WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves federal prison for halfway house http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jjj_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 3/27/2015</em></p><p>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrived at a Baltimore halfway house late Thursday, hours after leaving an Alabama federal prison where he was serving a sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.</p><p>Jackson arrived Thursday night with members of his family at the Volunteers of America halfway house, where he begins his transition back into society.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m very very happy that I&#39;m with my wife and children, I&#39;ve missed them a very long time,&quot; Jackson said as he pushed through a group of reporters to enter the halfway house.</p><p>Earlier in the day, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking by phone shortly after picking up his 50-year-old son, described his release from the minimum security federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base as a &quot;joyous reunion.&quot; He added that the younger Jackson was doing &quot;very well.&quot; The civil rights leader was not with his son when he checked into the facility.</p><p>The halfway house has been in operation for more than 30 years in the same two-story brick facility in Baltimore, according to spokeswoman Danielle Milner.</p><p>The facility serves between 500 and 700 residents annually with housing, employment counseling and other transitional services. Some people are allowed to live in their own homes, but that&#39;s up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, she said.</p><p>Jackson Sr. had said earlier Thursday that his son will be living at the halfway house for six months, but federal officials have not confirmed that.</p><p>&quot;He is respecting the rules and the process,&quot; the Rev. Jackson said. &quot;He is not asking for any special privileges.&quot;</p><p>Jackson Jr. said he didn&#39;t know what would happen once he has checked into Volunteers of America.</p><p>Jackson began his 2 &frac12;-year prison sentence on Nov. 1, 2013, and his release date is Sept. 20, 2015. After that, Jackson must spend three years on supervised release under jurisdiction of the U.S. Probation Office and complete 500 hours of community service.</p><p>At some point, it will be his wife&#39;s turn to serve out her punishment on a related conviction.</p><p>Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. In a concession to the couple&#39;s two children, a judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences, with the husband going first.</p><p>Jackson served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned in November 2012. In June 2012, he took medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.</p><p>The Jacksons spent campaign money on fur capes, mounted elk heads, a $43,350, gold-plated men&#39;s Rolex watch and Bruce Lee memorabilia, as well as $9,587.64 on children&#39;s furniture, according to court filings.</p><p>Jackson&#39;s resignation ended a once-promising political career that was tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama&#39;s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has denied the allegations.</p></p> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 ACLU: Chicago police make more stops than New York at its peak http://www.wbez.org/news/aclu-chicago-police-make-more-stops-new-york-its-peak-111751 <p><p>Chicago police officers initiated stop, question and frisk encounters at a much higher rate last summer than their New York City counterparts ever did, according to a civil liberties group.</p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released a <a href="http://www.aclu-il.org/chicago-leads-new-york-city-in-use-of-stop-and-frisk-by-police-new-study-finds/">report</a> Monday saying it identified more than 250,000 Chicago stop-and-frisk encounters in which there were no arrests from May through August 2014.</p><p>And just like the former controversial New York practice, the ACLU alleges African Americans and other racial minorities in Chicago were disproportionately targeted for police stops.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The trouble with Chicago cops&rsquo; contact cards</span></p><p>Encounters with Chicago police officers often begin with a form called a contact card. Previously, the card was used to log everything from a voluntary conversation with a citizen to an involuntary stop of someone deemed suspicious. When police deem it necessary, that stop can result in a frisk, or pat down, too. That catch-all policy was <a href="http://directives.chicagopolice.org/directives/data/a7a57be2-12a864e6-91c12-a864-e985efd125ff521f.html?hl=true">revised</a> in January to require contact cards only when the police interaction is an &ldquo;investigatory stop,&rdquo; or relating to &ldquo;enforcement of the Gang and Narcotics-Related Loitering Ordinances&rdquo; and not for all citizen encounters.</p><p>In New York, when a stop included a frisk, it was <a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/NY-big.jpg">clearly documented</a>; when a subsequent arrest was made, it too was noted on the contact card. That&rsquo;s not always the case in Chicago. In fact, if an arrest is made, a contact card is not required.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/poor-data-keeps-chicagos-stop-and-frisk-hidden-scrutiny-108670">Poorly designed police work means the public is in the dark about stop and frisk in Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>While the contact card is used for so much police work, the details they contain can be unruly &ndash; and documentation of them near impossible for the public to obtain in volume. Where NYPD cards have easy-to-read, straightforward fields, Chicago&rsquo;s system relies on a police officer&rsquo;s communication skills: the pertinent information is to be transcribed in the police narrative section of the form.</p><p>The variance in Chicago&rsquo;s record keeping has made it especially difficult to track the frequency and effectiveness of stop and frisk here. And it makes direct comparison to New York City, at this point, flawed.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Who gets stopped by Chicago cops?</span></p><p>African-Americans accounted for nearly three-quarters of those stopped last summer, according to the ACLU, even though they make up about a third of the city&#39;s population.