ACLU Files Lawsuit Over City's Police Deployments To Minority Neighborhoods

10/27/2011 05:52 pm ET | Updated Dec 27, 2011

The ACLU of Illinois on Thursday announced that they are suing the city of Chicago because they allege that response times to emergency calls in high-crime areas of the city with larger black and Hispanic populations are slower than in white-majority areas, violating the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003.

The lawsuit claims that Chicago officials have "failed to deploy police equitably across the City's many diverse neighborhoods." Suing on behalf of themselves and the Central Austin Neighborhood Association (CANA) community group, they claim that recent coverage by the Chicago News Cooperative and the Chicago Sun-Times has shown that the city's minority neighborhoods have a disproportionately low number of police officers than white districts.

"It is widely known that 9-1-1 calls are more likely to go without response in minority neighborhoods when compared to white neighborhoods," ACLU of Illinois legal director Harvey Grossman said in a statement. "For too long, the City has hoarded the information that would have revealed the full scope of this problem. Now that we are seeing data, it is time to take definitive steps to correct the problem."

Ron Reed, a CANA representative who lives in the city's Austin neighborhood, said in a news conference that, "Over the past several years I have personally and repeatedly dialed 911 to report illegal activity outside our home, on our block and in our community. ... Time and again, we call the police and they rarely respond," according to NBC Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday defended the deployment of Chicago police throughout the city, though he admitted that redeploying officers to the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods remains a work in progress.

"I'm not done. ... in looking to see if we need to put more officers where we have a crime problem," Emanuel told the Chicago News Cooperative. "We have applied more resources to the areas that need them and we are not done."

Instead of asking for money, the lawsuit is asking for the city to submit a plan concerning how it will ensure the equal access to police resources throughout the city, CBS Chicago reports.

Photo by Zol87 via Flickr.