The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

How to File a Police Brutality Complaint in Chicago

What is it about Chicago that seems to attract police brutality cases? Is it the exponentially high murder rates that are plaguing certain neighborhoods of this toddlin' town? Or is it just a bunch of cops with bad attitudes and poor training?

In the last few months, we've seen a miscarriage allegedly caused by excessive force, the settlement of a decades-old police-sanctioned torture lawsuit, and at least seven other tales of Chicagoland cops behaving badly. (There were more out there, of course, but we're a personal injury blog, not a police brutality blog.)

So what do you do when the cops take things a little too far?

Aside from considering a lawsuit, you should also file a police brutality complaint with the City of Chicago. This is for any alleged police misconduct, from drug use to police abuse. The Independent Police Review Authority provides many different ways to file a complaint:

  • Via Telephone: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., 7 days a week
    • Complaint Line: (312) 746-3594
    • TTY Number: (312) 745-3593
    • Voicemail is available after business hours.
  • In person: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week
    • 1615 W. Chicago Ave.
      4th Floor
      Chicago, IL 60622
  • By mail at the above address:
    • There is no set form. All you need to do is write a letter with details of the misconduct and contact information for the person making the complaint.
  • Complain to any CPD supervisor at any district station:
    • Supervisors are required to hear the complaint, write a written report including all pertinent information, and call it in to the IPRA's hotline.
  • Over the Internet:
    • The way of the future! Fill out an online form, get a complaint number, and await a response. You should get a letter back within five to seven working days acknowledging your complaint.
  • Via E-mail:

Of course, use your judgment when choosing which method to pursue. A cynical person would presume that filing a complaint with a CPD supervisor in person, especially if the CPD supervisor plays poker with the offending officer, is going to be less effective than filing a complaint over the internet with the Independent Police Review Authority.

Speaking of the IPRA, they investigate certain misconduct claims, including excessive or deadly force, domestic violence, verbal abuse based on bias, and coercion by a member of the Chicago Police Department. Any other claims (such as an officer's drug problem) are forwarded to internal affairs.

As for lawsuits, an experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through the process. You can also peruse our blog for any of the dozens of police brutality and excessive force stories to learn about the most common claims brought, such as a Section 1983 claim or false arrest.

The post is part of FindLaw's Legal U series. We are working to help you learn what to do in your city to cope with some of the legal problems, questions, or issues that come up in daily life.

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