WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Fraternal Order of Propaganda http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/fraternal-order-propaganda-114769 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/FOP_Flickr_BigBull6.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>The immediate police account of what happened in the police-involved fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald has been proven false, and it&rsquo;s not the first incident.</p><p>There have been statements from the Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden on separate scenes about what transpired that contradict what videotapes have shown. City Bureau and the Reader detailed the FOP&rsquo;s control of the local media narratives and how they perpetuate throughout the city&rsquo;s investigative process into the courtroom. Yana Kunichoff of City Bureau explain their findings.</p></div><div class="truncatedAudioInfo__license" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'Lucida Sans', Garuda, Verdana, Tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15.2727px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-08/fraternal-order-propaganda-114769 Could Hospital ERs Provide Missing Data On Police Shootings? http://www.wbez.org/news/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-police-shootings-114759 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istockER.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the past two years, Joseph Richardson has been trying to figure out how to keep young black men with knife and gunshot wounds from turning up again with similar injuries at Prince George&#39;s Hospital Trauma Center outside Washington, D.C.</p><p>Richardson is director of the Violence Intervention Research Project at the trauma center. When these men are admitted, he shows up at their rooms to ask them to take part in his ongoing study on risk factors for repeat violent injuries. Sometimes he finds them handcuffed to a hospital bed, guarded by a police officer or two. Richardson has to walk away. The patients are under arrest and off-limits to him.</p><p><a href="http://aasd.umd.edu/facultyprofile/Richardson,%20Jr./Joseph">Richardson</a>&nbsp;is also a criminologist and associate professor at the University of Maryland. And recently, in the context of a national discussion about police violence, he got to thinking about the lack of access that kept him from asking these men what happened. How many of those handcuffed shooting victims had taken a bullet from a cop, he wondered?</p><p>With&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/08/how-many-police-shootings-a-year-no-one-knows/">scant data</a>&nbsp;on how many people are shot by police across the country every year, Richardson sees potential in hospital emergency departments. As a researcher he might not have direct access to patients under arrest, but the doctors and nurses certainly do. He&#39;s proposing that emergency departments step in and capitalize on that unique access to compile an alternative data source.</p><p><strong>Doctors And Nurses Could Ask: &#39;Who Shot You?&#39;</strong></p><p>Richardson views police violence as a public health issue and believes health care providers have a role to play in addressing it. The concept seems simple: At some point during a patient&#39;s visit, emergency department staffers ask patients who shot them, record their answers and report the information to state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>He&#39;s not suggesting doctors and nurses investigate their patients&#39; claims, or that this self-reported data would even be completely accurate. After all, in quite a few cases it could be impossible to know who shot you.</p><p>Even so, Richardson says that some data are better than none. Hospital-reported numbers along with those recorded by police and media outlets could help define the true scope of police shootings.</p><p>In December, around the time Richardson floated his idea in the<em>&nbsp;Journal of Urban Health</em>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fbi-to-sharply-expand-system-for-tracking-fatal-police-shootings/2015/12/08/a60fbc16-9dd4-11e5-bce4-708fe33e3288_story.html">the FBI announced plans</a>&nbsp;to expand its database on violent police encounters. For the first time, the agency will collect information on serious injuries, not just fatalities. But it will continue to lean on voluntary reports by local police departments.</p><p>Richardson is skeptical that the federal government can solve the data problem. &quot;There has to be a more pioneering, innovative approach to doing it,&quot; he says. That&#39;s what he&#39;s trying to figure out. He notes that information about people who survive police shootings is especially elusive. &quot;The only way we would know that is either the police would have to report that or the hospitals would have to,&quot; he says. &quot;Up to this point, neither entity has done it.&quot;</p><p>Richardson points to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19104090">2009 survey of academic emergency physicians</a>&nbsp;that found that almost all of them believed they&#39;d seen cases of excessive use of force by police but had largely failed to report them.</p><p>In interviews with the emergency department staff at Prince George&#39;s, he found that the overwhelming majority said the hospital has an ethical responsibility to record and report police-involved shootings. But doctors and nurses raised concerns about the logistics and consequences.</p><p>Some said it would be difficult to put into practice a standardized approach to collecting the information. Others felt patients weren&#39;t likely to open up to trauma staff &mdash; especially given the presence of police anytime a victim is under arrest. Still others worried they&#39;d be dragged into court to testify if they implicated the police.