Police Put Immigrant Father in Gang Database After Traffic Stop
Documents released to Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez’s family reveal the circumstances that led four Chicago Police Officers to identify the immigrant father of three as a gang member leading Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents (ICE) to raid his home and detain him. The four Chicago Police Officers named during these interactions were recently added to the ongoing federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago for their responsibility in the detention and potential deportation of Catalan-Ramirez.
Chicago, IL – Information regarding the four contact cards for Mr. Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez was released by federal court in an ongoing lawsuit showing that the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) are responsible for maintaining a gang database that lacks any due process, is arbitrary, and contains false information.
The contact cards contained the names of four police officers responsible for labeling Mr. Catalan Ramirez as a gang member, which led immigration agents to Mr. Catalan-Ramirez’s home where he was taken and placed into deportation. Chicago Police Officers Ryan King, Tomas Rosales, Angel Colon, and Samuel Lopez, were recently added to Mr. Catalan Ramirez’s lawsuit against the City of Chicago as the individuals who “wrongfully labeled Mr. Catalan-Ramirez as a Chicago street gang member and included him in CPD’s Gang Database,” reads the amended complaint filed by the MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
“The City of Chicago and those police officers are responsible for my husband’s detention and separation from his children,” said Ms. Celene Adame, Mr. Catalan-Ramirez’s partner and a member of Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD). “The Chicago Police judge how we dress, how we talk, where we live who we talk to, the color of our skin. Instead of investigating, they make assumptions about us and do not give us chances to defend ourselves by putting us on their lists,” she stated.
“Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department are directly responsible for Wilmer’s detention and for putting our community members at risk,” explained Xanat Sobrevilla, who has been working closely with Catalan-Ramirez’s family on behalf of OCAD since he was detained. “Actions of these police officers in Wilmer’s case show why the entire gang database needs to be reviewed and taken apart, particularly at a time when the Trump administration is using this information to target our communities,” she concluded.
The amended complaint includes specific information regarding the events that led Mr. Catalan-Ramirez to be placed in the Chicago Gang Database, and include that:
- On June 16, 2015, CPD Officers Ryan King and Tomas Rosales approached Mr. Catalan-Ramirez while he was outside his home in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. According to the Officers, the reason for stopping Mr. Catalan-Ramirez was because he was loitering with another individual in a known Latin Saint street gang/narcotic area and an area of recent gang violence. As the lawsuit explains, Mr. Catalan-Ramirez was in actuality spending time with his friends and their children outside. The Defendant Officers subsequently filled out a contact card in which they labeled Mr. Catalan-Ramirez a Latin Saints gang member and entered his information into CPD’s Gang Database.
- A subsequent entry in CPD’s gang database on November 21, 2016, lists Mr. Catalan-Ramirez as a Satan Disciple gang member. The Satan Disciples and the Latin Saints are rival gangs; both claim territory in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. On that day, Mr. Catalan-Ramirez was in his vehicle driving a few blocks from his home when CPD Officers Angel Colon and Samuel Lopez pulled him over for allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign. The Defendant Officers proceeded to arrest Mr. Catalan-Ramirez for failing to stop at a stop sign and driving on a suspended license. The Officers then entered Mr. Catalan-Ramirez’s information into CPD’s gang database and labeled him as a Satan Disciple.
The amended lawsuit explains that the four CPD officers “wrongly assumed Mr. Catalan-Ramirez was a gang member because he was a young Latino who lived in a neighborhood that is considered to be gang territory.” It also points out that none of the officers gave Mr. Catalan-Ramirez a chance to look at any evidence against him or the chance to defend himself, and did not inform him of being listed as a suspected gang member by Chicago police.
Community organizations part of the Campaign to Expand Sanctuary are advocating for a review of the way in which Chicago Police officers identify individuals as gang members and how this information is shared with ICE and used to target individuals like Mr. Catalan Ramirez for deportation. Mr. Catalan-Ramirez is represented in the lawsuit by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. Celene Adame, his partner and mother to their children, has been an outspoken advocate as part of the campaign to expose the workings of the Chicago Gang Database and in support of her husband. She is a member of OCAD.
Read the amended complaint below:
See Contact Cards from the Chicago Police Department Below