WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 27, 2014) — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and its Chicago-based affiliates — the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (AABA), Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (CABA), and Korean American Bar Association of Chicago (KABA) — along with the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA) and the Indian-American Bar Association of Chicago (IABA) express concern over the actions of certain Chicago police officers captured by recently-released video surveillance, which depicts officers using racist and anti-immigrant language during an arrest last summer.
“The actions shown in the video raise questions about how people of color and immigrants, particularly those who are limited English proficient, are treated by Chicago police officers,” said Bill Simonitsch, president of NAPABA. “We urge Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to fully investigate this incident and work with the local Asian Pacific American community to ensure that immigrants and all people of color feel protected by local law enforcement officials.”
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court on May 14, 2014, Chicago police officers verbally harassed and physically abused a Chinese American spa manager during a raid on a local business in July 2013. The security video shows officers entering the spa, apprehending the woman and striking her while she was kneeling and handcuffed. Police officers can be heard on the video making racist and anti-immigrant remarks during the arrest. One officer refused to believe that the woman was an American citizen and told her “You’re not f—— American! I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f— you came from.”
NAPABA, AABA, CABA, KABA, FALA, and IABA urge the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department to fully investigate the specific allegations raised by the video, determine whether any systemic problems of official misconduct exist, and take appropriate action to ensure that all visitors and residents, regardless of gender, race, national origin, immigration status, or English proficiency, feel welcome and safe in the City of Chicago.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 68 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.