“It will take action”… to repair relations between the police and the community.
Our client, a young single mother experiencing housing instability was at work providing for her family when her interactions with the Chicago police occurred. This incident took place during a period of civil unrest in our city following the murder of George Floyd. Relations between the police and the community, already tense, were now fractured. This was an opportunity for the police to restore relations with the community. They could have offered a hand, or at the very least, demonstrated gratitude for the employees working to restore a local business. What happened instead: our client was arrested unlawfully, detained, and was charged with resisting/obstructing a police officer.
We (CCH, Porter Wright and ACLU of IL) obtained a substantial settlement for our client, and not long after this lawsuit was filed, the main officer involved in violating our client’s constitutional rights retired from the Chicago Police Department.
This officer had a history of numerous complaints filed against them during their career as a police officer.
As a youth, I aspired to be an advocate for individuals who were more likely to experience adversity because of the inequities that exist in this society and our city. As a Latino man that was born and raised in Chicago, I have witnessed these inequities firsthand and have lived in communities disproportionally impacted by them. I want to be an advocate for change. I want to see us get to a place where the color of a person’s skin doesn’t impact their interactions with the police or the criminal justice system. Where it doesn’t determine the level of dignity and respect afforded to them. I want to live in city that doesn’t over-police the same communities it disinvests in.
I believe relations with the police and the community are fractured but they can still be repaired. But it’s going to take action and not rhetoric to achieve this result. At CCH, we engage in work that moves us closer to a just society. This case is evidence of that, and I am humbled and honored to play a crucial role in this work.
– Arturo Hernandez, Senior Attorney for the Law Project at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
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