By Doug Schenkelberg, Executive Director, February 15th 2023
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) appreciates Governor Pritzker’s focus on addressing homelessness, housing, and poverty in his budget address and proposed Fiscal Year 2024 State of Illinois Budget. As the Governor stated in his address, “…we will have failed everyone in Illinois if we don’t place a higher priority on tackling poverty…” This proposed budget is a step in the right direction.
The Home Illinois initiative puts needed focus on addressing the needs of those experiencing homelessness and poverty. As the Governor noted, “In Illinois, Black people are eight times more likely to experience homelessness than white people…” and underlined tackling homelessness is fundamental to advancing racial equity. Moreover, he included people living doubled-up in his description of homelessness, which aligns with CCH’s annual estimate of homelessness for Illinois.
We are encouraged by the proposed investment in new funding to tackle homelessness. We look forward to working with the legislature and governor’s office to ensure the final budget includes increased funding for Emergency and Transitional Housing, Youth Homelessness, and Supportive Housing services. These funds can be used to make sure every person living in Illinois has a safe place to call their own along with supportive services to allow them to live independently. Homeless and housing providers have weathered the pandemic, changing their model to keep their clients, who are likely to be high-risk, safer. They have lost staff due to COVID as well as their inability to pay competitive wages.
The Governor’s proposal to increase the TANF monthly grant amount to 40% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a step in the right direction toward ending familial poverty in Illinois. The need is growing for Illinoisan families with the cost of living and prices soaring on basic but necessary items, and with the end of the emergency SNAP allotment families are looking for relief, especially those living in deep poverty. We encourage the legislature to work with the Governor’s office to include an increase in TANF to 50% of FPL to provide additional funds to pay off debt, to save, and to make the necessary purchases for their families.
The Governor and the General Assembly have shown through their actions over the past few years they want to invest in the needs of those that are too often pushed to the margins. We look forward to working with them this year to enact a 2024 budget that continues this work.
Contact: Ed Yohnka, ACLU of Illinois, 847-687-1129
Vanessa Alvarez, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, 773-906-3403
CHICAGO – A Chicago woman settled her federal civil rights lawsuit with the City of Chicago after police physically assaulted, falsely arrested, and detained her in June 2020. Julie Campos, a Southside Latina resident, filed the lawsuit in May 2022 to hold Chicago police accountable for unlawfully arresting her while she was working. Ms. Campos obtained substantial, undisclosed monetary damages as part of the settlement. Shortly after the filing of Ms. Campos’ suit, the officer primarily responsible for violating her constitutional rights separated from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). This is an important victory for Ms. Campos, whose goal was to get this abusive officer taken off the streets.
“I am glad this lawsuit is over and that it was so successful,” said Julie Campos. “The officer who abused me is no longer on the streets. He – and I hope others – know there are consequences for their actions.”
On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, Ms. Campos was working at a Family Dollar store located on East 79th Street, cleaning up property damage that had occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. After Ms. Campos videoed CPD Officer Eric Taylor, who had just physically assaulted her, Officer Taylor and Officer Treacher Howard falsely arrested Ms. Campos on a trumped-up charge. Ms. Campos was then unlawfully detained for hours while being separated from her infant son.
“This was an out-of-control officer who had no business being on the street,” said Joshua Levin, staff attorney for the ACLU and one of Ms. Campos’ lawyers. “Officer Taylor had more complaints than 93% of all other CPD officers but had never been adequately disciplined or retrained. The quick and successful settlement in this case shows the City knows the officer’s actions were unjustifiable. While we are very pleased that Officer Taylor is no longer at CPD, the City must ensure that all officers are properly trained, and are disciplined and retrained when they do wrong.”
Arturo Hernandez, a senior attorney at CCH and another part of the legal team, said: “Ms. Campos could have stood silent about the misconduct she suffered at the hands of Chicago Police. Instead, she brought public attention to their unlawful conduct, and she demanded they be held accountable. This takes courage. Because of her actions, now there is one less police officer patrolling the streets of Chicago who is unfit to wear a badge.”
The officers’ body camera video shows Officers Taylor and Howard pulled into the store parking lot where Ms. Campos and other employees were busy cleaning up the property damage so that the business could reopen to serve the community.
While in the store parking lot, Officer Taylor instigated an obscene shouting match with one of Ms. Campos’ coworkers. Officer Taylor made vulgar sexual comments about the employee’s mother and oral sex, using racist epithets.
Unbeknownst to Ms. Campos, Officer Taylor sought to arrest the employee with whom he had instigated the argument. As Ms. Campos was carrying boxes through the store doorway to the dumpster, Officer Taylor charged inside, told her to “step back, step back,” and then grabbed her, forcibly shoved her, and struck her face. Neither officer checked to see if Ms. Campos was injured.
As Officer Taylor stomped through the store, Ms. Campos began recording him on her phone and saying that he had punched her. Although Ms. Campos had a First Amendment right to record Officer Taylor and criticize his misconduct, Officer Taylor approached her, twisted her arms—forcing her to stop recording—and placed her under arrest for purportedly obstructing a police officer.
“There was no legal basis whatsoever to arrest Ms. Campos for ‘obstructing an officer’; this was a blatant violation of her constitutional rights,” the ACLU’s Levin explained. Months later, the false charge against Ms. Campos was dropped.