</p><p>On a per capita basis, Chicago police stopped 93.6 people per 1,000 residents, or more than four times New York&#39;s peak rate of 22.9 stops per 1,000 residents, which happened during the same four-month period of 2011.</p><p>&quot;The Chicago Police Department stops a shocking number of innocent people,&quot; said Harvey Grossman, the ACLU&#39;s legal director. &quot;And just like New York, we see that African Americans are singled out for these searches.&quot;</p><p>People were far more likely to be stopped in predominantly black communities and blacks were more likely to be the target of stops in predominantly white neighborhoods, the study found.</p><p>For example, African-Americans accounted for 15 percent of the stops in the Jefferson Park area, even though they made up just 1 percent of its population.</p><p>The ACLU said it also found that police gave no &quot;legally sufficient reason&quot; for initiating many of the stops.</p><p>On about half the cards, the officers didn&#39;t state a reason for the stop, and in some cases, they stated that they stopped someone for a reason that wasn&#39;t related to suspected criminal activity.</p><p>Grossman said the information that was on the cards was woefully inadequate, and the cards didn&#39;t indicate that a person had been frisked, which the ACLU researchers can only assume happened.</p><p>And, Grossman said, many of the people who&rsquo;ve been stopped say the experience was far from casual.</p><p>&ldquo;They are serious events to people and they form your view of the police,&rdquo; Grossman explained. &ldquo;You no longer think of police as Officer Joe Friendly anymore after you get stopped and have someone shove their hands down your pockets.&rdquo;</p><p>In a statement, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department&rsquo;s chief goal is to ensure that &ldquo;everyone in every neighborhood enjoys the same sense of safety, and the best way to achieve that goal is working with the communities we serve.&rdquo;</p><p>McCarthy added that people should only be stopped based on crime data and crime information, &ldquo;nothing else.&rdquo;</p><p>But the use of contact cards has dramatically increased since Supt. McCarthy started running the department in 2011.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Police say contact cards are key crime-fighting tool</span></p><p>The department, which has reported a significant drop in crime around the city in recent years, has made it clear that the cards are a key component of its crime-fighting strategy; that the information is crucial to track gang members and in making arrests.</p><p>Late last year, prosecutors said information from contact cards showed that two days before the 2013 shooting death of a high school honor student, Hadiya Pendleton, the two suspects were in the white Nissan that served as the getaway car.</p><p>Grossman said he&#39;s not surprised that the department relies so heavily on the stop-and-frisk policy. The superintendent spent the bulk of his career in the NYPD and he was the police chief in Newark, New Jersey, before coming to Chicago in 2011.</p><p>The policy has come under fire in both East Coast cities.</p><p>In New York, a federal judge determined the NYPD policy was sometimes discriminating against minorities and found the practice to be unconstitutional.</p><p>And in Newark, the department was placed under a federal monitor after the U.S. Department of Justice found that during a period that included McCarthy&#39;s time running the department, 75 percent of pedestrian stops were made without constitutionally adequate reasons and in the city where blacks make up 54 percent of the population, they accounted for 85 percent of those stops.</p><p>&quot;There is no question the superintendent endorses stop and frisk...It is part of the fabric of McCarthy&#39;s policing,&quot; Grossman told reporters Monday.</p><p>In an email, a CPD spokesman Martin Maloney pointed out that the demographic breakdown of contact cards issued closely mirrors the data in the department&rsquo;s case reports. (Those are descriptions of suspects identified by a third party, which is documented within incident reports.)</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chart%20cc.PNG" style="height: 153px; width: 620px;" title="Source: Chicago Police Department" /></div><p>The same spokesman said the department has added new levels of supervision and accountability with respect to its use of contact cards. Adding that officers are now required to &ldquo;document more details explaining why a contact card was issued.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez"> @katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 09:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aclu-chicago-police-make-more-stops-new-york-its-peak-111751 Under Emanuel, more unsolved murders, fewer detectives http://www.wbez.org/news/under-emanuel-more-unsolved-murders-fewer-detectives-111750 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmmccarthy_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>▲ <strong>Listen to the full story</strong></p><p>In his reelection campaign, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking credit for a <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/gradingrahm/#public_safety">slight decline in the city&rsquo;s homicide rate</a>. But a WBEZ investigation raises a question about the murders that are still happening: Is the city doing enough to put the killers behind bars?</p><p>Emanuel has allowed detective ranks to decline during his term even as internal police records show some of the lowest murder clearance rates in decades. Our story (listen above) explores those rates through the eyes of city detectives and a mother who lost her 18-year-old daughter in an unsolved case last October.</p><p>A few notes about the data (charted below): Regarding the detectives, the number on the payroll is down by about 19 percent since Emanuel took office, according to records obtained by WBEZ under the state Freedom of Information Act. The ranks of evidence technicians and forensic investigators have thinned by even larger proportions.</p><p>Detectives say the drops owe to regular attrition such as retirements and promotions. A police spokesman says the city is planning to add 150 new detectives this year. But they won&rsquo;t make up for the attrition during the mayor&rsquo;s term.