</p><p><strong>Can Hospitals Balance Care And Reporting On Shootings?</strong></p><p>Logistics aside, what looms over Richardson&#39;s proposal is a philosophical divide over the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-02/working-shift-ask-er-doctor-114674">role of the hospital and its staff.</a></p><p>As American College of Emergency Physicians board member James Augustine sees it, muddling a hospital&#39;s mission is bad for patients. &quot;The hospital is not a good place for legal and law enforcement activities to infringe on people&#39;s rights for health care,&quot; says the veteran emergency medicine doctor. &quot;In the emergency setting, this is not a priority.&quot;</p><p>But he doesn&#39;t dismiss the idea outright. The health care system plays a vital role in amassing data, he says. In fact, many trauma centers already collect reams of information and submit it to the National Trauma Data Bank. Stripped of names, it&#39;s used to track everything from auto accidents to clothing-related burns. It might be feasible to add information about violent police encounters to those data collection efforts, Augustine says.</p><p>David Livingston, chief of trauma at University Hospital in Newark, agrees that when it comes to collecting information, hospitals could help. &quot;Emergency departments are the canary in the coal mine of health in our communities,&quot; he says. &quot;They&#39;re a unique public health resource to gather data.&quot;</p><p>But there are serious limitations. Two years ago, Livingston and his colleagues analyzed more than 6,000 gunshot wounds treated at his hospital and found that his own trauma unit&#39;s database didn&#39;t account for nearly 20 percent of them. It turned out the emergency department, not trauma, had handled these relatively minor injuries and Livingston and his co-workers only discovered them when they scoured that department&#39;s billing records.</p><p>As for Richardson&#39;s proposal, Livingston says it could work in theory. &quot;Is it economically and logistically feasible?&quot; he asks. &quot;We&#39;d like to think it is, but I have my doubts.&quot; Getting detailed information would probably require dedicated staff, he says, and that&#39;s expensive. But he&#39;s quick to point out that similar data on cancer, heart disease, smoking, obesity and other conditions has been collected, with the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation footing the bill. &quot;In that respect,&quot; he says, &quot;Dr. Richardson&#39;s contention to put this on trauma centers is shirking the government&#39;s responsibility.&quot;</p><p>Still, Richardson suggests a place to start:&nbsp;<a href="http://nnhvip.org/">hospital-based violence intervention programs</a>. Only about 30 hospitals in the U.S. have these special programs aimed at curbing readmission for violent crimes, but Richardson sees them as prime candidates for pilot projects.</p><p>For University of California, San Francisco trauma surgeon Rochelle Dicker, who heads up the&nbsp;<a href="http://violenceprevention.surgery.ucsf.edu/">violence intervention program</a>&nbsp;at San Francisco General Hospital, keeping tabs on police violence seems like a natural extension of the work her team already does. &quot;Part of our responsibility as physicians is to not just to do the traditional &#39;treat and street,&#39; but to really get to the issues at hand and address violence in a more comprehensive way.&quot; In order to do that, she says, accurate information is key.</p><p>&quot;The work is provocative,&quot; she says of Richardson&#39;s proposal, and it will get people talking. &quot;I applaud the author for taking that first step and opening the door.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/02/04/465568899/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-on-police-shootings?ft=nprml&amp;f=465568899" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-police-shootings-114759 Chicago Teen's Death Shines Light on Police 'Code of Silence' http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teens-death-shines-light-police-code-silence-114758 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3828403109_4e3bb2576c_z_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO (AP)-For more than a year after an officer shot and killed a black teen named Laquan McDonald, the Chicago Police Department had video footage that raised serious doubts about whether other officers at the scene tried in their reports to cover up what prosecutors now contend was murder.</p><p>Not until 15 months later was one of those officers and a detective who concluded the shooting was justified put on desk duty. At least eight other officers failed to recount the same scene that unfolded on the video. All of them remain on the street, according to the department.</p><p>The lack of swift action illustrates the difficulty of confronting the <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/emanuels-testimony-sought-in-federal-code-of-silence-lawsuit">&quot;code of silence&quot; </a>that has long been associated with police in Chicago and elsewhere.</p><p>The obstacles include disciplinary practices that prevent the police chief himself from firing problem officers and a labor contract that prevents officers from being held accountable if a video surfaces that contradicts their testimony.</p><p>&quot;If they are not going to analyze officers&#39; reports and compare them to objective evidence like the video,<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/how-fed-source-sparked-federal-investigation-chicago-114105"> why would the officers ever stop lying</a>?