Know Your Rights: Dealing with CPD

Welcome to my new weekly series "Know Your Rights." The topic of this week is the infamous Chicago Police Department. Considering there might be some heightened protester/officer altercations due to the teacher's strikes, this information could not come at a more timely occasion.

If you live in Chicago, chances are you have had a run-in with a CPD officer. It could have been pleasant or one of your worst experiences. If you had a bad experience, it could have been due to your inability to handle the situation due to lack of information about your rights. Many people do not know what the CPD can or cannot do. Here are some guidelines offered by the National Lawyer’s Guild Chicago to help make any future meetings as legal as possible.

Things CPD Can Do

  1. It is at the CPD police officer(s) discretion to arrest or issue a citation.
  2. If there is reasonable suspicion, they can ask for information regarding your identity.
  3. A CPD officer can charge you with battery or assault, if you resist arrest or touch them inappropriately.


  1. CPD arresting officers cannot charge you with felonies. Only prosecutors can do that.
  2. They cannot/do not have to read you the Miranda rights.
  3. Police Officers cannot ask questions about your immigration status.

Rights You Have

  1. The most important one is you have the right to remain silent, but it is not automatic and must be asserted verbally (i.e. you must say it loud and clear at the time of arrest). “I AM GOING TO REMAIN SILENT. I WANT TO SEE A LAWYER.” Try to use that EXACT phrasing.
  2. You can ask if you are free to go, if you are stopped on the streets. If the answer is yes, chances are you can begin to walk away.
  3. You are allowed to deny consent to a search of your person or possessions. Again, this right must be stated verbally loud and clear.  “I DO NOT CONSENT TO A SEARCH.” It also might not stop the police from searching you.
  4. You also have the right to ask for the officer(s) name(s) and badge number(s).
  5. You are also allowed to photograph or record without sound police actions.


Read more about CPD:

CPD's New Transgender Policy.

Supporting the Police Union.

Security Fee for More Cops.

And more about your rights in Chicago:

Tenants and Landlords.

Employment Discrimination.


Religious Discrimination.

If there's any area you would like me to write a post about email me @

Filed under: Police

Tags: Chicago Police Department, CPD

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