Apr. 26, 2005 – A Quaker peace organization has asked a federal court to order the Chicago Police Department to release all of its remaining records related to the department's covert infiltration of the group while it planned a November 2002 demonstration.
In a press statement released Monday, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), accused Chicago police of having "the most lax guidelines for investigation of lawful First Amendment activities of any law enforcement agency in the country."
"Without any public discussion or notice, the City has abandoned the traditional requirement of a connection between even a threat of crime and the investigation of persons and organizations engaged in political speech and association," the statement read.
The organizations pointed to a February 2004 internal Chicago Police Department audit that showed the department had placed undercover officers in small meetings in which AFSC members planned peaceful demonstrations during the 2002 Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) meeting held in Chicago. According to the ACLU, the audit suggested that police had "insufficient basis" for officers to attend the meetings organized by AFSC and other protest groups.
When the ACLU and AFSC asked for files related to the police investigations, they were told the records had been destroyed. The petition filed Monday asks for, among other things, the sharing of all remaining records with the groups.