In 2007, Jamie Kalven and Craig Futterman filed a lawsuit to force the city to release complaint records against the Chicago Police Department. A team of civil rights attorneys and advocates fought in court for the next seven years.
Before the lawsuit was filed, Kalven and Futterman were litigating on behalf of a woman named Diane Bond. She had been assaulted by a group of CPD Public Housing officers known as the Skullcap Crew. Her lawsuit against the officers began in 2004, and the story is chronicled in Kalven’s narrative series Kicking The Pigeon.
In 2014 the Illinois Appellate Court issued an opinion making police misconduct records public across the state of Illinois. That began the fight to force the CPD to release these records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. The legal fight included a detour into an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by the Fraternal Order of Police demanding the City destroy old complaint records and an emergency injunction forcing CPD to notify the public before destroying complaint records. In 2016, the courts rejected the FOP’s argument -- another major open records victory.
To read more about the legal process and results:
Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute Citizens Police Data Project.
Jamie Kalven, CPD documents are now public.
New York Times, Chicago Revamps Investigation Into Police Abuse