Immigrant sues Chicago, police for placing his name in gang database


A Gage Park man who is scheduled to be deported later this month was denied immigration relief after Chicago police erroneously placed his name in its gang database, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Luis Vicente Pedrote-Salinas, 25, who has lived in the country illegally since he was 5, says he was falsely identified as a gang member because of his race, ethnicity, age and neighborhood.

Pedrote-Salinas was 19 when he was arrested in January 2011 for having an unopened can of beer in his car. He spent a night in jail, but the charges against him were later dismissed, according to the lawsuit.

In August 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided Pedrote-Salinas' home and arrested him during an operation targeting foreign-born members of Chicago street gangs. He was detained at McHenry County Jail for more than a week and spent six months in a Texas detention center.

Attorney Vanessa del Valle said agents wrongly targeted her client because his name was in the Chicago Police Department's gang database.

"Individuals are included in the gang database without any notification by CPD and then they are not allowed any opportunity to contest their inclusion in the gang database," she said. "Chicago cannot truly be a sanctuary city until CPD ends this practice."

The lawsuit says that authorities violated Pedrote-Salinas' right to due process by characterizing him as a gang member and that the manner in which CPD gathers and disseminates information about gang membership violates the Illinois Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial and ethnic discrimination.

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