January , 2019

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From: Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD)

CHICAGO, ILInspector General Joseph M. Ferguson announced that the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General will begin an investigation into the City of Chicago’s Gang Database. The investigation comes after a year-long campaign exposing the impact of the Gang Database on U.S.-born and immigrant communities of color.

The campaign included the case of Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, an immigrant facing deportation because of his erroneous inclusion in the database, and the comprehensive report, Tracked & Targeted: Early Findings on Chicago’s Gang Database, detailing how the Chicago Police Department makes use of the city’s database to police and profile high numbers of black and brown Chicagoans.

“The decision of the Office of Inspector General to investigate the City of Chicago for the use of the Gang Database confirms what our communities have been saying for months: That the Chicago Police Department has a dangerous tool they use to criminalize communities of color,” said Janae Bonsu, Policy Director for Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and principal author of the Report. “These practices have devastating effects on our communities, from decreasing job opportunities, to increasing risk of deportation. The database needs to be eliminated and we will continue to work to make sure that the City has policies that prioritize the safety of our communities instead of policing and incarceration,” she concluded.

The coalition of organizations calls on the Mayor of Chicago and the City Council to take action to protect its residents and put a moratorium on the sharing of information in the Gang Database with other agencies and stop adding names to the list, while the Office of the Inspector General’s investigation takes place.

“We welcome the investigation from the OIG. At the same time, our communities are in crisis and the City of Chicago has a responsibility to do what it can to keep us safe. Every day the Trump administration is sending immigration agents to target our families and neighbors. The Gang Database is literally a list that ICE uses to justify these attacks, and the City of Chicago has a responsibility to take action now,” stated Rosi Carrasco, member of Organized Communities Against Deportation, and undocumented organizer against the gang database.

According to an analysis of the Strategic Subject List, early 65,000 people in the Chicago area are gang affiliated.  74.5% of people listed as “gang affiliated” are Black, 21.4% are Latinx, 60.7% are less than 30 years old, and 96.9% are male. The campaign to end the Chicago Gang Database, has worked for the last year to research and expose the database, including releasing the Tracked & Targeted: Early Findings on Chicago’s Gang Database, report, and advocating with the City of Chicago to end the practice of tagging individuals as potential gang members.

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