How To Report Police Misconduct or Brutality in Illinois

During the last year, and for much of the last half century, police brutality has been a topic of debate in the United States. People want their public servants held to a high standard of conduct, without unnecessarily limiting the ability of law enforcement professionals to perform their protective roles. When police officers fail to follow protocols and maintain a high standard of ethics, they are abusing the power invested in them. Often, victims of police brutality are left fearful of the justice system and feel there is no outlet for recourse. Police misconduct can have devastating effects. It rips apart lives, families, and communities in ways that affect entire cities, like New York, Ferguson, and Chicago. Police Discrimination Statistics in Chicago 33% of Chicago’s population is African-American, but the arrest rate of black youth in the city is disproportionately high. In 2011, 77% of the Chicago Police Department’s youth arrests were of African-Americans and in 2012 that figure rose to 79%. The Chicago Police Department’s use of stun guns also came under fire in the report. 92% of the Chicago Police Department’s use of stun guns from 2009 to 2011 involved black and Latino targets. Stun gun manufacturers and law enforcement agencies claim that their implementation and use will reduce police involvement in shootings. However, as the Chicago Reporter observed, black residents are 10 times more likely than their white neighbors to be shot by a police officer. Most chilling of all, the report details that it is rare for Chicago police officers to be held accountable for misconduct. Of 10,149 excessive force, illegal search, racial abuse and false arrest complaints filed against Chicago police officers between 2002 and 2004, only 124 were sustained. A University of Chicago Law School report published in 2007 stated that brutality complaints filed against police in Chicago are 94% less likely to be sustained than anywhere else in the US. Only 0.48% of brutality complaints are sustained, compared to 8% nationally. How to Hold the Police Accountable  Many organizations of disparate affiliations and creeds are advocating for greater scrutiny of police departments. The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, has established the National Police Misconduct Project to raise awareness throughout the country. Anyone who wants to raise awareness of a case may do so through their project, but should know that anything described to them is fair game for publication. State, county, local, and municipal police departments have published complaint procedures. The Illinois State Police have a complaint process published online. However, it is very difficult to have a complaint successfully and thoroughly addressed through these processes. Obtaining expert legal counsel is one of the best ways to gain an equal footing with the police department. An attorney who is familiar with local police statutes and state laws will be able to help you take meaningful and timely action against misconduct.  Police misconduct and brutality can have devastating effects. Personal injury and wrongful death claims may arise from police brutality. Citizens are entitled to protection from abuse by those entrusted to protect and serve them. There are a few things to remember when dealing with police misconduct:
  • Write everything down
  • Consult with an attorney
  • File a police misconduct report. The timing of a misconduct report is often strategic in light of pending criminal and civil cases. An attorney can help you with this process.
It is important to follow these steps in order. Maintaining good records, whether written, audio, or video, can bolster claims made in civil and criminal courts. Filing a misconduct report can only occur after civil or criminal proceedings have been finished. Get in contact with Eugene K. Hollander Law immediately if a police officer has victimized you or a loved one.