Chicago Police Department officers agreed to allow those arrested access to a phone within three hours in order to resolve a lawsuit filed by the Cook County Public Defender’s Office after mass arrests during the protests and unrest triggered by the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
Cook County Judge Neil Cohen will enforce the agreement that settled the lawsuit through a consent decree to make sure those arrested can contact an attorney or family members shortly after being detained. As part of the consent decree, Chicago Police must install telephones in every interrogation room, post signs with information about how to get access to a lawyer free of charge and create private rooms for attorneys to consult with their clients.
Craig Futterman, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, said the lack of access to a lawyer can lead to false confessions and wrongful convictions — issues that have plagued the Chicago Police Department for decades.
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