On July 4th of 2015, a Muslim woman was tackled to the ground by five Chicago police officers on the stairs of a subway station, according to The Washington Post. Her hijab (traditional headscarf) was ripped off, she was handcuffed and placed under arrest, then taken to jail. While she was being tackled and handcuffed, her shirt was pulled up and her pants were pulled down, exposing her midriff. This violent act was particularly embarrassing and humiliating to the victim because of her traditional Muslim upbringing.
Later, at the police station she was ordered to strip naked by a female officer and then put in a cell with the door open, while male officers looked in and laughed, according to the lawsuit. The victim, a 32-year-old student from Saudi Arabia, and a Chicago resident, was making her way home at the time of her arrest. She was charged with resisting arrest and reckless behavior. Clear surveillance footage shows her calmly walking up the stairs of the subway station with dozens of other passengers before she is tackled by the five officers. Both charges were later dropped.
Lawsuit Filed in August of 2016 Against Chicago Police Department and Six Officers
A federal lawsuit was filed this summer of 2016, claiming that the officers had acted with prejudice and malice. The lawsuit states that she “has suffered violations of her constitutional rights, emotional anxiety, fear, humiliation, monetary loss, embarrassment, fear, pain and suffering and future pain and suffering.” Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that she was the victim of false rarest, unlawful search, excessive force, malic prosecution, and that her rights to freedom of religious expression under the First and Fourth amendments were also violated. The police claim that they arrested her because they suspected she was a suicide bomber, because of the way she was dressed.
Hate Crimes Surge Through 2015 and Beyond
According to data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), hate crimes against Muslims increased by 67 percent in 2015, as reported by Mother Jones. FBI data reveals that there were 5,858 hate crimes in total for 2015, though that number is highly inaccurate. The FBI’s data on hate crimes is given by local, county, and state law enforcement agencies, and only data that is given at will is used in the FBI’s report. The Department of Justice (DOJ), on the other hand, estimated that there were 260,000 hate crimes in 2013. 92 percent of those hate crimes involved violence, according to the DOJ’s data, while the FBI reports that just 44 percent of hate crimes involved violence. Obviously, more accurate reporting is needed by local law enforcement agencies. Most hate crimes that get reported to the police never make their way into the FBI’s report, meaning that the extent of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other intolerances are not clearly seen by the federal government.
Contact a Chicago Attorney Today
If you have been the victim of a civil rights violation or police misconduct, contact the Chicago civil rights attorneys of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.
Racial bias is everywhere, and countless individuals are not given a speedy and impartial trial by their peers. When jury is selected for trial by the prosecution and defense, there must be a concerted effort to exclude any racial prejudices. This does not always happen, however. For instance, if the defendant is black and the jury is selected to be only made up of whites, and it can be proven that potential jury members were excluded because they were not white, the defendant may have sufficient evidence to show that their trial was flawed. First, three steps must take place in order for this to happen, according to the Illinois Criminal Law Digest.
Proving Racist Intent Behind State’s Peremptory Challenges
Illinois Appellate Court Finds Defendant Correct in Claims of Race-Based Peremptory Challenges
Recently, such a trial was found to be racially biased. The appellate court ruled in favor of the defendant and found that the State used 80 percent of its peremptory challenges against African Americans and only 8.3 percent of the jury as African American. The flaws in the jury selection and trial court’s decision were as follows: the defendant showed that the State accepted three white jurors with similar characteristics of the African American jurors who were dismissed. The State challenged the defendant’s reasons for claiming that the peremptory challenges were racially biased but the trial court did not conduct the necessary third-stage evaluation of the State’s reasoning.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Appeals Attorney Today
Sadly, all around the country, including Chicago, it is common for the prosecution to weight the jury against the defendant with racist intent. This is one of the many reasons that there is a disproportionate number of people of color in prison. Statistically, all-white or heavily white juries will come down harder on black or hispanic defendants than juries that include members of the defendant’s race. If your trial was flawed because of a peremptory challenge based on race, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago appeals attorneys of Barney and Hourihane as soon as possible at 312-854-0906 today.
Police misconduct does not always include excessive use of force. At times, officers of the law use their power to better their own situation. The law does not look kindly to such abuses of power. If you have been subject to this type of civil rights violation, contact an experienced attorney at once.
Enacting Revenge on an Ex Girlfriend
A Westville, Illinois, police officer was found guilty on November 15th of committing bribery and official misconduct, according to The News Gazette. The officer in question was accused of encouraging other police officers to pull over his ex girlfriend. He included information about when she might be driving home from drinking at a restaurant. An officer who came forward to state police internal investigators agreed to wear a wire and perform a sting operation on the defendant. He went to dinner with the defendant and said that the ex girlfriend was ticketed, and in return the defendant paid for his steak dinner. He was arrested on his way out of the restaurant. While the defendant and his attorneys argued that giving information about when a person may be drinking and driving was just normal police behavior and that he never violated her civil rights by trying to have her pulled over and cited for something that she was not doing, prosecutors successfully argued that he had a vendetta with his ex girlfriend, and was simply abusing his power to enact revenge.