</p><p>About the murder clearances, the department calculates the rate two ways. The simple way accounts only for cases closed in the same calendar year in which the murder took place. By that gauge, the police cleared 28.7 percent of last year&rsquo;s murders. The other calculation &mdash; the one preferred by the city &mdash; includes clearances of murders committed in previous years, leading to a 2014 rate of 51.8 percent. By either measure, the city&rsquo;s clearance rate is near its lowest level in decades. Chicago&rsquo;s also doing poorly compared to other big cities, according to <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-25/table_25_percent_of-offenses_cleared_by_arrest_by_population_group_2013.xls">FBI clearance figures for 2013</a>, the most recent year available.</p><p>Zooming in further, the term &ldquo;cleared&rdquo; means <em>closed</em> but not necessarily <em>solved</em>. In some cleared cases, the killer was not charged or even arrested. During Emanuel&rsquo;s term, roughly a quarter of the murder cases the police have closed were &ldquo;exceptional clearances&rdquo; because, for example, the suspect had died or fled the country or because prosecutors had declined to bring charges for various reasons, including a refusal by witnesses to testify. Last year, 42 of 213 clearances were &ldquo;exceptional.&rdquo;</p><div id="responsive-embed-clearance-absolute">&nbsp;</div><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-absolute/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-clearance-absolute', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-absolute/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-clearance-rate">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-clearance-rate', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-rate/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-investigators-line">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-investigators-line', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/investigators-line/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-investigators-table">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-investigators-table', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/investigators-table/child.html', {} ); }); </script></p> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/under-emanuel-more-unsolved-murders-fewer-detectives-111750 Former detainees file lawsuit over Homan Square police practices http://www.wbez.org/news/former-detainees-file-lawsuit-over-homan-square-police-practices-111745 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/homan square.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>John Vergara said in 2011 masked police suddenly rushed the Humboldt Park restaurant where he&rsquo;d stopped in for coffee. He and a few other men were cuffed and taken to Homan Square on the city&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>&ldquo;They insisted we knew something, but they just kept us there for hours, chained to the wall, to each other and to the wall. I still don&rsquo;t even know what I was there for,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>At the time, Vergara didn&rsquo;t know the other men with him in custody. He said police refused requests for legal counsel, bathroom facilities and food. He said the cops tried to coerce the men into false confession.</p><p>Eventually, one man in the group was officially arrested. Vergara said the situation changed when he mentioned attorney Blake Horwitz.</p><p>&ldquo;The whole demeanor of the police officers started to change. They started being a little more polite, and a little more scared about knowing that I knew Blake,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Vergara said he and the other men were eventually able to leave, but not before the police threatened them if they didn&rsquo;t keep quiet.</p><p>Vergara and two other men, Carlos Ruiz and Jose Garcia, came forward after a recent article in the <em><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site">The Guardian</a></em> questioning police actions at Homan Square. On behalf of these men, attorney Blake Horwitz filed a lawsuit against four police officers and the City of Chicago.</p><p>Horwitz said these practices could happen anywhere, but said there&rsquo;s something particular about Homan Square, where people are taken off the grid.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a pattern that people experience where they&rsquo;re there for long periods of time and they&rsquo;re not given a right to an attorney,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Horwitz said it&rsquo;s not a matter of shutting down the facility, but that police practices need to change.</p><p>A statement from the Chicago Police Department said it abides by all laws and guidelines related to interviews of suspects and witnesses at Homan Square and any other CPD facility.</p><p>The city&rsquo;s law department said it&rsquo;s reviewing the lawsuit and intends to &ldquo;vigorously defend against it.&rdquo;</p><p>The department notes police recovered 180 grams of cocaine, along with cash, during the incident. It said the case should be dismissed on legal grounds.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-detainees-file-lawsuit-over-homan-square-police-practices-111745 Virginia's governor orders inquiry into black student's bloody arrest http://www.wbez.org/news/virginias-governor-orders-inquiry-black-students-bloody-arrest-111731 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/martese-johnson_vert-334f4021ebe636880348ab74004f18712dd8fb11-s1400.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Responding to an incident that has sparked street protests in Charlottesville, Virginia&#39;s Gov. Terry McAuliffe has ordered a state investigation into the arrest of a black University of Virginia student. Martese Johnson, 20, was left with blood streaming down his face after being arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents.</p><p>The case created an uproar after photos emerged showing Johnson, a member of UVA&#39;s Honor Committee, lying on the sidewalk with uniformed ABC agents crouching over him. Portions of the concrete, as well as Johnson&#39;s head and shirt, are bloody.</p><p>Johnson was arrested after midnight on March 18 near an Irish-themed bar on the Corner, an area along the campus that holds many bars and restaurants. He was charged with public swearing or intoxication and obstruction of justice.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.abc.virginia.gov/library/about/pdfs/virginia%20abc%20statement.pdf?la=en">The ABC says</a>&nbsp;that its agents approached Johnson &quot;after he was refused entry to a licensed establishment,&quot; and that they then decided to detain him.