WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Illinois' child welfare system leaves kids stuck in jail http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576 <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/Screen%20Shot%202015-02-17%20at%207.25.53%20PM.png" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Youth at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center at an event in 2014. A WBEZ investigation found that kids spend weeks, or even months, in the jail because DCFS can’t find a place for them to live. (Photo courtesy of Bill Healy)" /></div><p>There&rsquo;s a kid in the Cook County juvenile jail right now who isn&rsquo;t supposed to be there. A judge ordered his release on January 29.</p><p>Because he is a juvenile, WBEZ isn&rsquo;t using his name, but his problem is not unique. Even after a judge has ordered their release, lots of kids wait weeks, even months to be picked up.</p><p>Their deadbeat guardian is the State of Illinois, and these kids are stuck in juvenile jail because the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can&rsquo;t find a place to put them.</p><p>A WBEZ analysis of data from Cook County found that in the three-year period between October 2011 and October 2014, there were 344 instances when kids waited a week or more in the jail for DCFS to come pick them up.</p><p>Last year the longest wait was 190 days&mdash;more than half the year.</p><p>And it&rsquo;s not just that there are a lot of young people waiting. They are waiting specifically because of the failures of DCFS.</p><p>Kids get sent to the juvenile jail for a number of reasons. Some are waiting for trial, others are serving a punishment. No matter who they are or why they&rsquo;re there, kids can&rsquo;t leave unless someone comes to take custody of them.</p><p>The data doesn&rsquo;t account for how many of the 344 times involved the same kid held more than once, so to check on daily counts, we asked jail staff to give us a snapshot of every kid who was waiting to be picked up. On the day we asked, Oct. 16, 2014, there were 19 kids in the jail who had been ordered released by a judge and were just waiting on a guardian to pick them up.</p><p>Thirteen were waiting for DCFS.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it sends a very disturbing message to a child to say there&rsquo;s no reason for you to be held in detention, but we&rsquo;re not working hard enough, or we&rsquo;re not making you enough of a priority to find a place for you to go,&rdquo; said Bruce Boyer, the director of the Civitas Childlaw Clinic at Loyola University Chicago.</p><p>&rdquo;We&rsquo;re talking about children that a judge has looked at their case and said, &lsquo;There&rsquo;s no risk here. This child should be at home or in a community based setting, whether it&rsquo;s a foster home or somewhere else.&rsquo; So, that&rsquo;s incredibly disruptive to the child,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Antoine Brown has lived through that disruption.</p><p>Brown is 25 now and lives in Marion, Illinois. But when he was 14, Brown spent about six months in Cook County&rsquo;s juvenile jail waiting for DCFS to find him a bed.</p><p>&ldquo;It kinda like crushes your spirit so you&rsquo;ll be like ... I don&rsquo;t care anymore so I&rsquo;m just gonna act out and do whatever I want to do,&rdquo; Brown said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s hell. I mean, if you&rsquo;re not a cool person then you get picked on.&rdquo;</p><p>Jennifer Vollen Katz with prison watchdog John Howard Association says Brown&rsquo;s frustration is typical for kids stuck in jail.</p><p>&ldquo;You will see the behavior begin to deteriorate, because that&rsquo;s just an incredibly high level of frustration for a young person to grapple with,&rdquo; Vollen Katz said.</p><p>Vollen Katz says that&rsquo;s especially bad because this is a population at a crucial point. The choices they&mdash;and their caregivers&mdash;make will decide if these kids move on from a troubled childhood to become successful adults, or get stuck in the so-called prison pipeline.</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/Screen%20Shot%202015-02-17%20at%207.26.47%20PM.png" style="height: 411px; width: 620px;" title="The outside of the Cook County juvenile jail at Roosevelt and Hamilton. (Photo courtesy of Bill Healy)" /></div><p>&ldquo;The system has failed them time and again, so for the system to tell them, if you do this then you&rsquo;re gonna get to go and for that not to actually happen, I think is just another indicator that trusting authority is probably not a safe bet for some of these kids,&quot; Vollen Katz said. &quot;And that&rsquo;s not a message we want to be giving them.&quot;</p><p>Boyer says many of the kids forced to wait have been in the child care system for most of their lives. Often they&rsquo;ve been abused or neglected, passed from foster home to foster home.</p><p>That means most of these young men and women truly have special needs.</p><p>&ldquo;These are the needs that really require treatment, whether it&rsquo;s counseling or other kinds of services. And these are the sorts of things that frankly are just not available in the detention center,&rdquo; Boyer said.</p><p>DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach says the department is aware of kids languishing in jail, but right now the department isn&rsquo;t planning any changes to fix it.