Illinois Legislator Calls for Lawsuits as DWB Bill Stalls
CHICAGO — A story in today’s Chicago Sun-Times reported that a Chicago state legislator told suburban leaders Saturday that it’s time for minorities victimized by unnecessary police stops to start suing government agencies.
State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), speaking to a group of Lake County leaders gathered to discuss suburban racial problems and other issues, said if the state legislature won’t pass her racial profiling bill, it may be time to take the issue to court.
“I would urge anyone who feels they have been racially profiled to start filing the lawsuits,” Davis said. “If Pate Philip does not pass this bill, then we may have to sue and say: ‘I’m offended. I’m harmed. And I want to be paid for it.'”
The Sun-Times reported that Illinois Senate President James “Pate” Phillip’s (R) spokeswoman, Patty Schuh, said Saturday she couldn’t say specifically why the bill was held up in the Senate, but that members of the law enforcement community had expressed concerns about it.
Davis’ legislation, which was passed in the House earlier this year, would require state troopers to record the race of a person who is the subject of a traffic stop when no arrest is made.
Saturday’s conference, meanwhile, was hailed by those present as a step toward addressing concerns of minority communities in the suburbs. Sparked by recent allegations of racial profiling by police in Highland Park and other communities, as well as a cross-burning in Wonder Lake, the event was sponsored by the Lake County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and several other community groups.
Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Waller said the discussions about racial profiling were particularly valuable for him.
“I did a lot of listening,” Waller said. “It gave me a better understanding of the problem from an African-American perspective.”
Mary Lockhart-White, a Waukegan resident and deputy executive director of Lake County Community Action, said she attended as an African-American mom interested in making Lake County a better place for everyone to live.
“It’s a good place to live,” she said. “I think there are some things hidden that people don’t want to talk about. But we can address them together.”
(More information about racial profiling concerns in Illinois is available at: http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w060800a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w041000d.html , http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w040600a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w032500b.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/n030300a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w021200c.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w011100a.html, http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w010700a.html, and http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/w011900a.html
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