</p><p>&quot;In the course of an arrest being made, the arrested individual sustained injuries,&quot; the agency says. Court records show that Johnson is with &quot;obstruction of justice without force.&quot;</p><p>The incident comes nearly two years after Virginia&#39;s ABC agency was criticized for another high-profile in Charlottesville, in which plainclothes agents arrested a UVA student who had&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/07/02/198047492/felony-arrest-of-student-who-bought-water-riles-many-in-virginia">bought a case of bottled water</a>. The young woman at the center of that case spent a night in jail and briefly faced felony charges. She later filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit (<a href="http://www.nbc29.com/story/26156840/settlement-reached-in-elizabeth-daly-suit-against-va-abc">which was settled last year</a>).</p><p>Those injuries resulted in 10 stitches for Johnson, who can be heard in a bystander&#39;s video of his arrest using a profanity to call one of the officers a racist and asking as they pinned him to the ground, &quot;How did this happen?&quot;</p><p>In arrest records, an ABC agent says Johnson &quot;was very agitated and belligerent but [has] no previous criminal history,&quot; according to student paper&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2015/03/university-student-honor-committee-member-martese-johnson-arrested">The Cavalier Daily.</a></p><p>Johnson spoke at a large rally last night that was organized by a student organization called the Black Dot.</p><p>&quot;You all being here is the absolute reason why I still believe in a community of trust &mdash; even with a busted head,&quot; he said, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://wvtf.org/post/student-leaders-bloody-arrest-sparks-outrage-uva">member station WVTF</a>. &quot;I know that we can be better. We just have to choose to.&quot;</p><p>The rally was attended by key school officials including its president, Teresa A. Sullivan. Yesterday, Sullivan said that she had asked McAuliffe to order an independent investigation into Johnson&#39;s arrest.</p><p>&quot;The safety and security of our students will always be my primary concern, and every member of our community should feel safe from the threat of bodily harm and other forms of violence,&quot; Sullivan&nbsp;<a href="http://president.virginia.edu/speeches-writings/important-message-president-teresa-sullivan-20150318">said in a letter</a>&nbsp;to students and employees. &quot;Today, as U.Va. students, faculty, and staff who share a set of deeply held values, we stand unified in our commitment to seeking the truth about this incident.&quot;</p><p>Protesters blocked part of University Avenue in Charlottesville last night, holding signs that echoed words they chanted: &quot;Shut It Down.&quot;</p><p>Anger over the case has sparked a Twitter hashtag,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JusticeForMartese?src=tren">#JusticeForMartese</a>, that is being used to highlight the issue &mdash; and to counter the notion of Johnson as a troublemaker. In one photo that&#39;s been widely posted, the third-year student is seen wearing a bow tie, smiling as he poses alongside Sullivan.</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/19/394042609/virginia-s-governor-orders-inquiry-into-black-student-s-bloody-arrest">NPR&#39;s The Two-Way</a></em></p></p> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/virginias-governor-orders-inquiry-black-students-bloody-arrest-111731 Cook County demands payment from state for kids left waiting in jail http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-demands-payment-state-kids-left-waiting-jail-111702 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/JTDC Juvenile 4_WBEZ_Bill Healy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the first time ever, Cook County is sending a bill to the State of Illinois for the cost of holding state wards left waiting at the juvenile jail by the Department of Children and Family Services.</p><p>The decision to demand reimbursement is part of a larger push back by the county against the human and financial costs of the failures of the state&rsquo;s child welfare agency.</p><p>It comes after a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576">recent WBEZ investigation</a> found that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) routinely leaves hundreds of kids stuck behind bars for weeks, or even months, after a judge has said they can go home. Because they are wards of the state, the kids can&rsquo;t leave the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center until the department finds them proper placement.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-judge-takes-action-kids-left-jail-after-wbez-investigates-111680">Federal Judge takes action on kids left in jail by DCFS</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;The message is that we don&rsquo;t care about them, and that we think their liberty isn&rsquo;t an important issue. And I think that&rsquo;s a terrible message to send to young people,&rdquo; said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.</p><p>And Preckwinkle said it&rsquo;s a financial burden for the county.</p><p>&ldquo;The obligation of every executive is to run their unit of government to the best of your ability. And that means you don&rsquo;t cost-shift your financial obligations and burdens,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Preckwinkle said the impact on children is her main concern, &ldquo;but the money is not a trivial matter either.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s why Preckwinkle said she is glad to hear that outgoing Cook County Juvenile Detention Center administrator Earl Dunlap is sending a bill to the state.</p><p>&ldquo;And I&rsquo;d be happy to second the motion,&rdquo; Preckwinkle said.</p><p>The invoice being sent to DCFS covers just two months&mdash;December and January&mdash;and it comes to $232,750.</p><p>The invoice is for 41 DCFS wards who spent a combined 665 days in jail after a judge told them they were free to go.</p><p>The juvenile jail is in Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele&rsquo;s district. And he recognizes that at that rate, the cost could amount to $1.5 million a year.</p><p>&ldquo;So that&rsquo;s a huge burden to Cook County and its taxpayers,&rdquo; Steele said.</p><p>Along with the invoice is <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/258641119/Letter-from-Earl-Dunlap-to-DCFS" target="_blank">a letter from juvenile jail administrator Dunlap to DCFS Director George Sheldon</a>. In it, Dunlap blasts the department for the &ldquo;agency&rsquo;s willful disregard to juveniles&rsquo; constitutional rights.