</p><p>Flach says more money would help, but the state also needs more well-run residential treatment centers able to care for these children.</p><p>Flach believes leadership from new Director George Sheldon will eventually fix problems like kids waiting in jail.</p><p>Loyola&rsquo;s Bruce Boyer says the best way to address the problem is to keep kids out of jail in the first place.</p><p>&ldquo;If we had resources for dealing with kids who get into conflict with the law, that would allow us to find placements in the community for them that would be a lot less expensive than maintaining kids in a very expensive detention facility,&rdquo; Boyer said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how we break out of this cycle, but we have to figure out a way &hellip; to be more farsighted.&rdquo;</p><p>Cook County estimates that it costs more than $500 a day to house one person in the juvenile temporary detention center.</p><p>And those instances when kids waited a week or more&mdash;the time they spent waiting on DCFS adds up to more than 7,300 days in Cook County juvenile jail.</p><p>That&rsquo;s almost $4 million taxpayer dollars spent over three years.</p><p>And for all that money, the kids didn&rsquo;t get special counseling or intensive therapy. Instead, they got all the wrong lessons about the justice system, and a pretty direct message that they don&rsquo;t matter. At least not enough.</p><p><em><a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">Patrick Smith</a> is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Angela Caputo also contributed reporting for this story.</em></p></p> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-child-welfare-system-leaves-kids-stuck-jail-111576 Elgin imam charged with sexually assaulting woman http://www.wbez.org/news/elgin-imam-charged-sexually-assaulting-woman-111573 <p><p>The longtime head of a suburban Chicago Islamic school has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a 23-year-old woman who worked at the school.</p><p>Elgin police said Tuesday that 75-year-old Mohammad Abdullah Saleem of Gilberts faces a felony charge and was arrested Sunday. He is due in Cook County bond court on Tuesday.</p><p>Police say they investigated the well-known Islamic scholar, or imam, after the woman contacted authorities in December. Police say she told them the abuse happened while she was working at the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin.</p><p>The school includes grades six through 12. It&#39;s located 25 miles northwest of Chicago.</p><p>No one answered the phone at the school Tuesday morning. A phone number listed under Saleem&#39;s name in Gilberts was disconnected.</p></p> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 08:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/elgin-imam-charged-sexually-assaulting-woman-111573 How will deaths by child abuse, neglect move Rauner's budget? http://www.wbez.org/news/how-will-deaths-child-abuse-neglect-move-rauners-budget-111569 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Amierah%20Roberson.jpg" style="float: right; height: 415px; width: 300px;" title="Amierah Roberson, 19 months, died March 2014 from abusive head trauma. Her body was found in the woods after being set on fire. Her mother's boyfriend was charged." />The number of Illinois children dying from abuse and neglect remains high even after the state&rsquo;s child welfare agency had been involved with the child&rsquo;s family, according to a new analysis from WBEZ and the <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em>.</p><p>It comes as Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has vowed to &ldquo;transform&rdquo; the state&rsquo;s long-troubled Department of Children and Family Services.</p></div><p>Rauner made child deaths a major issue during his campaign for governor. His campaign put out a dramatic television commercial:</p><p>&ldquo;They were just children. Our most vulnerable with their whole lives ahead. Lives cut short tragically, senselessly from abuse, neglect while in the care of Pat Quinn&rsquo;s administration,&rdquo; the voiceover narrator intoned.</p><p>Rauner&rsquo;s campaign used numbers analyzed by WBEZ and the <em>Sun-Times</em> to attack his opponent, then-Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn.</p><p>Quinn called the ad &ldquo;despicable,&rdquo; and said it was a new low to say the governor is responsible for the deaths of children when the state intervenes with troubled families.</p><p>Rauner won election, and now the responsibility he laid on Quinn&mdash;falls to Rauner himself.</p><p><font color="#333333" face="Arial, sans-serif"><span style="font-size: 22px; line-height: 22px;">Children in state&#39;s system have complex lives</span></font></p><p>Child welfare is complicated and far-reaching.</p><p>The <em><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/rtc/" target="_blank">Chicago Tribune</a></em> has been documenting abuses at residential treatment centers for older youth. And there hasn&rsquo;t been consistent leadership at DCFS in more than a year. Rauner just recently named George Sheldon from Florida to lead the agency. Child welfare advocates like Ben Wolf say if Rauner wants to transform DCFS, he has to be mindful of these issues in addition to things like foster care, mental health and juvenile detention.