BGA Files Transparency Lawsuit Against Chicago Police Department

The Better Government Association filed a lawsuit challenging the Chicago Police Department's refusal to release documents the public has a right to review under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

The Better Government Association filed a lawsuit challenging the Chicago Police Department's refusal to release documents the public has a right to review under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court today (January 5), asks the court to compel the CPD to release information about the size and the cost of the police security detail assigned to Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th Ward), chairman of the Chicago City Council's committee on finance. Burke is the only Chicago alderman with a police security detail at his disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

"We're not trying to jeopardize Alderman Burke's safety or put him at risk," BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw said. "This is a transparency issue.

"The public has a right to ask if this is a proper use of police manpower and local tax dollars at a time when there aren't enough police officers on the street to protect regular citizens or enough tax dollars to provide basic city services?

"We can't answer those questions, or address the underlying issue—whether any Chicago alderman needs a security detail made up of sworn police officers—without accurate information about the number of officers who protect Burke over the course of the year and the number of tax dollars dedicated to the security detail."

The suit was filed by the BGA's pro bono lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. A copy of the complaint, and the exhibits, is viewable here: