Chicago Latina Files Lawsuit Challenging False Arrest By Chicago Police

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. 

White text in all caps on a blue gradient background reads "Julie Campos v. City Of Chicago, Eric Taylor, and Treacher Howard" Center below text is the CCH Logo, a cartoon person crouched in a white house, to the right of logo reads " Law Project, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless". Lawsuit Challenges False Arrest.

“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.” 

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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.

Related Media Coverage:

Video of Police Cam footage: https://youtu.be/rCNyyBjFeoI

Tribune

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-aclu-lawsuit-chicago-police-arrest-20220526-ywksug2l75gwxg34eulugt2uoe-story.html   

Sun Times 

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/5/26/23143373/federal-suit-alleges-cpd-officer-struck-falsely-arrested-woman-recording-misconduct-2020

Univision Chicago

https://www.univision.com/local/chicago-wgbo/hispana-presenta-demanda-contra-policia-de-chicago-por-falso-arresto-y-agresion

Learn about our recent victories in our 2021 Annual Report

CCH grassroots leaders and staff, clad in bright yellow CCH t-shirts, standing with fists raised in front of the Illinois state capitol building. Text includes the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo and the words 2021 Annual Report.

We are grateful for the strong coalition of people with lived experience, community members, direct-service and advocacy organizations, institutional partners, donors, and volunteers who are working every single day to prevent and end homelessness.

Five blocks in a row. Block 1: Photo of a young woman wearing a hijab, standing, speaking to a Black woman in a trucker hat, seated. Block 2: Blue square that reads: 3,000 people who experienced homelessness were reached by our community organizers and legal aid attorneys. Block 3: photo of a white man speaking to a crowd with a bullhorn. The man is wearing a yellow t-shirt with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless logo. Block 4: Blue square that reads: 408 legal aid cases were closed by the Law Project, representing 319 clients. Block 5: two young women with brown hair from behind, seated in front of a laptop.

Strong community support contributed to CCH’s many accomplishments over the last year. Read more about our shared victories during Calendar Year 2021 in our annual report.

Blue box with white letters: Read our annual report now

Have a cannabis conviction in Illinois? You may be eligible for expungement. 

By Arturo Hernandez, Senior Attorney 

By now, many people are probably aware that recreational cannabis use is legal in Illinois. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) legalized the use of recreational cannabis beginning January 1, 2020. The Act also established new ways for people with cannabis-related records to clear their records and work in the cannabis industry.  

New Leaf Illinois logo with quote from client: "I was so apprehensive about my future because of my legal record. But after talking with New Leaf, I got the info and motivation to move forward	 and put it behind me.” – New Leaf Client.

Cannabis Expungement 

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless provides free legal representation to those wishing to expunge their records as a proud partner in New Leaf Illinois.   

New Leaf Illinois is a statewide network of legal aid organizations that provide services to assist individuals with expunging their cannabis records and other legal services.  

For questions about expunging cannabis records or to see if you may be eligible, visit the New Leaf Illinois website or call the New Leaf Illinois hotline at (855) 963-9532.

Continue reading Have a cannabis conviction in Illinois? You may be eligible for expungement. 

Staff Attorney

Job Description

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is seeking a mid-level Staff Attorney to join our Law Project team to advocate for people experiencing homelessness in Illinois through both direct representation and policy advocacy in the areas of civil rights and public benefits and to work to advance racial equity. 

Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

About CCH  

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 42-year-old systemic advocacy organization. CCH develops campaigns and initiatives to address the causes of homelessness – lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and services and lack of jobs paying a living wage. We place much emphasis on organizing and developing leaders who have experienced homelessness to become spokespersons and leaders of our various initiatives. CCH does its work in accordance with its organizational values – collaboration, integrity, strategic action, compassion, and intersectionality. We recognize that homelessness is a problem that stems from systemic racism and that biases and prejudices are embedded in the fabric of society, and thus, also permeate organizations like ours. CCH is committed to advancing racial equity in the workplace, through the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose. 

Job Responsibilities  

  • Provide civil legal services to people experiencing homelessness. Areas of focus include civil rights and public benefits, including Social Security hearings.  Other areas of law may include access to identification documents, housing and criminal law. 
  • Conduct regular legal clinics and community outreach to unsheltered communities and through the Law Project’s Youth Futures Mobile Legal Clinic at various shelters and drop-in centers, schools, health centers and other community locations serving youth ages 14-24.  
  • Participate in the Law Project’s impact litigation to address systemic issues and barriers to people experiencing homelessness, including civil rights cases. 
  • Participate in local and state-level coalitions and campaigns to promote policies and laws to protect the rights of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness and to reduce barriers to accessing health care and public benefits for homeless youth and adults.  
  • Assist Law Project staff on other projects as needed.   
  • Develop and conduct trainings for attorneys and other professionals on civil rights, public benefits, health care and other legal rights of people experiencing homelessness. 
  • Collaborate with the Law Project’s Public Benefits Specialist in public benefits cases. 
  • Supervision of law student and social work student interns, possible future supervision opportunities 
  • Work in collaboration with all CCH departments—CCH believes strongly in interdepartmental collaboration and expects all staff to work in close partnership with the other departments at the organization. 