&quot; asked Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who helped force the city to release the video.</p><p>Of the eight officers, six said they did not see who fired, and three depicted McDonald as more threatening than he appeared. One claimed the teen tried to get up with a knife still in his hand. The footage clearly showed him falling down and lying motionless on the pavement.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/jason-van-dyke">Jason Van Dyke,</a> who emptied his entire 16-round magazine into McDonald, is now awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges. He has been suspended without pay while the department tries to fire him.</p><p>City officials say they are cracking down on traditions associated with the code and even questioning applicants for police superintendent about how they would stop officers from lying to protect colleagues.</p><p>Chicago isn&#39;t the only major city where officers sworn to tell the truth are suspected of covering for each other. In Los Angeles, three sheriff&#39;s deputies were convicted last year of beating a handcuffed jail visitor and then trying to cover it up. In that case, a plea bargain with two former deputies helped prosecutors expose what they said was a code of silence.</p><p>The head of Chicago&#39;s police union dismisses<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-releases-thousands-emails-fatal-police-shooting-114334"> talk of a code</a>.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not 1954 anymore,&quot; Dean Angelo said. &quot;With cameras everywhere, in squad cars, on everyone&#39;s cellphone ... officers aren&#39;t going to make a conscious effort to engage in conduct that puts their own livelihoods at risk.&quot;</p><p>But the scrutiny that followed McDonald&#39;s death reveals a system that makes it difficult to fire problem officers and reduces their punishment or delays it for months or years after their reports are exposed as lies.</p><p>The code of silence also figured into another video: footage of off-duty officer Anthony Abbate pummeling a bartender. Officers who responded to the 911 call did not include in their reports the bartender&#39;s contention that she was attacked by an officer named Tony, according to testimony in federal court. A jury in 2012 awarded her $850,000 and concluded there was a code of silence.</p><p>Like other police departments, Chicago&#39;s police force has long insisted that it doesn&#39;t tolerate dishonesty. When <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160106/downtown/inside-chicago-police-union-contract-document-shows-rules-of-force">allegations surface about officers lying</a> in a report, they are stripped of their police powers and assigned to desk duty pending the outcome of an internal probe, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.</p><p>If the investigation determines the officer was, in fact, dishonest, the department says it moves, without exception, to have that person fired.</p><p>However, unlike New York, Baltimore and other cities, Chicago&#39;s police superintendent cannot independently dismiss an officer. That decision belongs to the Chicago Police Board, whose nine civilian members are appointed by the mayor.</p><p>It is not unusual for the board to reject recommendations of the superintendent and the city&#39;s Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings.</p><p>That happened when former Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommended sergeant and a lieutenant be fired for lying in their reports about the accidental discharge of pepper spray in a restaurant. The board agreed that the two had lied but decided to suspend them each for 30 days.</p><p>Critics say officers are emboldened to cover up their own misdeeds and those of others because the code extends to City Hall. In the case of the beaten bartender, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel&#39;s administration responded to the verdict by asking a judge to throw out the jury&#39;s finding because it would set a precedent for potentially costly future lawsuits.</p><p>The police union contract also plays a role. It includes a provision that officers who are not shown video of alleged misconduct before being interviewed cannot be disciplined for lying about the recorded events.</p><p>&quot;All of this sends a message to police who abuse their police powers that they can operate with impunity,&quot; said the Rev. Marshall Hatch, a prominent local minister.</p><p>The issue came to a head in the McDonald case. Weeks after the shooting, Futterman, the law professor, and a journalist publicly urged the city to release the video. A few months later, a detective concluded that the shooting was justifiable homicide by an officer trying to protect his own life, and that the dashboard camera video was consistent with witness accounts.</p><p>Emails between City Hall and the police department and others make it clear that the mayor&#39;s office was aware of concerns about the officers&#39; truthfulness. But there is no indication in the emails that Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s office demanded or even suggested that someone compare the video with the police reports. Instead, Emanuel&#39;s office chose to wait for the results of federal and local probes, mayoral spokesman Adam Collins.</p><p>Guglielmi said that the McDonald case highlights the need for the department to pay closer attention to any discrepancies between videos and written police reports.</p><p>Hatch is skeptical, pointing out that not only are all the officers still getting paid, but Van Dyke himself drew a paycheck while working for 13 months until he was charged.