Bribery is a Class 2 Felony in Illinois
According to Criminal Code 720 ILCS of Illinois, bribery is acting “with intent to influence the performance of any act related to the employment or function of any public officer, public employee, juror or witness, he or she promises or tenders to that person any property or personal advantage which he or she is not authorized by law to accept. Bribery is a Class 2 felony in Illinois. Furthermore, the officer who came forward about the other officer’s attempts to bribe others in the department to pull his ex girlfriend over could have faced punishment as well for not reporting an attempt of bribery. According to Illinois law, “Any public officer, public employee or juror who fails to report [bribery] forthwith to the local State's Attorney, or in the case of a State employee to the Department of State Police,” commits a class A misdemeanor. After reporting an incident of bribery, an officer is discharged from any further duty in the matter.
In addition to bribery charges, the office faces punishment for official misconduct as well. He was found guilty of official misconduct for knowingly performing an act which he knew he was forbidden by law to perform, and by taking actions with an intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself.
Call a Chicago, Illinois, Civil Rights Violations Lawyer Today for Immediate Help
If you civil rights have been violated by a law enforcement officer, contact the Chicago civil rights attorneys of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.
Sometimes, even the most unlikely cases are appealed. While there may seem to be no hope in overturning a ruling, that a mountain of evidence is in favor of the court’s initial decision, and momentum in the defendant's favor is gone due to unfavorable public opinion, there is still a chance that an appeal will be successful. Not all cases can go to appeal. There needs to be some proof of wrongdoing or mistake on the behalf of the court, prosecution, or the defense. If you believe that such mistakes happened in your case, contact an experienced Chicago criminal appeals attorney with Barney and Hourihane today .
38-Year Sentence Appealed at Appellate Court in Ottawa
A former Bolingbrook, Illinois, police sergeant was convicted of murder in 2012. He was sentenced to serve 38 years in prison for killing his third wife in 2014, and was later sentenced to an additional 40 years when it was found that he had attempted to hire a hitman to kill the state attorney who originally convicted him. However, his case went to appeals court. The initial court decision was upheld by the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa, according to the Chicago Tribune. Allegations that the lead defense attorney had a conflict of interest and that his counsel was ineffective were found to be untrue. However, the story does not stop there.
No Confession, No Eyewitness, and No Known Time of Death
The death of the defendant’s third wife was initially thought to be an accident. However, when she was unburied, signs of foul play were detected. The defendant's fourth wife came forward with allegations that he had murdered the third wife, but she went missing and was never able to give testimony in court. Her disappearance was thought to be the work of her husband, and in order to admit her testimony in court, prosecutors admitted it with a 2010 hearsay law, called Drew's Law, that allowed her witness testimony to be heard “beyond the grave.” Despite there being no confession, eyewitnesses, or known time of death, prosecutors were still able to convict this man of murder, though not without a prolonged fight.
Case Taken to Illinois Supreme Court
After the appellate court ruled in favor of the initial court’s decision on a 38-year sentence for murder, the former police sergeant's attorneys took the case to the next step up. The defendant’s arguments were heard before the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 12th. Just getting the hearing was rare, as 95 percent of appeals requests are rejected by the Illinois Supreme Court, according to Chicago 5. A decision is expected to be reached at some time next year, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Appeals Attorney Today
Was your trial rushed through? Was their key evidence not taken into account, or bias within the courtroom? Contact a Chicago civil rights attorney at Barney and Hourihane law today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.
A Donald Trump presidency is worrisome to many local residents, as it may come with significant changes to executive branch conduct. For example, some suggest that there is the very real possibility of local police forces no longer being held accountable by the Justice Department, according to Business Insider. A hallmark civil rights victory of the Obama administration was the reform and investigation into local police forces. If the Department of Justice sees that a department’s conduct has been unfit, the investigation can end in one of two ways: the police department agreeing to change its behaviors, or a more aggressive court-mandated consent decree, which is a reform that the Department of Justice closely monitors. Consent decrees are in peril of being done away with by the upcoming presidential administration.
The Benefit of Consent Decrees
Consent decrees are most common in cities that have a disproportionate number of police shootings in which black men are killed. A consent decree is an effective way in fundamentally changing the way a local police department acts, even when a heavily racist belief system has been in place for a long time. Chicago is one such place, and underwent a decree in 2015 that investigated the use of force and “disciplinary process for wayward officers,” according to the Chicago Tribune. While somewhat costly, decrees are a necessary measure to combat racism, inequality, excessive force, and other police misconduct. Additionally, some believe that in the long run, they save taxpayers substantial amounts in police misconduct legal bills and settlements. From 2003 to 2014, Chicago taxpayers spent $500 million on such legal fees.
Key Republicans Could Spell Disaster for Civil Rights Movement
The criminal justice system is undeniably in need of change. Sadly, institutionalized racism exists at a level that many white Americans simply refuse to believe, and civil rights probes into local police departments is a growing necessity. These civil rights probes have been conducted by the Department of Justice since the 1990s, with Pittsburgh being the first city to undergo a consent decree back in 1997. Now, with Trump and many other Republican policy makers rising to federal power, current and future probes and consent decrees could come to an immediate halt. Individuals that would likely be critics of these civil rights measures who are possibilities on Trump’s list of Attorney General include Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, and Pam Bondi. David Clark is in the running for Homeland Security, and has been openly hostile to what he describes as an “ongoing witch hunt by the Civil Rights Division.” The times ahead look to be bleak, but that does not mean that you and your family have no defense.
Call a Chicago Civil Rights Violation Attorney Today
If you have been a victim of police misconduct of any kind, do not hesitate to call the experienced Chicago civil rights attorneys at the law office of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance. We aggressively pursue the constitutional rights of our clients and hold the Chicago police department responsible for its wrongdoings.