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/372802/29-kids-among-illinois-child-welfare-agencys-faces-failure" target="_blank">29 more kids among Illinois child-welfare agency&rsquo;s faces of failure</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;We have to have the right priorities with money in order to get the right people,&rdquo; said Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who monitors DCFS through a court-ordered consent decree.</p><p>Rauner is scheduled to propose how much money should go toward DCFS and other state agencies Wednesday. He faces a big budget hole for all of state government. A spokeswoman for the governor&rsquo;s office said Rauner will propose a reasonable budget to turn around the agency, and that he&rsquo;s expanding the role of the national Casey Family Programs in Illinois&rsquo; child welfare.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 22px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 22px; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; display: inline !important; float: none;">Child deaths by neglect and abuse</span></p><p>As Rauner finishes his budget, we wanted to give him an up-to-date picture of what he faces with DCFS. WBEZ worked with the <em>Sun-Times</em> once again to look at child deaths. The most current information available is from last July, well before Rauner won election.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="550" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://cf.datawrapper.de/LGk76/1/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>We found 29 Illinois kids died from abuse or neglect after DCFS had investigated claims of problems at home or involving caretakers of those children.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a number that&rsquo;s held steady over the last couple of years.</p><p>We reviewed documents about children who died from neglect in situations like unsafe sleeping conditions.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s abuse.</p><p>We found 10 instances of child abuse that resulted in death &mdash; again, even though state child welfare workers had already been involved with the family or caregiver.</p><p>That&rsquo;s down a little bit from previous years, but the cases are no less shocking.</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/Jakariah%20Patterson.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Jakarriah Patterson, 2, died March 2014. Her father was charged with murder. The little girl was found with dozens of bruises on her body" />It&rsquo;s tragedies like that of 2-year-old Jakarriah Patterson that Gov. Rauner will have to consider as he thinks about where to prioritize DCFS in the budget.</div><p>Jakarriah&rsquo;s father, Jeremiah Thompson, called 911 on March 19, 2014, from his home in south suburban Lansing, to report his daughter was not responsive.</p><p>&ldquo;Wake up, baby. Wake up,&rdquo; Thompson is heard saying on the 911 call.</p><p>A year before Jakarriah&rsquo;s death, DCFS found Thompson to have caused bruising to Jakarriah&rsquo;s face and buttocks and scratches to her back.</p><p>Cook County prosecutors later charged Thompson in Jakarriah&rsquo;s death.</p><p>Police reports say after she died, Thompson was haunted by Jakarriah calling for him and he put toilet paper in his ears while in a holding cell.</p><p>Thompson told the police he would sometimes hit Jakarriah for things like going into a room she wasn&rsquo;t supposed to.</p><p>Jakarriah had been living with her mother, Karla Patterson, but when Patterson was put out of her mother&rsquo;s home in Wisconsin, she made the fateful decision to give Jakarriah to Thompson.</p><p>There are 28 other cases we found in which DCFS had contact with the family or caretakers before the child died from abuse or neglect.</p><p>Among them is that of 19-month-old Amierah Roberson. A daycare worker reported to DCFS that Amierah had bruises and scratches. DCFS was still investigating those claims a month later, when her mother&rsquo;s boyfriend allegedly beat Amierah to death and then burned her body.</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/Anterio%20K.%20Schlieper%20.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Anterio K. Schlieper, 4 months, died June 2014. His body was found after he had been co-sleeping with his parents. Both parents admitted to smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol before going to sleep. Both parents pleaded guilty to endangering the health and life of a child, a misdemeanor, court records show." />There&rsquo;s also 4-month-old Anterio Schlieper.</div><p>The DCFS inspector general said the agency investigated his parents in Moline, Illinois, four times in two years and even requested an order of supervision for the kids in the house.</p><p>But the Rock Island State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s office did not agree and the order wasn&rsquo;t granted. Anterio was found unresponsive in the morning after his parents had taken him into their bed at night.</p><p>They admitted to police they had drunk alcohol and smoked marijuana before going to sleep. Both pleaded guilty to charges related to Anterio&rsquo;s death.</p><p>&ldquo;I think this is the time when the new governor has to decide if his priority is compassion toward our most powerless citizens or is reducing spending,&rdquo; said Ben Wolf with the ACLU.</p><p>Wolf said former Gov. Rod Blagojevich politicized DCFS about 10 years ago, and it&rsquo;s been deteriorating ever since. Wolf said he&rsquo;ll be watching Gov. Rauner&rsquo;s budget recommendations for DCFS to see how Rauner intends to undo that history.