</p><p>&quot;Nobody ever said, &#39;Wait a minute, these officers who filed reports inconsistent with the facts are all still working, including the officer who shot the kid 16 times,&#39;&quot; he said. &quot;Accountability in cases of police misconduct, it just doesn&#39;t exist.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teens-death-shines-light-police-code-silence-114758 No Comment From Grinning Martin Shkreli at House Hearing on Drug Prices http://www.wbez.org/news/no-comment-grinning-martin-shkreli-house-hearing-drug-prices-114734 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/drugs.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res465557408" previewtitle="Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, smiles beside Nancy Retzlaff, Turing's chief commercial officer, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, smiles beside Nancy Retzlaff, Turing's chief commercial officer, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/04/gettyimages-508357106_wide-5bdb51c7a02e95576bc7d2952a642b40ed4eb70e-s600-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, smiles beside Nancy Retzlaff, Turing's chief commercial officer, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical executive who inspired wrath <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-09-22/drug-used-cost-1350-tablet-now-costs-750-can-be-justified-113032">when he raised the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent</a>, appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday for a hearing on prescription drug prices.</p></div></div></div><p>But his testimony was far from fruitful.</p><p>You may remember that Shkreli, the founder and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, became infamous last year. His company bought the rights to the drug Daraprim, which treats a deadly parasitic infection, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/23/442907028/turing-pharmaceuticals-retreats-from-plan-to-raise-price-of-daraprim">raised the price from $13 a pill to $750 a pill</a>. The company later backed off that increase, but Shkreli defended the decision as simply a good business decision.</p><div id="res465557843"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>Separately, he&#39;s been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/17/460092620/reports-fbi-arrests-turing-pharmaceuticals-ceo-shkreli-on-fraud-charges">arrested for fraud</a>&nbsp;over a hedge fund he managed from 2009 to 2014. In December, he&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/18/460288856/martin-shkreli-resigns-as-turing-pharmaceuticals-ceo">resigned as Turing&#39;s chief executive</a>.</p><p>Shkreli appeared before the House committee on Thursday to discuss drug pricing. The hearing also featured testimony from Dr. Janet Woodcock and Keith Flanagan of the FDA, Howard Schiller of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (which also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/09/458976680/senate-questions-egregious-price-hikes-for-specialty-medicines">has been criticized over its price hikes</a>), Nancy Retzlaff of Turing and Mark Merritt of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.</p><p>In Turing&#39;s defense, Retzlaff said that two-thirds of patients receive Daraprim at a steep discount through government programs, and that the company funds an assistance program for uninsured, low-income patients.</p><p>Shkreli was much more tight-lipped. His lawyer had advised him to plead the Fifth. And Shkreli followed that advice to the letter.</p><p>After Shkreli declined to give an opening statement, here&#39;s how the first exchange went:</p><blockquote><div><p>Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the committee:&nbsp;&quot;What do you say to that single pregnant woman who might have AIDS, no income, she needs Daraprim in order to survive. What do you say to her when she has to make that choice? What do you say to her?&quot;</p><p>Shkreli:&nbsp;&quot;On the advice of counsel, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.&quot;</p><p>...</p><p>Chaffetz:&nbsp;&quot;Do you think you&#39;ve done anything wrong?&quot;</p><p>Shkreli:&nbsp;&quot;On the advice of counsel,&quot; (pausing for a moment) &quot;I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>Shkreli confirmed the pronunciation of his name, but otherwise refused to answer all questions directed his way &mdash; even one about his exclusive hip-hop album. (Shkreli bought&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/09/459059359/sole-copy-of-latest-wu-tang-album-was-sold-to-pharma-bro">the sole copy</a>&nbsp;of the Wu-Tang Clan album&nbsp;Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.Months after he bought it,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-martin-shkreli-wu-tang-clan-album/">he said</a>&nbsp;he still hadn&#39;t listened to the album, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vice.com/video/drinking-wine-and-playing-chess-at-martin-shkrelis-midtown-apartment">he did play it for a Vice reporter</a>.)</p><p>Shkreli isn&#39;t usually so reticent. He has been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2015/12/03/what-martin-shkreli-says-now-i-shouldve-raised-prices-higher/#298d30321964">outspoken</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2015/12/03/what-martin-shkreli-says-now-i-shouldve-raised-prices-higher/#298d30321964">unapologetic</a>&nbsp;in his conversations with reporters &mdash; and his&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8gjB1PSXv_oAUSAQ16S0fA">live video streams</a>&nbsp;from his apartment.</p><p>In fact, his new lawyer has said he agreed to represent Shkreli on one condition: The 32-year-old had to stop granting interviews with the press.