An estimated one-third to one-half of the people who were killed by police have a disability,” said Karen Sheley, Director, Police Practices Project at ACLU of Illinois.

Sheley said people of color and people with developmental disabilities know far too well that Chicago Police use force more often than necessary.

“In one example, a police officer used a taser against an unarmed, naked 65-year-old woman with bipolar disorder. That is unacceptable,” Sheley said.

Barry Taylor, with Equipped for Equality, said when people with disabilities interact with police, too often the encounters have adverse consequences, including serious injury and even death.

“As the City of Chicago works to reform the Chicago Police Department, the rights and needs of people with disabilities must be front and center. Otherwise, these atrocities will continue,” Taylor said.

Taylor offers an example: “A man who’s deaf is attained by police and immediately handcuffed and unable to communicate in American Sign Language and now fears how future encounters with the police will turn out.”

The lawsuit contends the city fails to properly train and monitor officers to ensure they safely deal with people with disabilities.

The city has not yet offered a response.

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