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DOJ Urged To Probe Human Rights Abuses in Elgin, Ill.
Racial Profiling, Bill of Attainder Alleged: City Said on Tyrannical Path
CHICAGO -- A leading human rights advocacy group this week filed a request with the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for an investigation into what appears to be a pattern and practice of civil rights abuses and misfeasance in public office by government officials in Elgin, Ill., a northwestern suburb of Chicago.
The letter, sent to Attorney General John Ashcroft on 5 February, indicates that the government may be retaliating against the group, the Institute of Human Rights, Inc., and its president, Gene Koprowski, due to a series of investigations, and a pro-bono lawsuit, conducted by the group.
According to the letter to Mr. Ashcroft, IHR has been conducting a more than three-month long investigation the city’s bill of attainder against Mr. William Whistle, owner of the B&L Rod and Gun Store. Bills of attainder are a violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. They are prohibited, for they suspend the rules of due process, and prosecute inviduals through the legislature. “My research has discovered that city officials have brazenly targeted this man’s business, and violated his civil rights in the process,” says the 5 February letter to Ashcroft. “I’ve also spoken out against ongoing racial discrimination by the city -- which is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice, on referral from HUD.”
As a result of this, according to the letter, the IHR president has been actively harassed by the government of the city of Elgin. “For example, this afternoon, I received a violent hang up on my voice answering machine. I traced the call -- and it was from the number of one of the attorneys for the city,” says the letter.
There has also been harassment conducted by third parties against IHR’s president. “Retaliation against those who speak out against civil rights abuses is a civil rights abuse,” says the letter. “I urge your office to investigate the illegal, civil rights violations carried out by the government of the City of Elgin.”
FOI ruling postponed until next month