</p><p>A visibly frustrated Rep. Trey Gowdy pointed out that Shkreli could answer a wide range of questions without incriminating himself.</p><p>&quot;I intend to follow the advice of my counsel, not yours,&quot; the former pharmaceutical executive said with a tight smile.</p><p>&quot;Well, Mr. Chairman, I am vexed,&quot; Gowdy said, pointing to Shkreli&#39;s readiness to talk to the press, but not to Congress.</p><p>Rep. Elijah Cummings, for his part, didn&#39;t even attempt to question Shkreli, and instead pleaded with him &mdash; arguing that Shkreli could use his position, and his influence over his former company, as a force for good. Cummings said Shkreli could use his influence to advocate for patients&#39; rights and could &quot;make a difference in so many people&#39;s lives.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I know you&#39;re smiling,&quot; Cummings said, &quot;But I&#39;m very serious, sir. The way I see it, you can go down in history as the poster boy for greedy drug company executives, or you could change the system.</p><p>&quot;Yeah,&nbsp;you.&quot;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="437" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BPPerZLjp4M" width="777"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/04/465548279/no-comment-from-grinning-martin-shkreli-at-house-hearing-on-drug-prices?ft=nprml&amp;f=465548279"><em>&mdash;via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-comment-grinning-martin-shkreli-house-hearing-drug-prices-114734 Bodies of Six People Found Inside Home on Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/news/bodies-six-people-found-inside-home-chicagos-south-side-114707 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3828403109_4e3bb2576c_z_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Death investigation underway. 57th and California . Interim Superintendent is on scene <a href="https://t.co/a6hedmJSEY">pic.twitter.com/a6hedmJSEY</a></p>&mdash; Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) <a href="https://twitter.com/Chicago_Police/status/695351271184687104">February 4, 2016</a></blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash;&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police say the bodies of four men, one woman and a child have been found inside a home on the city&#39;s South Side.</p><p>The Latest on six people found dead in a house on&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;South Side (all times local):</p><p><strong>12:50 p.m.</strong></p><p>A woman who lives next door to a&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;home where six people were found dead says the victims were &quot;nice, quiet people.&quot;</p><p>Chicago&nbsp;police found the bodies of two children, ages 10 and 13, two men and two women in a home Thursday on the city&#39;s South Side. Authorities say the victims suffered blunt force trauma.</p><p>On Friday, next-door neighbor Mayra Diego said the family members were peaceful people who would come over and visit her mother.</p><p>Diego remembered the children playing with a ball and the family having summer gatherings. She lamented that neighbors like herself couldn&#39;t have done something or noticed anything that would have stopped the killings.</p><p>Autopsies on the victims were planned Friday.</p><p><strong>8 a.m.</strong></p><p>Chicago&nbsp;police say the six people found dead in a home on the city&#39;s South Side appear to be members of the same family.</p><p>Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy says investigators believe they know the victims&#39; identities. But he says authorities won&#39;t release that information until a relative has formally identified them and an autopsy has been finished.</p><p>Roy told reporters Friday that there were no signs of gunfire at the scene and that the victims died of blunt force trauma. He added that officers found the home&#39;s doors locked and there was no sign of a break-in.</p><p>Officers discovered the bodies Thursday, and police said the case was being treated as a multiple homicide.</p><p><strong>7:45 a.m.</strong></p><p>Chicago&nbsp;police say two women, two men and two children aged 10 and 13 were found dead inside a home on the city&#39;s South Side.</p><p>Chicago&nbsp;Police Chief of Detective Eugene Roy said Friday morning that the victims suffered blunt trauma. The bodies were found Thursday afternoon. Police initially said four men, a woman and a child were killed.</p><p>Roy says the victims&#39; identities will be released after the Cook County medical examiner performs autopsies Friday morning.</p><p>He says there was no sign of forced entry to the residence. He says the victims weren&#39;t bound and that the home didn&#39;t appear ransacked.</p><p>Interim&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Police Superintendent John Escalante said Thursday that the case appeared to be an isolated incident and that there was no wider threat to the community.</p></p> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/bodies-six-people-found-inside-home-chicagos-south-side-114707 Illinois Ranks Third in Exonerations, Contributing to Record High Nationwide http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-ranks-third-exonerations-contributing-record-high-nationwide-114695 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Exonerations_160203_az.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Binging episodes of <em><a href="https://serialpodcast.org/">Serial </a></em>or <em><a href="https://www.netflix.com/title/80000770">Making A Murderer</a></em> may be only a guilty pleasure for most, but some experts say the popularity of investigative crime shows can actually be linked to a record high number of exonerations. A <a href="https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Exonerations_in_2015.pdf">study </a>released this week by the National Registry of Exonerations shows 149 wrongfully convicted people were released in 2015 - with 13 of them in Illinois.