In a civil rights case alleging the rampant use of illegal stop & frisk tactics by Chicago Police, the federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois denied the City’s and the Superintendent of Police’s motions to dismiss the claims brought by more than 50 African-American and Hispanic plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and a class of plaintiffs. The complaint alleges that Chicago Police officers stopped and frisked the plaintiffs and members of the class based on their race or national origin and did so without reasonable suspicion that they were engaged in criminal activity. Working with co-counsel Antonio M. Romanucci, Martin D. Gould & Angela Kurtz with the Chicago firm Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, and Rod Gregory of the Gregory Law Firm in Jacksonville, Florida, CCL’s Robert S. Peck and Valerie M. Nannery prepared many of the successful arguments in the plaintiffs’ opposition to the motions to dismiss.

The district court adopted many of CCL’s arguments and held that the plaintiffs have standing to seek equitable relief and that they have stated claims against the City and the Superintendent in his individual capacity for violations of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The court rejected the City’s argument that the plaintiffs could not seek declaratory and injunctive relief because their past encounters with Chicago Police officers could not establish that they faced a real and immediate threat of future unconstitutional stops and frisks by officers. The court held that held that the plaintiffs’ claims for injunctive relief were plausible based on their allegations of an unconstitutional practice and repeated unconstitutional stops and frisks by Chicago Police of people who were engaged in innocent, lawful conduct. The court also held that the complaint alleged enough factual details to state claims for violations of the plaintiffs’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights against the City, and against the Superintendent in his individual capacity. Finally, the court rejected the City’s assertion that many of the plaintiffs’ claims were mooted by the City’s separate agreement with the ACLU to change Chicago Police practices. The court wrote that the City’s promise to comply with its agreement with the ACLU, without more, could not moot the plaintiffs’ requests for prospective relief, and that the agreement did not moot the plaintiffs’ claims for damages.

The court’s order, which came more than a month before its scheduled hearing on the motions, requires the defendants to answer the complaint, and allows the plaintiffs’ claims to move forward.