Invisible Institute Wins Knight News Challenge on Data by Darryl Holliday

CHICAGO -- The Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on the South Side of Chicago, has been named one of 17 winners of the Knight News Challenge on Data, which asked for ideas that make data work for individuals and communities. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the nation’s leading funder of journalism and media innovation, awarded the creative nonprofit $400K to continue to develop its Citizens Police Data Project -- the largest interactive database of police misconduct. Knight Foundation made the announcement today at a convening at Civic Hall in New York.

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Chicago After Laquan McDonald: Rebuilding the Trust by Darryl Holliday

Jamie Kalven was on a panel of journalists and policing professionals January 7, 2016, at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. The conversation, “Chicago After Laquan McDonald: Rebuilding the Trust,” included retired St. Louis Chief of Police Daniel Isom, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell and Kate Grossman as moderator.

See the full conversation below:

Jamie Kalven at the Chicago Urban League by Darryl Holliday

Jamie Kalven spoke at the Chicago Urban League for “Truth and Justice for All: Advancing Police and Community Accountability” panel, which examined the need for improved policing practices by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) following the deaths of Laquan McDonald and Ronald Johnson. 


On December 9, the Chicago Urban League (CUL) brought together leading voices on social justice and legal issues for a critical discussion on how to reform the CPD and why reform is necessary. Kalven was joined by the following speakers:

Lorenzo Davis, former Chicago Police Department investigator
Craig Futterman, Clinical Professor of Law, The University of Chicago, and Founder, Civil Rights Accountability Project  
Trina Reynolds, Black Youth Project 100
Shari Runner, Interim President & CEO, Chicago Urban League
Paul Strauss, Co-Director of Litigation for the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Director of the CLC’s Employment Opportunities Project
Rufus Williams, President and CEO of BBF Family Services

Invisible Institute Wins Sidney Award by Darryl Holliday

We're happy to announce that the Invisible Institute has won the December 2015 Sidney Award for the Citizens Police Data Project (CPDP), an interactive database of 56,000 complaint records for more than 8,500 Chicago police officers.

The Sidney is awarded monthly to an outstanding piece of journalism that appeared in the prior month and includes past winners such as The New York TimesProPublicaBuzzFeed and many others.

Many thanks to The Sidney Hillman Foundation — we'll eagerly await our bottle of union-made wine.


IPRA in the Chicago Reporter by Invisible Institute

In June, the Chicago Reporter made public a video of police officer Marco Proano opening fire on a moving car containing six unarmed black teenagers at 95th and LaSalle streets. On July 29, the City Council approved a $360,000 settlement to three of the teens, two of whom were injured. What the intrepid Reporter didn’t know when they broke the story was that Proano had shot and killed a 19-year-old black youth named Niko Husband almost two years earlier on July 17, 2011.

The Chicago Independent Police Review Authority's practice of not including the names of officers involved in shootings in the information it releases is inconsistent with prevailing standards of transparency established by the 2014 Illinois Appellate Court decision in Kalven v. Chicago—a FOIA case in which Invisible Institute founder Jamie Kalven was the plaintiff—and adopted by the city in its policy for implementing that decision.

This is an easy fix. There are no legal or technical impediments to immediately adding the names to the investigation summaries. The Proano episode dramatizes what is at stake. Whether inadvertently or by design, essential public information was withheld from the public. IPRA should move immediately to make sure this never happens again.

Read our full story in the Chicago Reporter.

Chicago Police Department dashboard camera footage shows an officer opening fire on unarmed teenagers in a moving vehicle.

Chicago Police Department dashboard camera footage shows an officer opening fire on unarmed teenagers in a moving vehicle.


Notes on the Youth/Police Project by Jamie Kalven

For the past four years, the Mandel Clinic and the Invisible Institute have been engaged in an inquiry into youth-police interactions on the South Side of Chicago. Initially, the aim of the project was to introduce high-school students to practical applications of civil rights law. Toward that end, we conducted workshops in a variety of venues – classrooms, after-school programs, anywhere that would have us.

Over time, it became apparent we had more to learn from the teenagers we were addressing than we had to teach them.

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Sixteen Shots by Jamie Kalven

An autopsy tells a story. The genre is mystery: a narrative set in motion by a corpse. The pathologist-narrator investigates the cause of death in precise, descriptive prose that ultimately allows the dead to testify about what happened to them. In the case of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black youth killed by Chicago police on Oct. 20, 2014, the autopsy raises questions not only about how he died, but about how the Chicago Police Department has handled the case since. While it does not provide all the details of what transpired that night, the autopsy makes one thing clear: The account of the incident given by the police cannot be true.

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Youth/Police Conference by Jamie Kalven

The Conference grows out of a collaborative project, developed by the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School and the Invisible Institute, that focuses on everyday encounters – on the countless interactions between teenagers and police that take place daily in cities across the country.  Our methodology has been simple.  We have talked extensively with Chicago inner city youth.  And we have listened.  We have avoided conventional policy frames – e.g., “stop and frisk” – and instead have asked the teenagers we work with to describe their encounters with the police in their own words, to tell us how those encounters make them feel, and to reflect on how their experiences with the police shape their behavior.

We have learned a great deal. 

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NPR Photo Essay by Patricia Evans by Rajiv Sinclair

On December 23rd, the National Public Radio website featured a photo essay on the fate of Chicago's high-rise public housing. Designed by our former colleague David Eads and Helga Salinas of NPR, the essay is composed of photographs by Patricia Evans of the Invisible Institute.  Here is their evocation of a lost world.

A Community Forum on the University of Chicago Police Department by Jamie Kalven

Jean Cochrane, “Sketches from the UCPD community forum," South Side Weekly, November 4, 2014

Sam Cholke, “University of Chicago Police accused or racial profiling,” DNAinfo, October 30, 2014

Tamar Honig, “Students recount racial bias of UCPD,” The Chicago Maroon, October 31, 2014

Michael Scott, letter to the editorHyde Park Herald, November 4, 2014

Lindsay Welbers, "Residents vent worries about University of Chicago police, share fears that they’re targeting minority teens,” Hyde Park Herald, November 5, 2014

Ellen Mayer, “Campus police: real deal or rent-a-cops?” Curious City, WBEZ, November 5, 2014

Lee Edwards, “Community calls meeting to address University of Chicago Police Department Conduct,” Chicago Citizen Weekly, November 6, 2014.

Hannah K. Gold, “Why does a campus police department have jurisdiction over 65,000 Chicago residents?”  Vice, November 12, 2014.

The Unmaking of Place by Jamie Kalven

The invitation to participate in this symposium has given me occasion to brood about questions arising from my immersion for more than a decade in Chicago’s high-rise public housing during its final chapter—specifically, in the community of Stateway Gardens, eight square blocks of the South Side.

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