</p><p dir="ltr">Tara Thompson, an attorney with the<a href="http://www.exonerationproject.org/"> Exoneration Project</a> at the University of Chicago, said there is definitely a connection between rising numbers of exonerations and the exploding fanbase for true-crime shows. She says these investigative shows are making people realize that mistakes are common in the justice system, even when the accused are given a lawyer and jury trial.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;These kinds of shows that have some kind of entertainment value to them, that promise people a mystery, encourages people to be interested in this issue in a way that regular media attention wouldn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Thompson said, &ldquo;And more public awareness ... leads to more pressure on politicians to think about these cases in a certain way.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Nationally there are nearly three exonerations a week, according to the study. These exonerations used to be big news, but the Exoneration Project&rsquo;s Jon Loevy says they&rsquo;ve become more common because of the advent of DNA testing. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s now becoming part of our society, part of our judicial system, and now part of our culture that some convictions are wrongful convictions,&rdquo; said Loevy. &ldquo;The public at large has a greater understanding that sometimes people confess to crimes they didn&rsquo;t commit, sometimes eyewitnesses get it wrong, sometimes people are wrongfully convicted for crimes they didn&rsquo;t commit.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Illinois had the third highest rate of exonerations last year. &nbsp;Loevy says the state -- and Chicago in particular -- have historically had a problem in trying to close criminal cases regardless of guilt or innocence, leading to wrongful convictions. However, he adds, just because there are less exonerations in other states doesn&rsquo;t mean there are less wrongful convictions -- only less people to expose them.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alissa Zhu is a WBEZ news intern. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/AlissaZhu">@AlissaZhu</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 17:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-ranks-third-exonerations-contributing-record-high-nationwide-114695 911 Audio: Mother Asks For Help Getting Son To Hospital, Then Son Killed in Police-Involved Shooting http://www.wbez.org/news/911-audio-mother-asks-help-getting-son-hospital-then-son-killed-police-involved-shooting-114649 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/policeline_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ has obtained the 911 call from another recent police officer involved shooting. In the audio above, we walk you through that call and one following it, and accounts from both the police and family, with this caution: the recordings may be difficult for sensitive listeners.</p><p dir="ltr">On <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-man-wounded-in-police-involved-shooting-on-west-side-20150925-story.html">Sept. 25, 2015</a>, Pamela Anderson called 911 and told the operator she needed help getting her son, who had a history of mental illness, to the hospital. The operator asked if he was violent.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He&rsquo;s cursing and stuff, talking about he what is going to do,&rdquo; Pamela Anderson answered.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Well, cursing is not violent,&rdquo; the operator replied.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But, yes, &nbsp;he is acting like he is, yes,&rdquo; Anderson said.</p><p dir="ltr">The operator asked if her son had a weapon and the mother said her son had a box cutter in his pocket. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But he is not going to use it. You don&rsquo;t need to come here with no guns or nothing,&rdquo; the mother said.</p><p dir="ltr">What happened after police arrived on the scene is less clear.</p><p dir="ltr">Police documents say that James Anderson charged at them with a knife, maybe two knives, or knife-like objects. Those reports say police tried to stop Anderson with a Taser, but that when that failed to stop him, they shot.</p><p dir="ltr">A court case filed by the mother, however, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-cop-shooting-lawsuit-james-anderson-met-20160127-story.html">tells a very different story</a>. It says an officer walked into the house with his gun drawn. The mother says she begged him to put it away. She says officers went to James Anderson&rsquo;s bedroom and knocked. When her son emerged, no weapon in hand, Pamela Anderson says police shot.</p><p dir="ltr">Though the accounts from the mother and the police are different, from first-responder documents we know James Anderson was shot at least five times and died.</p><p dir="ltr">Later a neighbor called 911 to say the mother was on the ground, out in the street, presumably in shock. When the 911 operator asks the neighbor if police see the mother in the street, the neighbor says, &ldquo;They don&rsquo;t give a [expletive] about her. They just killed her son.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago agency that reviews all police shootings has an open investigation of the case and Chicago&rsquo;s Police Department says it will not comment on open cases.