Chicago Police Department settles lawsuit seeking records on secret cellular trackers

The Chicago Police Department has settled a lawsuit that sought records showing how it has used secret cellular tracking systems — known by several brand names including StingRay, the lawyer who filed the case said Tuesday.

The department is expected to turn over the documents in about a week, attorney Matthew Topic said. Topic, of the Loevy & Loevy law firm, filed the Freedom of Information lawsuit in 2014 in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Freddy Martinez, a Chicago man who works in the software industry.

“The city has always said these devices are used in high-level cases, terrorism and things like that,” Martinez said. “But they have never proven that’s the case. We want to see these documents to see that it’s true. We’d like to see what these cases are really about and just how often they are being used.”

The city has been using cell-site simulators for more than a decade and has disclosed that it has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on them. But until now, the city wouldn’t say how they were being used.

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