Live stream of today’s press conference by activists, public officials
and attorneys can be found here: https://bit.ly/30K0zTW
CHICAGO – A broad coalition of #BlackLivesMatter organizations, legal workers, and journalists teamed up with a consortium of civil rights lawyers today to file a federal civil rights lawsuit to restrain President Trump’s promised surge of federal law enforcement agents in Chicago.
The suit seeks injunctive and declaratory relief from the federal court to stop the Trump administration from sending federal agents “to intimidate and falsely arrest civilians who are exercising their constitutional right to speak and to assemble.” It also seeks an injunction against the federal policy of arresting civilians preemptively and without probable cause.
The suit is filed by Black Lives Matter Chicago, Black Abolitionist Network, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Good Kids / Mad City, #LetUsBreathe Collective, South Siders Organized for Unity and Liberation, National Lawyers Guild Chicago and First Defense Legal Aid.
“A secret police force…has terrorized the people of Portland, Oregon for more than a week, where civilians have been kidnapped, beaten, and tear gassed by anonymous federal agents,” reads the suit. “Rarely in modern times has a President of the United States trampled on bedrock constitutional protections on this scale or so brazenly usurped states’ police power by directing federal agents to carry out an illegal mission against the people for his own personal political benefit.”
“It is clear that the public excuse being used to send in Federal officers is a lie and the truth is that this is a coordinated effort to suppress and extinguish the world’s largest rebellion in history,” said Aislinn Pulley of the Chicago Torture Justice Center and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Chicago. “Sending the Feds in is a tactic right out of the rule book of classic authoritarian governments who engage in disappearing, brutalizing and criminalizing anyone who engages in political dissent. We condemn this and will continue to mobilize in the streets in defense of our lives and fighting to build a world in which we can live in dignity without harassment, beating, torture and killing by law enforcement, be it city or federal.”
“The City said last night that it had worked out a deal with the Trump administration to make the focus of the additional federal forces to be stopping crime and not protest activities. But given the City’s own terrible history and recent brutality against protestors, we doubt that it, let alone the Trump administration, is seriously concerned about the rights of the plaintiffs in this suit,” said Tess Kleinhaus of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, one of several civil rights organizations who are working on the suit.
Other civil rights organizations working on the suit include Shiller Preyar Jarard & Samuels at The Westside Justice Center, The Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, People’s Law Office, and the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.
Activists at today’s press conference noted that huge expenditures of local and federal resources on police agencies rather than housing, healthcare and education are the driving force behind violence in already over-policed cities like Chicago, and that more police will only worsen the problem.