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Federal Judge Cites Probable Cause in Upholding Investigative Alerts

Failure to include more than his own case in a Civil Rights claim over the legality of the Chicago Police Department’s investigative alert policy isn’t enough to prove that cops acted maliciously when the arrested Robert Taylor on weapons charges in 2011. This according to a ruling in US District Court that deemed the CPD’s policy of allowing cops to make arrests without witnessing suspects in the commission of a crime compliant with the Fourth Amendment. In place for better than two decades, investigative alerts have been the subject of legal challenges and public criticism because they require no warrant from a judge to be issued.

Robert Taylor sued police and the city for malicious prosecution under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act after he was arrested when an out-of-date alert hadn’t been cleared. However, federal Judge Manish Shah said that because his suit didn’t cite similar instances, Taylor failed to demonstrate deliberate indifference to search and seizure protections in the department’s policy.  Shah cited probable cause as key to the Constitutionality of alerts in an 11-page decision that differed from an opinion issued last year in state court. The 1st District Appellate Court held in People v. Bass that they must be supported by an affadavit or oath and affirmation. The Cook County State’s Attorney has appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court.