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Lawsuit: Chicago Police Department’s Inaccurate, Racially Biased Gang Database led ICE to Target Dreamer for Deportation


CPD falsely labeled a 25-year-old man who has lived in the USA since he was 5 years old a gang member, triggering his arrest, imprisonment and imminent deportation

The Chicago Police Department has a policy and practice of falsely labeling young men— almost all of whom are Latino or Black— gang members alleges a new federal civil rights lawsuit filed today. The lawsuit details the consequences of this practice for the Plaintiff, Luis Vicente Pedrote-Salinas, who, as a result of CPD’s actions was targeted by ICE, detained, denied immigration relief and now faces deportation.

Mr. Pedrote-Salinas’ parents brought him to Chicago from Mexico when he was 5 years old. He has lived in Chicago ever since, graduating from high school here and helping his parents care for his younger sibling. He has never belonged to a street gang. But because he is a young Latino man, and because when he was 19 years old CPD arrested him for having an unopened can of beer in what CPD deemed “gang territory,” CPD included him in its gang database.

CPD’s erroneous inclusion of Mr. Pedrote-Salinas in its gang database has triggered a series of events that have upended his life and could result in his deportation to Mexico. Based on the information provided to it by CPD, ICE targeted Mr. Pedrote-Salinas during a gang suppression mission, detained him for six months and placed him in deportation proceedings.

Mr.  Pedrote-Salinas is eligible for at least two different forms of immigration relief—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows individuals who entered the country as children to receive work permits, and a U-visa, which permits crime victims to remain in the country. (Mr. Pedrote-Salinas was a victim of an armed robbery). Mr. Pedrote-Salinas has been denied both forms of relief because of the CPD’s false representations that Mr. Pedrote-Salinas is a gang member, the lawsuit alleges.

According to Mr. Pedrote-Salinas, “CPD called me a gang member and told ICE I was gang member only because of where I live and the color of my skin.  CPD is causing me to lose the only life I know and to leave my family and my community. I am filing this lawsuit to hold CPD accountable for its racist ways and to remove me from the gang database.”

“CPD’s gang database unlawfully targets young men of color and further institutionalizes racial profiling within the Department. Luis’ case demonstrates that the database creates devastating rights abuses and that CPD’s practice of sharing this racially discriminatory and pervasively inaccurate information with ICE and other law enforcement entities must end immediately,” said Vanessa del Valle, one of Mr. Pedrote-Salinas attorneys.

The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and alleges multiple violations of due process protections under the U.S. Constitution. The suit also alleges that the manner in which CPD gathers and disseminates false information about gang membership violates the Illinois Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial and ethnic discrimination.   Defendants include the City of Chicago, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Commander of the Gang Investigations Division Christopher J. Kennedy and several officers within the Chicago Police Department. Additional attorneys for Mr. Pedrote-Salinas include Sheila Bedi of the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and Brendan Shiller, Chris Bergin, and Tia Haywood of Shiller Preyar LLC.

The full lawsuit can be found here

About the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center

Founded in 1985, the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center is one of the premier civil rights law firms in the United States. In addition to Chicago, the MacArthur Justice Center has offices in New Orleans, LA; St. Louis, MO, Oxford, MS; and Washington, DC.

About Shiller Preyar Law Offices

Shiller Preyar Law Offices is a seven-attorney firm focusing on civil rights, criminal defense and immigration. It is part of the larger West Side Justice Center, a collaboration of 3 firms, six solo practitioners, and three nonprofits that provide holistic and pro bono legal services; legal education; and criminal justice advocacy; on the West Side of Chicago. 










Keywords: Chicago Police, Gang Database, ICE, Sheila Bedi, Vanessa del Valle

Posted in Press Releases & Statements