The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois says reports of Chicago police monitoring peaceful protest groups is "unsettling" and is calling for City Council hearings.

The group issued a Sunday statement responding to a Chicago Sun-Times report (http://bit.ly/1qes8R0 ), which outlined seven investigations by police since 2009 to monitor groups exercising free-speech rights.

Emails released by the city in the wake of the 2014 fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald showed officials watched actions of protesters closely. The black teenager was shot by a white officer 16 times.

The Sun-Times reports the department's top attorney approved 2015 plans to send undercover officers to monitor meetings, including those held by Black Lives Matter activists, churches and philanthropic organizations.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the investigations were to ensure safety. He says while the department was approved to send undercover officers, it sent plainclothes officers.

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://chicago.suntimes.com/