Union files lawsuit over Chicago Police Department’s new stun gun policy

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A lawsuit has been filed against the Chicago Police Department after it tightened its policy regarding officers’ use of stun guns without conferring with the city’s police union.

Rules for Chicago police have now been revised to discourage officers from using stun guns on people who are running away, intoxicated, or vulnerable to injury.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the issuance of new rules follows an August investigation by the newspaper into the department’s reliance on stun guns.

Following allegations of misuse of force, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson revised the policies of the department, introducing the new rules in May and implementing them in October.

Critics of the former policy contended that it was too permissive, while the union representing the rank-and-file police force claimed the department did not have the authority to enact new rules without its input.

The union has filed a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board, arguing that the Chicago Police Department violated its collective bargaining rights by implementing new policies without negotiating.

The Chicago Police Department is also facing a lawsuit filed by Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor, who is suing the department over its practices, and asserts that the new policy is not strict enough.

“They still refuse to stop telling … officers that it’s OK to Taser people who pose no immediate threat to anyone,” Futterman said. “You need hard and fast rules on this.”

Conversely, Geoffrey Alpert, an expert on the use of force and a criminal justice professor at the University of South Carolina, praised the department’s new policy but said it will not be effective without solid training, supervision and discipline.

Chicago police have acquired more stun guns over the last several years. According to Frank Giancamilli, a spokesman for the department, it had 745 stun guns in 2015 and now has approximately 4,000.

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