MAYOR EMANUEL ANNOUNCES AMICUS BRIEFS HAVE BEEN FILED IN SUPPORT OF CHICAGO’S LAWSUIT TO PREVENT PRESIDENT TRUMP’S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
FROM MAKING FEDERAL CRIME PREVENTION GRANTS CONDITIONAL
ON UNRELATED IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS
Chicago also applies for FY2017 Byrne JAG grant to expand ShotSpotter technology while making clear the City will not agree to unlawful new conditions attached to grant application
Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that a number of amicus briefs have been filed in support of Chicago’s lawsuit to prevent President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) from making a federal crime prevention grant that is critical to public safety efforts conditional on unrelated and unlawful immigration enforcement actions. The City of Chicago has applied for the FY2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program while making clear that the City will not agree to unlawful and unrelated new conditions attached to the federal grant by President Trump’s Justice Department.
“We will not allow President Trump’s Justice Department to blackmail us into abandoning our values as a welcoming city, violating the Constitution or undercutting the Police Department’s community policing strategy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Trump Administration’s actions are flagrantly unlawful and unconstitutional, which is why a significant number of cities, municipalities, counties, mayors, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and advocacy organizations from across the country are standing with Chicago in this important legal fight.”
A number of groups have filed amicus briefs, also known as friend of the court briefs, in support of Chicago’s lawsuit including: 37 cities, counties and municipalities across the country led by Santa Clara County, California and including New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, in addition to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and the International City/County Management Association; a group of 23 current and former law enforcement officials and prosecutors from around the United States; Cook County, Illinois; Erie House; the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition; the National Immigrant Justice Center; and the California State Legislature.
“The vast array of cities, counties, law enforcement officials and business interests that have filed amicus briefs in support of our lawsuit share more than our legal position, they share our values as a welcoming city and our dedication to community policing,” said Ed Siskel, Chicago Corporation Counsel. “The Trump Justice Department immediately started to backtrack on these unlawful and unconstitutional conditions in response to our complaint, and we are confident that our legal efforts will prevent the DOJ from forcing us to choose between our values and important public safety funds.”
Over the years, Chicago has used Byrne JAG funds in a number of ways to benefit public safety, including the purchase of SWAT equipment, police vehicles, radios and tasers. Yesterday, the Chicago Police Department submitted its application for FY2017 Byrne JAG grant funding, making clear that the City will not agree to unlawful and unrelated new conditions attached to the federal grant application. The Chicago Police Department (CPD) proposes using FY2017 JAG funding to expand ShotSpotter gunfire detection, one of the key components of the new, strategically located nerve centers that help police get ahead of crime and prevent violence from happening in the first place. The funding in this grant would allow CPD to add an additional 20.31 square miles to the ShotSpotter network in Districts 003 and 004, two police districts experiencing higher than average rates of gang and gun related crime.
“The funds from the Byrne JAG grant will help us to expand the technology that has helped to significantly reduce gun violence in Chicago this year,” said First Deputy Police Superintendent Kevin Navarro. “In order to sustain our progress, we need to expand our partnership with the communities we serve, that starts with building trust. Any obstacle to gaining that trust or the funds that will aid in our crime strategy will make it more difficult for Chicago police officers to do their jobs effectively and safely.”
Police nerve centers serve as dedicated intelligence hubs, where dedicated district leadership, crime analysts from CPD and the University of Chicago, and police officers monitor developments and gang conflicts in real-time, make fluid decisions regarding deployments, and allow CPD to make changes to their strategy as the situation dictates. The centers and its staff utilize historical crime data, input from ShotSpotter, video from pod cameras, and analyze them through HunchLab software to help police be more predictive, more proactive, and focus on the right people, at the right place, at the right time. For officers in the field, they will be able to access real-time intelligence information and instant notifications from ShotSpotter through mobile phones equipped with the software. This technology allows police to have access to a wide range of information at their fingertips and significantly cut down response times to shooting incidents which can make the difference between life and death and can increase the chances of capturing an offender.
On August 7, 2017, the City of Chicago filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump’s Justice Department for attaching unlawful and unconstitutional conditions to the FY2017 JAG application, including provisions to provide unlimited access to local police stations and law enforcement facilities by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel to interrogate arrestees and the requirement that cities provide DHS with at least a 48 hour notice prior to an arrestee’s release, which would require detaining residents longer than is permissible under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. President Trump’s Justice Department filed its response to the lawsuit on August 24, 2017, in which the Administration announced that it was changing the conditions to avoid the Fourth Amendment problems identified by the City’s lawsuit. Further, the judge made it clear, and the DOJ agreed, that while this litigation is pending, the City would be able to submit the 2017 JAG application without certifying its compliance with these new, unlawful conditions.
Yesterday, the City of Chicago filed the reply brief to support its motion for a preliminary injunction. Like the original lawsuit, the reply further establishes the reasons the DOJ’s conditions are invalid and unconstitutional; argues that the Byrne JAG statute contains no authorization for the conditions, and DOJ offers no authority for the conditions in the grant statute; and states that DOJ’s position also contradicts the Byrne JAG statute, which expressly restricts the Attorney General’s authority to limit Byrne JAG grant funds for specific purposes favored by the Attorney General. The reply also states that Chicago would be irreparably harmed without a preliminary injunction, and that a nationwide injunction is necessary to protect all Byrne JAG grant recipients across the country from the invalid and unconstitutional conditions placed on the grant.