Jamie Kalven joins other Chicago journalists in lawsuit against CPD

Staff Writer

Jamie Kalven, award winning journalist and human rights activist alongside the Chicago Sun-Times and other journalists have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department (CPD) according to an announcement released on Tuesday, June 7.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the Chicago-Suntimes, Kalven, and other journalists Brandon Smith, and George Joseph claims that CPS is withholding information about an algorithm that determines what citizens ends up on the Strategic Subject List, which is known as a “heat list.”

The “heat list” according to the news release “is a controversial computerized prediction of people allegedly likely to be a victim or perpetrator of gun violence.”

“We have learned too many times that a lack of transparency into the Chicago Police Department leads to unconstitutional policing and violations of civil rights,” said Matthew Topic of Loevy & Loevy, the civil rights law firm handling the case in a written statement. “While novel forms of policing like this aren’t necessarily bad, it’s crucial that the public know how these lists are generated and whether they result in discrimination and civil rights violations.”

Smith was the journalist whose FOIA lawsuit led to the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in November 2015.

Kalven, founder of the Hyde Park – based Invisible Institute, was the plaintiff in the 2014 decision of the Illinois appellate court Kalven v. City of Chicago. The ruling from the case established that closed investigations of police misconduct are public information.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of another suit filed by Kalven in March of this year against the CPD. He is suing the department for withholding investigation records into the cover up of Officer Jason Van Dyke’s killing of Laquan McDonald.

The lawsuit is as a result of CPD’s denial of a record request in November of last year Kalven submitted under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Kalven is seeking records from a probe into the department’s handling of the 2014 police shooting.

The Office of the Inspector General of Chicago at the request of the Independent Police Review Authority (IRPA), CPD Superintendent conducted the misconduct investigation.

According to the suit, the Inspector General’s investigation found that at least 11 officers and supervisors were involved in the cover-up of the shooting of McDonald and had committed serious misconduct.

The Inspector General provided final reports of his investigations into the officers involved in the McDonald case to the CPD, but CPD denied Kalven’s request of these records stating that investigations by the Inspector General are exempt under the Illinois FOIA.