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Prolonged stays at [the juvenile jail] for children awaiting DCFS placement &hellip; can cause lasting damage to a youth,&rdquo; Dunlap wrote.</p><p>Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans oversees the juvenile jail. He said he&rsquo;s not particularly concerned about which agency foots the bill.</p><p>&ldquo;The counties pull from the same taxpayers that pay the taxes on a statewide basis, so the main thing is that we don&rsquo;t want taxpayers to have to pay for anything unnecessarily,&rdquo; Evans said.</p><p>WBEZ interviewed Evans in late February. He said on the day of the interview there were 12 state wards in the juvenile jail waiting on DCFS.</p><p>&ldquo;Many of them are suffering already &hellip; many of them, they&rsquo;ve been abused and neglected on one side and then they engage in some delinquent conduct on the other side. And so they&rsquo;re already subjected to trauma in many instances and having them stay longer in a place they shouldn&rsquo;t be in just exacerbates the problem,&rdquo; Evans said.</p><p>DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach says his department has not yet received the invoice. But he&rsquo;s acknowledged the issue, and said he believes the agency&rsquo;s new leader will bring stability to the department.</p><p>&ldquo;The governor has made it a priority to help turn the agency around, and that&rsquo;s bringing someone in like Director George Sheldon &hellip;&nbsp; to help us get the job done,&rdquo; Flach said.</p><p>Cook County&rsquo;s demand for repayment comes at a particularly bad time for the state government. Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling for massive cuts to close a multi-billion dollar budget gap.</p><p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">Patrick Smith</a> is a WBEZ producer and reporter.</em></p></p> Sun, 15 Mar 2015 06:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-demands-payment-state-kids-left-waiting-jail-111702 Federal judge takes action on kids left in jail after WBEZ investigates http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-judge-takes-action-kids-left-jail-after-wbez-investigates-111680 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/new%20JTDC%20Bill%20Healy%203.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="The Cook County Juvenile Center. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is agreeing to let outside experts monitor the department&rsquo;s placement practices and inspect its residential treatment centers.</p><p>Judge Jorge Alonso signed off on the interim plan in federal court on Tuesday. The agreement is in response to an emergency motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.</p><p>The experts, Dr. Alan Morris and Deann Muehlbauer of the University of Illinois at Chicago, will inspect residential treatment centers, interview state wards and provide monthly reports on the practices and progress of the department.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s just some immediate steps to begin to address the serious problems that we&rsquo;ve raised in our emergency motion,&rdquo; said ACLU attorney Ben Wolf.</p><p>One of the groups meant to be helped by the interim plan are kids who are stuck waiting behind bars because the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can&rsquo;t find an appropriate place for them to live.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576">A recent WBEZ investigation</a> found that over a three-year period there were almost 350 instances in which a young person waited a week or more in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center because DCFS couldn&rsquo;t place him. The longest wait was 190 days.</p><p>&ldquo;As WBEZ reported, there are children trapped in correctional settings when they&rsquo;ve been ordered released and I represent some of those children &hellip; and that&rsquo;s a horrible thing,&rdquo; Wolf said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve talked to some of those kids who are ordered released and then they&rsquo;re still in a locked juvenile detention facility only because their state parent, the department, doesn&rsquo;t have some place for them to live. I mean that&rsquo;s really inexcusable and I&rsquo;d like to start with those kinds of kids and see what we can do for them.&rdquo;</p><p>At the same time, a <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/rtc/">recent series by the Chicago Tribune</a> highlighted abuse and unsafe conditions at several residential treatment centers that provide care for state wards.</p><p>&ldquo;The first steps are to start to look at the most troubled residential treatment centers and to figure out if we need to close them [or] if we can provide technical assistance to fix them,&rdquo; Wolf said. &ldquo;And if we can&rsquo;t where the kids will go.&rdquo;</p><p>Wolf acknowledged that these competing problems make for a tough situation for the department. Closing troubled residential treatment centers will mean even less available beds for the kids stuck waiting in jail or in psychiatric hospitals for placement.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna be struggling with shortages, and we&rsquo;re going to be gluing together packages of services and placements that are the best we can do but are not perfect, and we have to be realistic about that,&rdquo; Wolf said. &ldquo;I think the solution has to be intensive services in home-like settings.&rdquo;</p><p>DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach said in a statement that the department is &ldquo;encouraged&rdquo; by the interim agreement with the ACLU and looks forward to working with it and other stakeholders to &ldquo;ensure the agreement is implemented to the satisfaction of the court and the children and families we serve.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">Patrick Smith</a> is a WBEZ producer.</em></p></p> Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-judge-takes-action-kids-left-jail-after-wbez-investigates-111680 Imam sex abuse charges prompt calls for greater transparency http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/imam-sex-abuse-charges-prompt-calls-greater-transparency-111676 <p><p dir="ltr"><em>Updated March 16, 2015 regarding the role of Abdul Malik Mujahid.