CHICAGO — Members of the City Council’s Latino Caucus criticized the Chicago Police Department’s involvement in a raid that left an undocumented mother of three arrested and detained earlier this month in Pilsen.
In a statement, the 12-member caucus said, “the racist policies of the Trump administration came to the forefront yet again, and our membership refuses to stand by and watch the proud history of immigrant America be crushed.”
The Latino Caucus includes Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd), Ald. Silvana Tabares (23), Ald. Daniel Solis (25th) and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).
On Monday, Solis filed a complaint with the the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the city’s inspector general arguing the police violated the city’s sanctuary ordinance when they raided a Pilsen mini-mart and detained a store clerk.
At 8:30 a.m. Aug. 1, local and federal officers raided the convenience store at the corner of 18th and Ashland, Solis said. The raid was triggered by a complaint that counterfeit sports jerseys and hats were being sold at Amego Mini Mart, 1724 S. Ashland Ave. During the operation, police seized 500 alleged counterfeit sports items, the caucus member said.
Federal authorities, who were a part of the investigation working with CPD, the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, the city’s Department of Health and the Cook County Intellectual Property Task Force, questioned a store employee during the raid, who was arrested and detained, Solis and police said.
According to the complaint filed by Solis and those familiar with the case, the operation involved 25 police officers, 15 squad cars, “at least one county sheriff, two people from the state attorney’s office, two people from Homeland Security and a number of people from the city including Business Affairs, Health and Building.”
The store clerk, an undocumented mother of three, was arrested by Homeland Security and is being detained at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center at the McHenry County Jail, according to the complaint.
The Latino Caucus said it’s seeking two actions to prevent another raid resulting in detaining undocumented immigrants. The caucus wants to require Chicago Police and officers of the Cook County Sheriffs Department to be “properly and competently trained in the law of the land.”
The members also want to amend the Welcoming City Ordinance to prevent incidents like the August 1 raid.
The ordinance limits interactions police and other city employees have with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The caucus vowed to “fight back” if ICE was invited by the police department to participate in the raid.
Solis and members of the Latino Caucus also criticized the use of taxpayer dollars on the operation that resulted in the confiscation of the sports jerseys and hats.
“Twenty-five police officers and 15 police vehicles were used to pick up a few fake t-shirts. … Why these officers were being used on t-shirts while our City is in the middle of a crime epidemic is a question that needs an answer,” the Latino Caucus wrote.
Caucus members vowed to work to ensure this “never happens again.”
“Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, one fact is clear; valuable public safety resources were misused in Pilsen on August 1st and all Chicagoans should be very angry about that fact,” the statement read.
In an email statement, a Chicago Police Department spokesman said the detention of the undocumented woman “was never the intended outcome.”
“We’re not happy about it and CPD will work with the city law department to explore what options are available to us as a city,” the statement continued. “Under no circumstance does or will CPD conduct any type of immigration enforcement and we do not partner with any immigration enforcement efforts.”
The police department said it “stands firmly behind Chicago’s Welcoming City ordinance because it is integral to our community policing philosophy.”
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