U.S. District Court Grants Summary Judgment & a Permanent Injunction in favor of Chicago, Denies Trump Justice Department’s Motion to Dismiss the Lawsuit
CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—July 27, 2018
By: Rosemary Piser
Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the City of Chicago has won its challenges against all of President Donald Trump’s Justice Department’s new conditions on a major 2017 federal public safety grant in an attempt to penalize welcoming cities like Chicago. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber granted summary judgment in favor of the City of Chicago, granted a permanent injunction against all three grant conditions and denied the Trump Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. This is the eighth time a federal court has ruled against the Trump Administration in its attempts to punish cities by withholding federal funds.
Mayor Emanuel said, “Today’s opinion in favor of Chicago and against the Trump Justice Department marks a major win for all Chicagoans and a significant victory for public safety. We will never be coerced or intimidated into abandoning our values as a welcoming city. Welcoming immigrants, refugees and dreamers from every corner of the globe is part of Chicago’s history, and part of our future, no matter which way the political winds are blowing in Washington.”
“This ruling is yet another significant legal victory for Chicago and reaffirms the City’s position that the Attorney General lacks the authority to create the grant conditions we have challenged,” said Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel.
The ruling is the latest victory in a legal battle that began in August 2017. In September 2017, Judge Leinenweber granted the City of Chicago’s request for a nationwide preliminary injunction against two new conditions imposed on FY2017 JAG funds. The Attorney General appealed that ruling, and a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously concluded that the conditions are unlawful.
Over the years, Chicago has used Byrne JAG funds in a number of ways to benefit public safety, including the purchase of SWAT equipment, police vehicles, radios and tasers. On August 31, 2017, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) submitted its application for FY2017 Byrne JAG grant funding, making clear that the City will not agree to unlawful and unrelated new conditions attached to the federal grant application. CPD proposes using FY2017 JAG funding to expand ShotSpotter gunfire detection, one of the key components of the new, strategically located nerve centers that help police get ahead of crime and prevent violence from happening in the first place. The funding in this grant would allow CPD to add an additional 20.31 square miles to the ShotSpotter network in Districts 003 and 004, two police districts experiencing higher than average rates of gang and gun related crime.
Chicago’s Welcoming City ordinance prioritizes effective local law enforcement and crime prevention over federal civil immigration issues. This ordinance promotes public safety by ensuring that no city resident, regardless of their status, is afraid to cooperate with law enforcement, report criminal activity to the police, serve as a witness in court, or seek help as a victim of crime.