</em></p><p dir="ltr">As the criminal trial gets underway for a prominent Islamic scholar charged with sexual assault, some Chicago-area Muslims are calling for an investigation into what community leaders may have known about prior allegations of misconduct.</p><p dir="ltr">Mohammed Abdullah Saleem, 75, has been criminally charged with assaulting a female employee at the Institute for Islamic Education, a religious school he founded in west suburban Elgin, Ill.</p><p dir="ltr">Additionally, Saleem has also been accused in a civil lawsuit of assaulting three other females who were students at the school.</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><strong>Related: <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez-worldview/the-culture-around-silence?in=wbez-worldview/sets/worldview-march-10-2015"><em>Worldview&#39;s</em>&nbsp;conversation on the culture of silence around abuse</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;A lot of people depended upon his advice,&rdquo; Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin said of Saleem. Kaiseruddin is chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, the largest coalition of Muslim institutions in Illinois. &ldquo;So right now we are dealing with a dilemma that this person who is teaching the Quran to everybody was violating (the) Quran himself.&rdquo;</p><p>When the allegations first surfaced in early December, a number of people both inside and outside the leadership ranks, called on the Council to act. After much back and forth between members of its House of Representatives, a body made up of leaders of its member organizations and former Council chairmen, it issued a <a href="http://freepdfhosting.com/1394ef2106.pdf">statement</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;My thinking on this thing is that any sexual abuse, criminal abuse like this, cannot be kept secret, cannot be kept covered up,&rdquo; Kaiseruddin said. &ldquo;Justice has to be served.&rdquo;</p><p>But the statement prompted a furor of debate on social media. Critics said it wasn&rsquo;t strong enough in voicing unequivocal support for any victims of sexual violence. Others said it perhaps struck an overly-deferential tone toward Saleem. In the wake of that early statement, many have been heartened to see the Council adopt a firmer tone of support for <a href="http://www.ciogc.org/index.php/communications/articles-and-statements/653-2-17-15-ciogc-chairman-applauds-the-courage-of-sexual-abuse-victims">victims</a> and <a href="http://www.ciogc.org/index.php/communications/articles-and-statements/676-3-3-15-effective-steps-in-dealing-with-sexual-abuse">victims&rsquo; advocates</a>.</p><p>Yet some have accused the Council of sidestepping a potentially embarrassing and painful investigation of what its own leadership, and religious figures in the community, might have known about misconduct in the past.</p><p>&ldquo;The other component is to understand who within the community knew about this, and how we can address their understanding of what to do in these circumstances so we can prevent other victims from having to carry the burden into adulthood,&rdquo; said Humaira Basith, co-founder of the Mohammed Webb Foundation and a member of the CIOGC House of Representatives.</p><p>Basith pointed to the revelation that a member of the Council&#39;s House of Representatives, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, claimed to have heard about allegations against Saleem nearly ten years ago. In statements posted to Facebook and on the Council leadership listserv, Mujahid asserted that two religious leaders had quietly mediated a previous case involving a girl, that led to banning Saleem from offering Friday prayers at the mosque for two years. While Mujahid claimed to have heard this from one of those imams, he declined to identify them publicly.</p><p>&ldquo;And ultimately, that is really how the community came to know that this is a known issue with Abdullah Saleem,&rdquo; said Basith.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="Mohammed Abdullah Saleem, a religious scholar and former Principal of the Islamic Institute of Education in Elgin, is charged with allegedly assaulting a female employee. (AP)" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IIE%20%28insert%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 444px; width: 300px;" title="Mohammed Abdullah Saleem, a religious scholar and former Principal of the Islamic Institute of Education in Elgin, is charged with allegedly assaulting a female employee. " /></div><p>Mujahid, a former Council chairman, was unavailable for an interview. But in a written e-mail he stated:</p><p>&quot;I have championed the cause of opposing violence against women all my life. Many non-Muslim women have informed me of their ordeal. However, no Muslim victim has ever told me about a sexual crime nor have I been a part of any mediation.&nbsp;I have informed Elgin police about hearsay knowledge of a mediation dealing with Abdullah Salim. I believe, however, that only the victim or her chosen mediator can disclose it to (the) public. Filing a report with police is the best option in my view for any criminal activity rather than mediation.&quot;</p><p><em>(Editor&#39;s Note:&nbsp;We&#39;ve clarified Mujahid&#39;s role, the fact that he was unavailable for an interview and updated the paragraph above to include his full written statement.)</em></p><p>Basith said she has called on Council leadership to push harder to find out which imams may have known of cases of misconduct by Saleem. &ldquo;Those people need to be better trained in order to handle this so that the community has more transparency when these issues arise,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s really the core of it, is that we have no transparency in order to rectify it for the future.&rdquo;</p><p>So far, other Council leaders have not taken up her call. &ldquo;Briefly, at this time the council does not feel the need to investigate and identify the imams,&rdquo; wrote Kaiseruddin in response to a query from WBEZ.</p><p>&ldquo;My guess is that these are answers they may not want to have,&rdquo; said Basith.</p><p>Still, Kaiseruddin, and many others, said the Council deserves credit for other steps it has taken. The Council is developing guidelines on sound bylaws for its member organizations, in order to avoid another situation where an administrator has unquestioned authority like Saleem did at IIE.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also reviewing sexual abuse policies at Islamic schools throughout the area.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody came to the conclusion they need to upgrade their policies, and they wanted CIOGC to play a role,&rdquo; said Kaiseruddin.