Chicago Police Sued in Cook County Circuit Court After Failing to Produce Historical Intelligence Policy Documents
When news broke of that the Chicago Police Department created a new police officer position across all of their districts known as the "District Coordination Officer", Chicago-One News went to work to uncover the facts and policy documents directing the operations of that newly created position.
Chicago's intelligence operations date back "to the gilded age" according to the website, ChicagoCop.com
On July 1, 1976, plaintiffs in the lawsuit ALLIANCE TO END REPRESSION, et al., Plaintiffs,v.CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, et al., Plaintiffs, v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants. Nos. 74 C 3268, 75 C 3295. United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, E.D. "obtained a court order, further expanded on October 14, 1976, allowing them to copy all index cards of the Chicago Police Department Intelligence Division other than those concerning organized crime, and allowing them to release documents to the named subjects thereof. On May 4, 1977, plaintiffs obtained a court order establishing a depository for their access to approximately 500,000 pages of undeleted pre-1976 files and index systems of the Chicago Police Department Intelligence Division Subversive Unit (commonly known as the Red Squad) and the Gang Intelligence Unit. Plaintiffs have analyzed tens of thousands of these documents. Since September, 1977, plaintiffs have also engaged in periodic review of all current Intelligence Division administrative and "Terrorist Squad" documents, and have obtained copies of many of those which do not concern ongoing criminal investigations. All of the files reviewed and received by the plaintiffs were undeleted." - Justia U.S. Law quote
According to the website, "History is a Weapon", "the 113th Military Intelligence Group provided money and arms for the Chicago Red Squad, which in turn passed the money along to a paramilitary organization, the Legion of Justice. The Legion became known for its vicious assaults on people who worked at underground papers and bookstores, on New Left activists, as well as for its theft of legal files belonging to the Chicago Conspiracy Trial lawyers. This Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit operated almost entirely in secret, with no regulation of its criteria for surveillance, its methods or its use of information."
Since those years have passed, the Chicago Police Department's Intelligence Unit has continued to operate in secret with Chicagoans and Illinoisans being largely left in the dark about the activities of this unit.
The Chicago Police Department's online Department Directives site holds only scant references to intelligence activities within the Chicago Police Dept, and no directives at all for the operation of that unit. After publishing the first Chicago-One News piece about today's CPD Intelligence gathering operations, Chicago-One knew that there needed to be more insight into how this unit operates, what kind of laws regulate this unit, and what this unit's exact marching orders are.
That's when this reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act Request seeking historical CPD policies relating to this unit and blank forms used by this unit between 1960 and 1999, which was quickly denied by the Chicago Police Dept's Bureau of Counterterrorism. Chicago-One then filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court with representation from Loevy and Loevy.
From cellular technology used to spy on protester's cellular/smart phones, a Strategic Subject List, and a now defunct gang membership database, to shotspotter technology, to deployment of "District Coordination Officers", the Chicago Police Department has a history of questionable and even illegal intelligence operations. Today's highly politically polarized society and the abundance of technology marketed towards law enforcement intelligence operations means that intelligence can be all too easy to abuse.
Having a window into the history of this unit can be that much needed gateway to current insights that the public needs to keep the balance of rights and government power right where it needs to be. This lawsuit also sends the message that flouting Illinois FOIA laws is not acceptable for any public body to do.