“This process was hard, from deciding to file the lawsuit to waiting through the end, but it has been important – because no officer should be able to act this way and stay on the streets,” said Ms. Campos.
The ACLU of Illinois (“ACLU”), the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (“CCH”), and the law firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP represented Ms. Campos in the case.
CHICAGO – A Chicago police officer’s obscene verbal tirade escalated into the officer’s physical assault and false arrest of a Chicago woman in June 2020, according to a federal lawsuit filed today. Chicago police are accused of unlawfully arresting Julie Campos, a Southside Latina resident—who was 19 years old at the time—at her place of employment, a Family Dollar store located on East 79th Street. The ACLU of Illinois (“ACLU”), the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (“CCH”), and the law firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP are representing Ms. Campos in the lawsuit challenging false arrest.
Ms. Campos was working at the store on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, cleaning up property damage that had occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The lawsuit asserts that, after Ms. Campos videoed the officer who physically assaulted her, Ms. Campos was falsely arrested on a trumped-up charge and unlawfully detained for hours—separated from her infant son.
“I was confused and scared throughout this entire experience,” said Ms. Campos. “It was shocking that just getting up and going to work could result in being arrested.”
“The body cam and other video of this incident show a CPD officer completely out of control. The City never should have allowed this officer onto the street,” said Joshua Levin, staff attorney for the ACLU. The officer has a lengthy history of civilian complaints, but never had been adequately disciplined or retrained by the Chicago Police Department.
Arturo Hernandez, a senior attorney at CCH, stated, “Ms. Campos, a young mother who was experiencing housing instability at the time, was at work trying to provide for her family when she endured this horrific experience at the hands of Chicago Police officers. This should not happen to anyone. If CPD doesn’t take action to adequately train their officers, or adequately discipline officers who engage in misconduct like the officers in this case—how will relations between the community and the police change?”
The officers’ body camera video shows CPD Officers Eric Taylor and Treacher Howard pulled into the store parking lot where employees were busy cleaning up so that the business could reopen to serve the community. Ms. Campos was making repeated trips in and out of the back entrance to throw out trash from the damaged store.
Content Warning: the following may be uncomfortable for some viewers. Jump to 10:30 for interaction.
While in the store parking lot, Officer Taylor instigated a shouting match with one of Ms. Campos’ coworkers. Officer Taylor made vulgar sexual comments about the employee’s mother and oral sex, using racist epithets.
“Officer Taylor’s dehumanizing language—and his completely unnecessary escalation of conflict with this community member—is maddening to watch,” Levin added. “These Chicagoans were at work just doing their jobs.”
After Officer Taylor’s argument with the employee, Ms. Campos continued cleaning the store. As she was carrying boxes through the store doorway to the dumpster, Ms. Campos came face-to-face with Officer Taylor, who was charging inside. Unbeknownst to Ms. Campos, Officer Taylor was looking to arrest Ms. Campos’ coworker, with whom he had instigated the earlier argument. Frightened by the officer coming toward her, Ms. Campos momentarily froze. Officer Taylor said “step back, step back,” then grabbed Ms. Campos, forcibly shoved her, and struck her face. As Ms. Campos fell backward, Officer Taylor, his partner Officer Howard, and other CPD officers entered the store. No one checked to see if Ms. Campos had been injured.
As Officer Taylor stomped through the store, Ms. Campos pulled out her phone and began recording him and saying that he had punched her. Although Ms. Campos had a First Amendment right to record Officer Taylor and criticize his misconduct, Officer Taylor approached her, twisted her arms—forcing her to stop recording—and placed her under arrest for purportedly obstructing a police officer.
“There was no legal basis whatsoever to arrest Ms. Campos for ‘obstructing an officer’; this was a blatant violation of Ms. Campos’s constitutional rights,” the ACLU’s Levin explained.
Ms. Campos was taken to a CPD station, where she was detained and physically restrained for nearly five hours. While holding Ms. Campos in custody, Officers Taylor and Howard refused to tell her when she would be released and when she would be able to see her one-year-old son again. Defendant Taylor even taunted Ms. Campos about her inability to contact her child or her child’s daycare while in custody.
Months later, the false charge against Ms. Campos was dropped.
“My hope is that this lawsuit will help make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” said Ms. Campos. “I’m concerned that something like this could happen to me again. But I’m more afraid for when my Latino son grows up. I’m afraid for what could happen to him if we continue to have police officers like Officer Taylor patrolling this city.”
“Not only was Ms. Campos arrested and detained when she did not do anything wrong, but the officers lied on the police reports. They fabricated information to cover up the false arrest—a widespread practice CPD officers use to conceal misconduct,” said Levin.
“This sort of behavior by CPD officers is the antithesis of public safety and constitutional policing,” Levin added. “And the City is directly responsible because it fails to adequately train, supervise, and discipline officers like Taylor who have egregious records of misconduct.” Officer Taylor has racked up more civilian complaints than 93% of other officers. Levin explained: “This case exemplifies the City’s systemic failure to take abusive officers off the streets.”
If you or someone you know is in a transitory living situation and needs legal support the Law Project can be reached weekdays on its toll-free helpline: 1 (800) 940-1119.