</p><p>Eman Aly said the Council&rsquo;s involvement has done a lot of good in cracking open the taboo topic of sexual violence in the Muslim community.</p><p>&ldquo;People are talking about it, and that&rsquo;s what we wanted,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Friends of mine who are parents have been asking, &lsquo;how do we talk to our kids about this?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Aly, a social worker, helped persuade the only victim to file criminal charges against Saleem. She said she believes the Council should investigate whether leaders in Chicago&rsquo;s religious community know about other cases of misconduct &mdash; so that if there are more victims, they get help.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 10 Mar 2015 05:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/imam-sex-abuse-charges-prompt-calls-greater-transparency-111676 Concerns raised over interrogation tactics aren't unique to Homan Square http://www.wbez.org/news/concerns-raised-over-interrogation-tactics-arent-unique-homan-square-111635 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A few years ago, Maurice Harris got in a car accident on the city&#39;s West Side. He said an &ldquo;unruly mob&rdquo; started to gather so he moved his car halfway up the street.</p><p>He said a police officer came up quickly and started questioning him. Harris offered his drivers license and insurance.</p><p>&ldquo;After that he asked me to step out of the car. He handcuffed me. I&rsquo;m like &lsquo;Officer, what&rsquo;s going on?&rsquo; He gave me no answer,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>The police took Harris to a hospital for a blood alcohol test. Then he was taken to a nearby police station.</p><p>&ldquo;I continue to ask him, &lsquo;Officer, am I being charged with anything. What&rsquo;s going on? Let me know something.&rsquo; He did nothing but laugh. I didn&rsquo;t ask for a lawyer then because I didn&rsquo;t know to ask for a lawyer,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Harris estimated he was in a West Side station for four hours and wasn&rsquo;t read his Miranda rights. He was handcuffed to his seat during interrogation and was eventually charged with fleeing the scene of an accident.</p><p>&ldquo;I would say it&rsquo;s the norm,&rdquo; said Cliff Nellis, the lead attorney at Lawndale Christian Legal Center.</p><p>CPD tactics have been scrutinized this week as its Homan Square facility on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/26/police-black-site-chicago-washington-politicians-human-rights">drew national attention</a> (Harris was held at a different facility). While lawyers have raised concerns about illegal interrogation tactics there, many say the problems run across the Chicago Police Department.</p><p>Nellis has provided legal aid to Harris and others. In one case, Nellis said police were transferring a minor from one station to another. The boy&#39;s parents were following the squad car.</p><p>&ldquo;[The police] turned their lights on, blew a red light and bolted and ditched them. So that (allegedly) they could take him back to the crime scene and then interrogate him there, interrogate this 15-year-old there,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Nellis said people taken in by Chicago cops aren&#39;t always read their Miranda rights, namely a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney during questioning.</p><p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t want people to be exercising their rights, particularly our young people on the West Side of Chicago while they&rsquo;re in police custody. They don&rsquo;t want attorneys present. They make it abundantly clear,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Nellis said he&rsquo;s had good experiences with police that follow procedure exactly. But he&rsquo;s also had officers yell at him saying they&rsquo;ll let him know if, and when, he can talk to someone in police custody. He and other attorneys agree people are too often mistreated and illegally detained under Chicago police custody.</p><p>In fact, the city paid more than $16 million to settle a 2004 class action lawsuit that claimed people were deprived of adequate sleeping conditions and detained more than 48 hours before receiving a judicial hearing. Separate from those claims, the city settled lawsuits alleging torture from the 1980&rsquo;s under Police Commander Jon Burge.</p><p>A CPD officer spoke to WBEZ under the condition of anonymity. He has worked at the Homan Square facility and said police make sure arrestees know their rights.</p><p>But the officer also admits police might use long stretches of time to sweat a person.</p><p>&ldquo;Law enforcement has the legal right to hold an individual up to 24 hours without charging. At the 24 hour mark you either need to charge the person or release them,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>He also said officers don&rsquo;t want to risk not reading Miranda rights because that could invalidate the case in court.</p><p>Eliza Solowiej is the executive director for First Defense Legal Aid. She said it&rsquo;s true police could hold a person who chooses to remain silent. But if the person doesn&rsquo;t fully understand their rights, they might talk without an attorney.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s reasonable to think that people would hedge their bets and think &lsquo;I better advocate for myself, let me explain why it wasn&rsquo;t me and why I was there on the scene.&rsquo; Well, that&rsquo;s the exact evidence police need to charge you with the crime,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Solowiej said in 2013 police records show only 0.2 percent of people arrested were visited by defense attorneys.</p><p>CPD officials could not confirm this number, nor were they available to comment on this story.</p><p>Solowiej said arrestees should be allowed a phone call early on, rather than before lock up. She says that&#39;s often the first time it&rsquo;s even mentioned.</p><p>She said there&rsquo;s been talk from CPD about posting information about legal aid at police stations for people who are arrested.</p><p>CPD this week released a statement in regards to Homan Square saying the department abides by all laws related to interviews of suspects or witnesses at all facilities.</p><p>&ldquo;There are no issues of access to counsel and making phone calls out of Homan Square or anywhere. I take that to be true at the moment of their release. And I&rsquo;ll hold them to that,&rdquo; Solowiej said.