Qualifications/Skills  

Required:  

  • J.D. degree and currently licensed or eligible to waive in to practice law in Illinois   
  • Mid-level legal experience in a legal aid organization or other setting providing direct representation 
  • Experience and an interest in civil rights, public benefits and health law and policy, and/or criminal law.  In addition to professional experience in these areas, experience can include personal experience with homelessness, poverty and other issues affecting our clients.  
  •  Experience working with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds   
  •  Experience working in communities impacted by poverty and a desire to spend a significant amount of time out in the community providing legal services and engaging in outreach  
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment and work to advance racial equity  
  • Self-direction and self-motivation and the ability to work independently  
  • Demonstrated strong research and writing skills 

Preferred: 

  • Experience representing individuals in administrative hearings or in litigation  
  • Experience and interest in criminal law 
  • Experience working with young people ages 14 to 24-years-old   
  • Valid driver’s license 

Salary range

$60,000 to 72,000 based on experience, highly competitive benefits package, including health insurance (90% of premium paid by organization), four weeks of paid vacation, sabbatical program and student loan repayment assistance program and more. 

To Apply

Please send resume, cover letter, references and writing sample to Patricia Nix-Hodes at lawproject@chicagohomeless.org


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believes that personnel diversity is an organizational strength and recognizes and values the intersectional identities that staff members bring to our organization. We are enriched by the diverse experiences, beliefs, and ways of thinking that employees of different backgrounds bring.  

People of color and people who have experienced homelessness or poverty are strongly encouraged to apply. Fair consideration is given to all qualified applicants regardless of criminal record. CCH is committed to providing equal employment consideration without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status.  

Where to turn for help when temperatures drop

Chicagoans should call 3-1-1 if they need weather-related assistance in frigid winter weather, including access to homeless shelters or city warming centers.

Six neighborhood warming centerslisted below, are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays whenever temperatures go below 32 degrees. All residents can find safe refuge and relief from extreme cold weather at these locations.

  • Englewood Community Service Center
    1140 West 79th Street
  • Garfield Community Service Center
    10 South Kedzie Avenue
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Center
    4314 South Cottage Grove
  • North Area Community Service Center
    845 West Wilson Avenue
  • South Chicago Community Service Center
    8650 South Commercial Avenue
  • Trina Davila Community Service Center
    4312 West North Avenue
Continue reading Where to turn for help when temperatures drop

Daihana shares her story, resolved to help others

Daihana Estrada, a recent graduate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, is no stranger to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In fact, she has been involved with CCH for more than a decade, as a scholarship winner, an intern, an advocate, and a member of the scholarship selection committee. 

She also recently raised $1,890 for CCH through an online fundraiser, garnering support from 65 people from around the world. 

Today, Daihana is a first-year attorney, working as a judicial law clerk in Minnesota. Hers is a journey more than 12 years in the making. 

Continue reading Daihana shares her story, resolved to help others

City, CPS announce $500 grants for students experiencing housing instability

A new program will provide eligible CPS students with funding to assist with educational, living, and other expenses. 

By Alyssa Phillips, Education Attorney 

This week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Interim Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Dr. José M. Torres announced the creation of the Chicago Families Forward Fund. It will provide a $500 microgrant to CPS students experiencing housing insecurity to assist with needs that families and students are facing. 

This funding is critical and a step in the right direction as families and students experiencing homelessness have faced housing instability, job loss, loss of family members and serious health issues during the pandemic. All Chicago families and students need housing and other resources to succeed in school. The direct, flexible payments to CPS families and students experiencing homelessness will allow families and students to address a variety of unique and urgent needs. 

Continue reading City, CPS announce $500 grants for students experiencing housing instability

Class action settlement obtained for evicted tenants

CCH and NCLC obtained a class action settlement for former Chicago tenants in a lawsuit challenging a debt collector’s practice of collecting unlawful debt from them after they were evicted.

The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) successfully obtained a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) challenging the debt collector’s practice of collecting unlawful debt. A federal judge approved the settlement agreement in the class action lawsuit in July.

Continue reading Class action settlement obtained for evicted tenants