Chicago Organizers File Lawsuit

A number of Chicago organizations active in the continuing demonstrations taking place have filed a lawsuit in an effort to block use of federal forces for policing and suppressing resistance. Many are rightly anticipating that whether directed against protesters, or people in the community in the name of drugs and crime -- especially African Americans, Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans -- federal forces will use violence against the people of Chicago.

One organizer said the federal strategy for Chicago uses crime as an excuse to "stifle righteous rage and anger at the continued killing of Black people by police." She added, "We will not be threatened. We will not be coerced into suppressing our rage, we will continue fighting back."

The lawyer filing the suit said, "The lawsuit is seeking injunctive relief to restrain federal law enforcement officers from violating the First and Fourth amendments of protesters, legal observers and journalists," all of whom have contended with police violence against them. The First Amendment provides for freedom of speech and assembly while the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

The lawsuit asks for an injunction to prevent agents in Chicago from making arrests or detaining people without probable cause, along with requiring agents to identify themselves and their agency and explain why someone is being arrested. It brings out that the planned deployment of hundreds of federal agents has already caused some members of the various organizations to draw back from protest plans this weekend, "due to the well-founded fear that they will be brutalized or kidnapped by federal agents." It concludes: "Plaintiffs are entitled to this Court's protection of their constitutional right to peacefully protest. This Court must check the unrestrained and unlawful actions of the executive branch."

The suit names Attorney General William Barr, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head Chad Wolf and various officials of DHS, including those of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and of the Justice Department, including Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as U.S. Marshals, FBI and "unknown agents" of the federal government, all scheduled to be part of the deployment.

To view the full legal complaint, click here

(Photo: California Nurses Association)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 27 - July 25, 2020

Article Link:
Chicago Organizers File Lawsuit


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