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>. Chris Fusco and Becky Schlikerman are reporters for the Chicago Sun-Times. Follow them <a href="https://twitter.com/fuscochris" target="_blank">@fuscochris</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/schlikerman" target="_blank">@schlikerman</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 19:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-will-deaths-child-abuse-neglect-move-rauners-budget-111569 Two Chicago-area malls limit teens on weekends http://www.wbez.org/news/two-chicago-area-malls-limit-teens-weekends-111561 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/fordcity.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Malls are, by definition, teen-magnets. But new policies at two Chicago-area malls will change that.</p><p>If kids 17 and under want to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights at the Ford City Mall on Chicago&rsquo;s southwest Side, they&rsquo;ll have to bring a parent or adult. A similar rule started last weekend at nearby Chicago Ridge Mall.</p><p>If you ask people at Ford City Mall about teenagers, it&rsquo;s pretty likely you&rsquo;ll hear about trouble.</p><p>&ldquo;Throughout the mall, like around Christmas time, there was a couple little fights going on,&rdquo; said Ford City Foot Locker employee Jackie Cox.</p><p>People still talk about an incident two years ago when crowds of teenagers ran through Ford City and out into the parking lot, jumping on cars.</p><p>And<a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/ford-city-mall-chicago"> online reviews of Ford City</a> describe a place that used to be THE COOLEST. Now, reviewers say, it has too many closed stores, and that it &rsquo;just doesn&rsquo;t feel safe.&rdquo;</p><p>Though managers at both Chicago Ridge and Ford City say teen violence isn&rsquo;t why they&rsquo;re restricting kids on weekend nights, they&rsquo;re just the third and fourth malls in all of Illinois to do it.</p><p>Jesse Tron, industry spokesman for shopping centers in the U.S., said it may seem like this is a growing trend, but only about 80 malls in the country have rules about teens. That&rsquo;s about 6.5 percent.</p><p>&ldquo;They like to sort of exhaust all options beforehand,&rdquo; Tron said. &ldquo;But if there&rsquo;s a repeated pattern of issues and it becomes clear that it&rsquo;s necessary, then they will absolutely go to it. Because their number one priority is creating a safe, comfortable environment for all consumers.&rdquo;</p><p>At Ford City Mall, managers say that means making the mall more &ldquo;family friendly.&rdquo;</p><p>Most of its 130 storefronts are still occupied with typical mall stuff &mdash; there&rsquo;s a pretzel place and a Bath and Body Works. It&rsquo;s not hard to spot security guards &mdash; they travel in pairs..</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a good thing for as far as keeping, you know, the violence and things away,&rdquo; said Brian Rodgers, who works security at the Carson&rsquo;s department store.</p><p>&ldquo;But as far as business, I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s a good thing. Because a lot of young people come in on the weekend, and they spend money.&rdquo;</p><p>Rodgers has been working at Carson&rsquo;s for more than five years, but his connection to the mall goes farther back.</p><p>When he was a teenager he hung out at Ford City and still lives right around the corner.</p><p>When asked where else teenagers can go, Rodgers is speechless.</p><p>&ldquo;I never thought about that,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;That <em>is</em> a good question. Where are the kids gonna go? I mean, they can still go to the movies and things like that &hellip; but I mean, wow.&rdquo;</p><p>Ford City is a little over two miles south of Midway Airport on 79th and Cicero. It&rsquo;s surrounded by Best Westerns and used car lots and pizza joints and dollar stores.</p><p>&ldquo;As far as the South Side, it really doesn&rsquo;t offer a lot for the youth,&rdquo; Rodgers said. &ldquo;I think we need more places like rec centers for youth, and YMCAs and stuff, on the South Side. I think those things would help a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>The West Lawn community around Ford City has seen demographic changes over recent decades, going from mostly white to a racial mix, with a largely Latino population, with white and African American minorities.</p><p>There are parks nearby. Some offer activities after 5 p.m. on Fridays, like team gymnastics, or soccer, or piano lessons.</p><p>And five libraries sit within three miles of Ford City, but they close at 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.</p><p>To some, spending time at the mall might not seem like such an enriching activity.</p><p>But Joel Rodriguez, who works with kids at the Southwest Organizing Project, said kids need to be able to spend time with their peers in a safe place.</p><p>He said just the other day, a high school kid asked if he&rsquo;d take him to the mall.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s very, very few organizations that have evening opportunities for young people,&rdquo; Rodriguez said. &ldquo;And then we have to talk about the realities of our community. So if there&rsquo;s a program, a music program at a park district that&rsquo;s not too far, the young person really has to make some decisions about their safety.