FOIA Week of Action: Find Out If CPD Added Your Information To Their Gang Database

From November 8 through November 23, join one of the many FOIA workshops around the city to find out if your information is on the Chicago Police Department’s gang database.

[ Why is this important? ]

Over 195, 000 people are listed on the Chicago Police Department’s gang database. — 95% of people in this list are Black or Latinx. Many of them are not aware that their information is on the Chicago Gang Database.

The Office of the Inspector General has called the gang database “incomplete and contradictory.” For years advocates have also pointed the system lacks transparency and accountability. Yet CPD continues to share people’s information with 500 other external agencies and federal law enforcement –which can affect housing, employment, parole, and immigration rulings.

Check out a FOIA Clinic Near You

HANA Center
Date: Friday, November 8, 2019
Schedule: Social at 4:30 pm
Workshop at 5:00 pm
Location: HANA Center (4300 N. California Ave, 2nd Floor)
Details: Organized by FYSH (Fighting Youth Shouting out for Humanity)

Enlace Chicago
Date: Saturday, November 9, 2019
Schedule: 4:00 pm
Location: Enlace Chicago Office (2329 S. Troy Ave)

Latino Union
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Schedule: Workshop at 6:00 pm
Location: Latino Union (4811 N. Central Park Ave)

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Schedule: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Location: Centro De Trabajadores (10638 S. Ewing Ave)

Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Schedule: Workshop at 6:00pm
Location: Second Federal Bank (2523 S. Pulaski Rd.)

UIC Policing in Chicago Research Group
Date: Monday November 18, 2019
Schedule: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: UIC Arab American Cultural Center
(701 S. Morgan St. – 111 Stevenson Hall)
Details: Organized in coordination with #StopCVE and #CIAOffCampus

Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Schedule: Workshop at 6:30pm
Location: SketchPad (4700 N. Ravenswood Ave)

Date: Saturday, November 23, 2019
Schedule: 3:00 pm
Location: BYP100 Office (239 E. 51st)

GD FOIA Week of Action Flyer - Updated

Accountability After Abolition – Report by the Policing Research Group in Chicago

In response to community demands for public accountability and for a responsible process of abolition that provides restitution to people harmed by the database, the Policing in Chicago Research Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago carried out an evaluation of RGID. We analyzed two partial versions of the RGID database (from June 2018 and January 2019), CCSO policies and procedures, data-sharing agreements with hundreds of external agencies, and thousands of pages of internal communications of the CCSO leading up to the decision to decommission the database. These documents were made available through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted by ProPublica and by the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University.

This report outlines what we know about RGID and the questions that remain.

Accountability After Abolition - Final Draft

New Report on Regional Gang Intelligence Database

On February 21, 2019 the coalition to Erase the Cook County Gang Database  successfully passed an Ordinance 19-0687, “To Prohibit the Use of the Terminated Regional Gang Intelligence Database (RGID) and Affiliated Data.” Since its passage the Ordinance prohibits the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) from adding more information to the RGID, sharing information the the database and it set up steps for the CCSO to follow in order to dismantle the gang database. Although the RGID is no longer active, community groups believe the harm these databases cause do not cease to exist when the information is destroyed. 

Today, community groups and researchers from the University of Chicago released a report into the RGID based on a  FOIA request for the final version of the Regional Gang Intelligence Database (RGID) when it was decommissioned on January 15, 2019.

RGID Report March 2019


What Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s Got Wrong on the Chicago Gang Database

What Superintendent Eddie Johnson Got Wrong on the Chicago Gang Database

Yesterday Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he has a plan to fix the Chicago Gang Database listing out a number of reforms that he said would fix the problems.

But “fixing” the database does not sufficiently address many of the harms caused by the gang database, including: increased criminal sentences, denial of bonds not requiring cash payment, housing discrimination, employment discrimination, and being targeted by immigration enforcement.

Here are 4 things that the Superintendent got wrong during his interview:

  • Superintendent Johnson’s plan to “tweak” the gang database would not have prevented the raid that occured at Wilmer Catalan Ramirez’s home in the Spring of 2017. Under Superintendent Johnson’s plan, Wilmer’s information would still have been shared with federal immigration agents, and he still would have been one of many people being targeted by ICE as part of a series of ‘gang operations.’ This  proposed “tweaking” by the head of the Chicago Police Department does nothing to address the fact that Chicagoans’ information is being shared with federal agencies and other law enforcement agencies every single day.


  • Superintendent’ Johnson’s plan does not apply to other law enforcement agencies, who can interpret and use the shared information at their discretion. Previously In Springfield, for example, contrary to federal law, local police officers who conducted criminal record checks of individuals applying for housing with the Springfield Housing Authority were reportedly also providing Housing Authority officials with information that included the suspected gang affiliations of applicants. It is not yet clear exactly if or how information on alleged gang affiliation is shared with potential employers in Chicago or Chicago Housing Authority.(1)


  • Superintendent Johnson claimed that the police department relies on tracking a person’s gang status to solve crime, but according to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Policing in Chicago Research Group “Tracked and Targeted” report, “While gangs are often blamed for gun violence in Chicago, 67.5% of the people identified as ‘gang affiliated’ on the SSL (Strategic Subject List) had no documented arrests for violent offenses or unlawful use of a weapon.” Again, raising the question of how exactly the use of the database by the Chicago Police Department helps in reducing gun violence and solve crime.


  • Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson claimed “we [CPD] recognize that some people may be misidentified.” The reality is that we do not know how many people are misidentified, as there has been no transparency, no notification process, and no checks and balances, and instead several cases of people who have suffered harsh consequences after being misidentified. In addition, the problem is broad — information obtained through a series of FOIA requests illustrate that the Chicago Police Department has been maintaining and mining information of over 128,000 people they have labeled as gang affiliated.

The Campaign to End the Chicago Gang Database is an open-source campaign by community, legal, research, and policy-organizations to expose and repair the harm of the gang database. Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), and Mijente have been leading a local campaign urging the city of Chicago expand what it means to be a “Sanctuary City” to protect immigrants and US born people of color, particularly those who are targeted by local police. Exposing and eliminating the gang database is a the top of the agenda. Find out more at:

(1)  UIC Policing in Chicago Research Group, “Tracked and Targeted: Early Findings on Chicago’s Gang Datbase”, page 10.