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Pro-Bono Lawyers, Affected Families Demand CPD Allow Arrestees to Call Legal Aid

Months of Fruitless Negotiations, Homan Sq Revelations, Lead Pro-Bono Legal Defense Organization to Demand Access to Detained Clients from Mayor

City government ignores a simple, home-grown solution to consistent & costly allegations of civil rights violations: Superintendent McCarthy, Emanuel and next Chicago mayor can act to ensure access to counsel for detainees; less that 1% had advocates present in 2013

CHICAGO, IL – Many cities have specific rules dictating how long police can detain people before they get telephone calls. Chicago’s lack of such strict rules has helped feed its notorious reputation as a locus for false confessions, torture, and illegal stops, particularly of youth of color, according to First Defense Legal Aid. People denied contact with their attorneys at Homan Square and elsewhere & pro bono attorneys not able to be contacted by people held in police stations

FDLA, in a press release, stated that recent revelations about Homan Square highlight these civil rights violations. In fact, CPD documented that less than 1% of arrestees had a lawyer at any point, in any CPD facility, in 2013. This includes juveniles. Civil rights violations not only harm arrestees and their families, but fuel the City’s well-publicized violence problem.

To advance public safety for all, FDLA stated, the CPD needs to institute the following today:

1) That arrestees will be granted phone calls within 2 hours of their arrest.

2) This right, as well as telephone numbers for available legal aid will be prominently displayed in easy view of all CPD detainees.

First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA) provides free, around-the-clock legal representation to people in Chicago Police custody when alerted at 1800LAWREP4 and educates Chicagoans about how to protect their constitutional rights. FDLA undertakes these activities to promote fairness and accountability in the justice system.

“I was taken to Homan Square last week. I asked for phone calls. They said only if & after you’re booked.” -Community Leader to Speak Out.

The protest will be held today, Tuesday, March 31st, at 2:30pm, the afternoon before the final mayoral debate at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, 5th floor, Chicago.

For more information, contact Eliza Solowiej, Executive Director, First Defense Legal Aid, 773.354.8581, eliza@first-defense.org

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