CHICAGO -- A federal class action lawsuit is being filed against the city of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department alleging that "stop and frisk" tactics are unconstitutional.
Today's lawsuit comes on the heels of a recent American Civil Liberties Union report alleging that Chicagoans are stopped and frisked at a rate four times greater than New Yorkers.
At a news conference today at the New Tabernacle of Faith M.B. Church, 531 North Kedzie Avenue, plaintiff Darnell Smith, 37, said he was outside his grandparents' building waiting for a food delivery in 2014. According to attorneys, Chicago police allegedly stopped and frisked the Englewood man without any probable cause or reasonable suspicion that he had committed any crime.
Smith is one of six Chicagoans filing a civil rights complaint alleging the Chicago Police Department has systematically violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans with unconstitutional stops and frisks, which critics say include unlawful searches and seizures.
The lawsuit follows rulings in New York and elsewhere ordering police to curb stop and frisk tactics, a practice deemed to be discriminatory toward African Americans and other minorities.
Last month's ACLU report found that over 70 percent of all stops and frisks of innocent Chicagoans involved African Americans.
"We want good police officers with good instincts, and if you want to call it, a good hunch," plaintiffs' attorney Antonio Romanucci said at the news conference. "But a hunch must be exercised within the limits of the law."
There's been no response today from Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. But in the recent past McCarthy has defended his patrolmen's actions, saying they stop people who they suspect are about to, or have committed a crime.
Reverend Paul Jakes, pastor of the New Tabernacle of Faith M.B. Church, said he has sent a letter asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the practices of the Chicago Police Department.