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a reporter at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Sat, 30 Jan 2016 15:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/911-audio-mother-asks-help-getting-son-hospital-then-son-killed-police-involved-shooting-114649 Attorney Says Chicago Officer Didn't Tamper with Dashcam http://www.wbez.org/news/attorney-says-chicago-officer-didnt-tamper-dashcam-114646 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Laquan-Jason-Van-Dyke4.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash;&nbsp;A white&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times did not tamper with his squad car&#39;s dashcam, his attorney said Friday in response to a&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;news outlet&#39;s report this week that the device was intentionally damaged.</p><p>DNAinfo Chicago obtained Chicago Police Department maintenance records through a public information request that show the dashboard video and audio recording device in officer Jason Van Dyke&#39;s vehicle was damaged and repaired at least twice in the months leading up to the October 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.</p><p>During the night of the shooting, the system recorded video but did not capture any audio.</p><p>Also Friday, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-get-more-mental-illness-training-114639">Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s office announced expanded police reforms</a> that include enhanced training for police officers and 911 dispatchers on interacting with people in crisis, particularly those with mental illness. The training is in part a response to another fatal police shooting on Dec. 26, in which officers responded to a domestic disturbance.</p><p>Police have said 19-year-old <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/following-police-shooting-clean-questions-and-coping-austin-114310">Quintonio</a><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/following-police-shooting-clean-questions-and-coping-austin-114310"> Legrier</a> was &quot;combative&quot; toward police; a neighbor who wasn&#39;t involved in the disturbance, 55-year-old Bettie Jones, was also killed. The city agency that investigates police misconduct said this week that Legrier called 911 three times before he was shot.</p><p>The squad car video of the McDonald shooting, which was released in November, contradicted officer accounts that McDonald lunged at them, setting off weeks of protests, accusations of a cover-up and demands for Emanuel&#39;s resignation. It also prompted a wide-ranging civil rights investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.</p><p>&quot;Let me be very clear on this, my client had nothing to do with any tampering of an audio,&quot; Van Dyke attorney Dan Herbert told reporters after a preliminary hearing on Van Dyke&#39;s charges of first-degree murder. &quot;If this audio was tampered with then it was tampered with by somebody other than Jason Van Dyke.&quot;</p><p>The maintenance records show that a day after technicians fixed the device&#39;s wiring in June, it was intentionally damaged, the DNAinfo report said. It was fixed another time in October, but on the night of the shooting, 12 days later, the system did not record any audio. A review of videos downloaded from the system concluded that personnel failed to sync the microphones, the report said.</p><p>Herbert said no individual police officer is assigned to one specific vehicle, suggesting that if the device in the vehicle that Van Dyke used the night of the McDonald shooting had been damaged, another officer could be to blame.</p><p>Videos from four other squad cars at the scene also did not have audio. Several experts on the type of equipment commonly installed in police vehicles spoke to The Associated Press in December about the lack of audio and said that it&#39;s plausible for a single squad car to have a glitch, but they could not imagine how an entire fleet of cars would lose audio at the same time and place by happenstance.</p><p>Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday that he said could not comment on whether Van Dyke tampered with the dashcam in his vehicle because the case is under investigation.</p><p>Chicago Police conducted an audit that determined that about 80 percent of the department&#39;s cameras did not have functioning audio systems and acknowledged some had been &quot;maliciously&quot; damaged by officers.</p><p>The department has taken a number of steps to try to regain the trust of the community. Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante warned officers that they would be disciplined if their dashboard cameras were not in working order or failed to turn on their dashcam microphones.</p><p>Guglielmi said Friday that the department now audits dashcams on a daily basis and that &quot;officers and supervisors will be held accountable.&quot; Since the closer scrutiny began last month, 20 officers and supervisors have faced discipline ranging from reprimands to a few days&#39; suspension, Guglielmi said, adding that &quot;there is still work to do.&quot;</p><p>Van Dyke, who is charged with first-degree murder, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-charged-fatal-shooting-laquan-mcdonald-pleads-not-guilty-114306">has pleaded not guilty</a>. His attorney told reporters Friday that the officer and his family have received death threats. He has no formal protection, but the police department is aware of the threats and &quot;taking precautions,&quot; Herbert said.