</p><p>Solowiej said the records will show if that does not hold true, and there will have to be accountability.</p><p>Still, Maurice Harris, who has had an number of run-ins with police, said that&#39;s not enough. He now works with youth at the Lawndale Christian Legal Center. He&rsquo;s even seen police incidents with the students he mentors.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a law abiding citizen. I stand for justice and laws that are put in place. But when those police powers are abused, I do not agree with it at all. And every day police are abusing their powers. That is the norm,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>And he said people in the community are starting to accept that this is how it will be.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @soosieon.</em></p></p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/concerns-raised-over-interrogation-tactics-arent-unique-homan-square-111635 Chicago Police's so-called 'black site' mischaracterized http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-polices-so-called-black-site-mischaracterized-111629 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/daley-homan-square.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Lawyers and local crime reporters say <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site" target="_blank"> a widely-shared article from <em>The Guardian</em></a> mischaracterized&nbsp;a Chicago Police Department facility called Homan Square as the equivalent of a CIA &quot;black site.&quot;</p><p>Black sites house detainees who undergo interrogation in highly secretive prisons. But the non-descript Homan Square building on the city&rsquo;s West Side is not exactly off-the-books.</p><p>In the past few years WBEZ reporters and other journalists have been to the facility for tours and interviews as well as press conferences.</p><p>The <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em>&rsquo; Frank Main says reporters on the police beat know Homan Square. He&rsquo;s visited 20 or 30 times during his career. He said the massive building located at 1011 S. Homan was once a Sears Roebuck warehouse.</p><p>&ldquo;The reasons I&rsquo;ve been there is going for essentially &lsquo;show and tells&rsquo; where the police will show huge amounts of drugs that they&rsquo;ve seized in various cases. And in those situations you&rsquo;ll have lots of media; television cameras, radio,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Main said Homan Square is a secured site. Visitors need to show ID and give a reason for their visit.<br /><br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s some sensitive police bureaus there,&quot; he said. &quot;For example, there&rsquo;s the organized crime bureau which runs gang investigations and drug investigations. And a lot of people in those units are undercover.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department says advertising the location would put their lives at risk. A spokesman says gang members have been known to stake out the place to catch glimpses of undercover cops, a reason why some people might be denied access. But the building also has a public entrance where people can pick up stolen property and items inventoried in crimes.</p><p>If people know about this place and the media is invited for press conferences, can it be characterized as a &ldquo;black site&rdquo;?</p><p>&ldquo;No, it wasn&rsquo;t a mischaracterization,&rdquo; said <em>Guardian </em>reporter Spencer Ackerman of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site">his story&rsquo;s headline describing Homan Square</a> as such. &ldquo;You can find certain black sites in Romania and Poland that are out in the open. It&rsquo;s not the visibility of the facility, it&rsquo;s what goes on in the facility that makes it secretive.&rdquo;</p><p>Ackerman reports arrestees are kept out of official booking databases and attorneys are denied access. He also notes a detainee at Homan Square who endured a beating, another a prolonged shackling and one who even died.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what makes it, or as [lawyers] characterize, that&rsquo;s what makes it analogous to a black site,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>A CPD statement stands by the department&rsquo;s claim to always record arrests, and that&rsquo;s no different at Homan Square.</p><p>A few lawyers contacted for this story said clients, unfortunately, are sometimes held without being booked and attorneys are delayed in getting to clients, but that could happen anywhere in Chicago.</p><p>Flint Taylor, an attorney with the People&rsquo;s Law Office, was quoted in <em>The</em> <em>Guardian</em> story. He praised the article for highlighting the lack of police transparency, and said it&rsquo;s concerning that such things would happen in a centralized location. However, Taylor said he might&rsquo;ve used different analogies to describe Homan Square. In the end, he said he&#39;ll leave it to the reporter to do the characterization.</p><p>Craig Futterman, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago, said prisoners are held without being entered into the system all over the city, not just Homan Square.</p><p>Futterman says it&rsquo;s an exaggeration to call it a &quot;black site.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;If there&rsquo;s a risk, I think it&rsquo;s elevating this facility,&rdquo; Futterman said. &ldquo;And making it look like there&rsquo;s a problem in one particular station, as opposed to there&rsquo;s a broader systemic problem to people who are very vulnerable who are denied their basic fundamental constitutional right.&rdquo;</p><p>If similar complaints happen at other police facilities, these practices aren&rsquo;t unique to Homan Square. Ackerman said these practices happening at other places around Chicago is disturbing. But would those facilities also be considered black sites?</p><p>&ldquo;If it&rsquo;s not what goes on in Homan Square that you&rsquo;re disputing, the characterization I leave to people then to look at for themselves once they aggressively investigate the facts of what&rsquo;s going on here,&rdquo; Ackerman said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Futterman said policing practices everywhere in Chicago need to be reviewed.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a></em></p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-polices-so-called-black-site-mischaracterized-111629