CHICAGO—Chicago police officers of the 10th District, located on the city’s West Side in the North Lawndale community, are being investigated after disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct involving several officers and migrants were reported by the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.
Among the allegations of sexual misconduct, there are reports of a teenage migrant being pregnant by one of the officers. The police department was providing shelter to at least 40 families since March before the allegations. Once the news broke, the families were moved out of the police station and dispersed to various shelters across Chicago.
Chicago is one of several sanctuary cities that have received more than 11,000 migrants seeking asylum from Central and South America since 2022. With so many migrants inundating the city’s resources, multiple police stations became temporary shelters for nearly 800 men, women, and children.
Activists held a news conference outside of the 10th District police headquarters on July 7. Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef, founder of the Chicago Activist Coalition for Justice, spearheaded the news conference and called for the accused officers’ names to be released, and for all migrants to be moved out of all police departments.
“We’re calling for a thorough investigation but not just an investigation; we want these officers to be fired from their jobs. These officers are on desk duty right now, and that tells me the system is still giving favoritism to these types of individuals,” Rabbi Ben Yosef told The Final Call.
“We are asking for their names because the public needs to know who these people are. We need to know the perpetrators who are roaming our communities. They should not be able to go to another district or police station and pick up their jobs. We need accountability, immediate action.”
A police spokesperson confirmed the department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) are investigating the allegations, but would not confirm the age of the alleged victims or any further details.
“All allegations of this nature are of the highest priority and COPA will move swiftly to address any misconduct by those involved,” COPA First Deputy Chief Administrator Ephraim Eaddy said in a statement.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration released a statement stating, “The Johnson administration is intensely focused on the deeply troubling allegations. The administration is also committed to working with CPD to ensure there are protocols in place to keep migrants at police stations safe while they wait for more adequate shelter, and to hold any officers and/or staff involved accountable upon the determination of the investigation.”
U.S. Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, (D-Ill.), also released a statement that migrants came to Chicago to seek safety and stability. “Police officers are sworn to protect our communities, not engage in illegal sexual conduct with teenagers and others in their care. I expect the city’s investigation to be timely, thorough, transparent, and lead to accountability for all who are found guilty,” said Rep. Garcia.
For activist Rosemarie Dominguez, the allegations are troubling and numbing. “I am in disbelief but then again, given the history of the Chicago Police Department, it’s not surprising. Asylum seekers have no idea of where they’re going, and the police department is supposed to be a safe place. We come from a mentality that the system has failed us, these allegations are exacerbating that idea,” she said.
Chicago’s 25th Police District Council member Angelica Green stated, “These allegations are concerning and heartbreaking; there should be an immediate response to these allegations. To be in a vulnerable situation where you have already had come from circumstances that are unknown to any of us, and to come to another situation where you are taken advantage of is disgusting.”
(Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected].)