Clinic Students Win Right to Access Police Disciplinary Data
The Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic has long been working to expose abuses by the Special Operations unit of the Chicago Police Department. This fall, clinic students Ethan Frenchman, Kelly Graf, Matthew Schwartz, and Renee Williams represented a Mexican-American family abused by a group of Chicago police Special Operations officers who had perpetrated a pattern of criminal abuse targeting Latinos for false arrests, illegal searches, and robbery. The team of clinic students won access to Department-wide disciplinary data and contributed to persuading a federal judge that data related to official police misconduct complaints are necessary to prove that the Department’s broken disciplinary and supervisory systems enabled the criminal officers to abuse the client’s family with impunity. See Padilla v. City of Chicago, 2011 WL 3651273. The litigation is ongoing, but the students’ victory brings them one step closer towards vindicating their client’s rights.