</p><p>He also said he&#39;s still considering making a request for a change of trial venue, because he says it will be &quot;extremely difficult&quot; to seat an impartial jury in Chicago. Other officers at the scene are also under investigation because of apparent discrepancies between what they said happened in their reports and what the video shows happened.</p><p><em>Associated Press writers Don Babwin and Michael Tarm contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 14:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/attorney-says-chicago-officer-didnt-tamper-dashcam-114646 Jury Convicts ex-Chicago Official in Red-Light Camera Case http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-convicts-ex-chicago-official-red-light-camera-case-114622 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/redlight.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; A federal jury convicted a former&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;transportation official on Tuesday for taking bribes to steer $100 million in red-light camera contracts to a Phoenix company.</p><p>Jurors returned with guilty verdicts on all 20 counts against John Bills, the former second-in-command at&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;Department of Transportation. Bills was accused of accepting envelopes stuffed with cash, along with gifts &mdash; including condos in two states and a Mercedes &mdash; to help Redflex Traffic Systems obtain contracts in a decade-long scheme.</p><p>During closing arguments Monday, U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon detailed hotels stays, golf trips, an Arizona condominium, a&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;apartment and a Mercedes given to Bills for his efforts.</p><p>Defense attorney Nishay Sanan told jurors in his closing arguments that the money actually went to &quot;lobbyists who funneled it upstairs,&quot; tossing out names including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan,&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Mayor Rahm Emanuel and&nbsp;ChicagoAlderman Edward Burke, the&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Tribune reported.</p><p>&quot;You don&#39;t give that kind of money to a guy like John Bills. You give it to people who can get things done,&quot; Sanan told jurors, who began deliberating Monday.</p><p>No elected officials have been implicated by prosecutors in the scheme. Fardon called Sanan&#39;s contention &quot;malarkey,&quot; and prosecutors showed emails in which Bills described his efforts for Redflex.</p><p>&quot;The idea that lobbyists were paid to funnel money to people like Mike Madigan and Ed Burke and Rahm Emanuel is pretty grandiose, but there is not one single shred of evidence that supports any of it,&quot; Fardon said.</p><p>Martin O&#39;Malley, who was hired as a Redflex consultant, testified that he passed envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash at a time to Bills at a restaurant. O&#39;Malley has pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme.</p><p>&quot;Sometimes there would be other people there with us, but they couldn&#39;t tell what was happening,&quot; O&#39;Malley told jurors during the trial.</p><p>O&#39;Malley said he collected about $2 million in bogus commissions during the 10-year conspiracy. He said Redflex paid him a commission every time a new camera system was installed in&nbsp;Chicago.</p><p>Former Redflex executive Karen Finley also has pleaded guilty to related charges. She is scheduled for sentencing this year.</p><p>Emanuel canceled Redflex&#39;s contract in 2013 following the&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Tribune&#39;s reports about the alleged bribery scheme. Bills retired from his job as&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;managing deputy commissioner of transportation in 2011. He was charged in 2014.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 14:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-convicts-ex-chicago-official-red-light-camera-case-114622 Big Changes Coming for Some Prisoners http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-26/big-changes-coming-some-prisoners-114619 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/solitary1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>By executive action, President Obama is banning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles held in federal prison, and also for low-level offenders.</p><p>Writing&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/barack-obama-why-we-must-rethink-solitary-confinement/2016/01/25/29a361f2-c384-11e5-8965-0607e0e265ce_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory" target="_blank">in today&rsquo;s <em>Washington Post</em></a><em>, </em>Obama cites the case of Kalief Browder in New York City, who was 16 when he was accused of stealing a backpack.</p><hr /><p>Browder spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement during the three years he was held at Rikers Island without a trial.</p><p>He killed himself after he was released.</p><p>Yesterday, the Supreme Court&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/25/464338364/supreme-court-opens-door-to-parole-for-juvenile-lifers?utm_campaign=storyshare&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_medium=social" target="_blank">ruled in favor</a>&nbsp;of allowing parole or reduced sentences for inmates in state prisons who were children when they committed murder decades ago, a ruling that Antonin Scalia called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-280_4h25.pdf#page=4" target="_blank">astonishing</a>.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2016/01/26/prison-solitary-confinement" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 12:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-26/big-changes-coming-some-prisoners-114619