For the last year and a half, a group of community organizations has been working to research and expose the harm of Chicago's Gang Database in communities of color across the city, resulting in the campaign with Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez and the CPD's admission of wrongfully including him in the database, the release of important information about the database through various reports, and a growing number of Chicagoans becoming aware of this list, all leading to the Office of Inspector General investigation on the database.
"Superintendent Johnson is directly responsible for keeping the Gang Database secret and ignoring the harms it is causing our communities every day. We cannot trust him or the Chicago Police Department to be the ones to provide 'fixes' to a system that needs to be re-evaluated in its entirety," stated Reyna Wences, Organized Communities Against Deportations.
In addition to the report, the Campaign to End the Gang Database has issued a number of recommendations to the City of Chicago, which include:
Transparency about who is in the current gang database, informs the public of privacy and civil rights protections that exist, and reports on how effective it has been in increasing community safety.
Repair harm done to individuals, including removing individuals from the list ( by removing the gang-affiliation tags ), and working with organizations of people directly impacted by the policies to address harm and negative consequences of being listed in the gang database.
Stop adding new tags to the gang database until there is a real audit and consideration of the gang database.
Stop sharing the information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ), which is then used to inform their immigration raids.
"Problems with go Chicago's gang database go beyond just the misidentifications; it's also about the stigmatizing impact of gang designations and people's right to due process. Gang designations, regardless of its accuracy, can have adverse consequences for someone's interactions with employers, schools, and even landlords - this is counterintuitive to public safety," stated Janae Bonsu, Black Youth Project 100. "Other cities have figured out how to function without a gang database, and Chicago can as well," she concluded.
For more on what Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson got wrong about the gang database, visit: bit.ly/2INvPqA .