Criminal Justice Reform Bill (HB 3653) Part 4: Municipal Liability

January 20, 2021

On January 13, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed HB 3653, a police and criminal justice reform bill, and awaits signature by the Governor. The IML provided a comprehensive summary of the bill, which can be found here. HCB looked closely at the 764-page bill and reported on portions that may impact law enforcement and local governments.

Our fourth and final installment looks at the bill’s impact on municipal liability:

Body Cameras

The bill amends the Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera Act to require all agencies to employ the use of officer-worn body cameras by January 1, 2025 (50 ILCS 706/10-15). The rollout is staged over several years, depending on the size of the local agency. Funding is not specified in the bill, but the agency’s compliance with the mandate is considered when allocating grant funding.

National Use of Force Database

The Department of State Police must participate in the FBI National Use of Force Database and promulgate rules within 90 days which outline the use of force information required to be submitted monthly by each law enforcement agency in the State (50 ILCS 709/5-11).

AG Right of Action

The bill amends the Attorney General Act to add a new section authorizing the AG to investigate and prosecute “a pattern or practice of conduct by officers that deprives any person of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States or by the Constitution or laws of Illinois” (15 ILCS 205/10). Although this section does not define “pattern or practice,” the same term is used in federal courts to describe municipal liability under Monell to show constitutional violations by an entity (rather than an individual).

The AG has the authority to seek equitable and declaratory relief (including any permanent or preliminary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other order, including an order enjoining the defendant from engaging in such violation or ordering any action as may be appropriate) and a civil penalty in an amount not exceeding $25,000 per violation, or if the defendant has been adjudged to have committed one other civil rights violation under this Section within 5 years of the occurrence of the violation that is the basis of the complaint, in an amount not exceeding $50,000. The bill creates a 5 year statute of limitations for AG actions under this section.

Please contact us if you have any concerns regarding the new bill, or have any questions as to how your municipality or department must comply with the new standards set forth in the new bill.

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