Seventh Circuit Holds That One Does Not Have the Right to Sue to Force the Chicago Police to Remove False Entries Re: Criminal History From Your Police File.

In this case, the police arrested the plaintiff as being a suspect in a series of bank robberies. They held him for over 50 hours. He sued the officers individually, recovering compensatory damages for his prolonged detention. He pursued several claims against the City pursuant to Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), claiming that certain City of Chicago policies led to his false identification and detention.

All of the Monell claims were dismissed and the 7th Circuit affirmed the dismissal unanimously, with respect to all but one claim.

That claim indicates that the police have still listed the plaintiff as involved in the robberies in their files. He sued to seek a change so that there’s no mistake in the future in e.g., a traffic stop of the plaintiff. The Seventh Circuit denied relief.

The dissent, citing statistics regarding police stops, opined that this claim should be allowed to go forward. The dissent sided with the plaintiff, that, in light of statistics re: unconstitutional police stops and recent publicized incidents of shootings of African Americans in traffic stops, stated that these false entries should not just be allowed to continue.

The case is Swanigan v. City of Chicago, 16-1568.

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