&rdquo;</p><p>Just four miles from Ford City Mall, the suburb of Chicago Ridge has had its own trouble with teens at its mall.</p><p>In December, police were called when a fight broke out at the food court.</p><p>Shoppers said they heard a gunshot, which caused total panic. But police said the sound was just clanging pans, and no arrests were made.</p><p>Again, managers say that fight wasn&rsquo;t the only reason for the teen rules it put into place last weekend. But it was clear at 5 p.m. that first evening security guards and police were taking it seriously, finding groups of kids and quietly telling them they had to leave.</p><p>&ldquo;We were just walking around because it&rsquo;s a Friday night and we had no school, no homework to worry about,&rdquo; said 15-year-old Ammad, who was kicked out with a group of friends. &ldquo;And then all these cops, they were like, &lsquo;You guys gotta get out at five.&rsquo; We were like, &lsquo;Oh, why?&rsquo; They were like, &lsquo;Because you guys don&rsquo;t have a parent or you aren&rsquo;t 21.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago Ridge police said the transition went well &mdash; they say that&rsquo;s partly because mall management worked with the community to make sure people &nbsp;knew about the new rules.</p><p>That might be easier for a smaller community like Chicago Ridge. Compared to Chicago, the suburb is tiny, with a population of around 14,000. As of 2010 census numbers, it&rsquo;s largely white, with a racial mix that includes Latino and African American minorities.</p><p>One officer told me there were what he called &ldquo;teenage ambassadors,&rdquo; kids who knew about the new mall plan and introduced it to their peers at the Chicago Ridge schools.</p><p>There&rsquo;s also just more stuff for teenagers to do &nbsp;in Chicago Ridge.</p><p>Within three miles of the mall, there&rsquo;s a family fun center, a bowling alley, and an amusement park.</p><p>But Ammad and his friends had other ideas about where they would head after being kicked out of the mall.</p><p>&ldquo;Now we&rsquo;re going to start going to Orland Square.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Greta Johnsen is a WBEZ anchor and reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/gretamjohnsen"><em>@gretamjohnsen</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 09:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/two-chicago-area-malls-limit-teens-weekends-111561 Judge won't release Illinois woman accused in terrorism case http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-wont-release-illinois-woman-accused-terrorism-case-111531 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP895091951361.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal judge refused Tuesday to release an Illinois woman charged with aiding militant groups in Syria and Iraq, siding with prosecutors who described her as potentially dangerous and a flight risk.</p><p>Mediha Medy Salkicevic and five other Bosnian immigrants are accused of sending money and equipment to groups the U.S. has deemed terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State group and Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-affiliated rebel group.</p><p>U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole ruled that Salkicevic, a 34-year-old mother of four, must remain in custody. That means she won&#39;t be able to travel on her own to St. Louis, where the case is being handled, but will instead be escorted by U.S. marshals.</p><p>The judge said prosecutors met their burden of proof during a hearing Monday to show she could be dangerous and a flight risk, allegations her attorney denied.</p><p>Salkicevic works as a cargo handler at O&#39;Hare International Airport in Chicago, which raises security concerns, prosecutor Angel Krull said during the Monday hearing. Krull also said Salkicevic has relatives in Bosnia, including her mother and three sisters, increasing the chances she could flee the U.S.</p><p>But defense attorney Andrea Gambino noted that Salkicevic has four children living in the U.S. and argued there was no evidence she posed a threat to anyone.</p><p>An indictment unsealed last week in St. Louis alleges that the six suspects plotted by phone, Facebook and email, and sent money using PayPal and Western Union. They also are accused of shipping military gear through the U.S. Postal Service.</p><p>Along with Salkicevic, the indictment names Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Illinois; Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, New York; Armin Harcevic, 37, of St. Louis County, Missouri; and Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, and his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, also of St. Louis County.</p><p>All are charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and with providing material support to terrorists. Ramiz Zijad Hodzic and Rosic are also charged with conspiring to kill and maim persons abroad.</p><p>The Hodzics are scheduled to appear in federal court in St. Louis on Wednesday. Sedina Hodzic&#39;s attorney, Paul J. D&#39;Agrosa, said in an email that his client will plead not guilty. An attorney for Ramiz Hodzic didn&#39;t return a message seeking comment.</p><p>There was no attorney listed for Armin Harcevic.</p><p>Ramic is overseas, but her daughter told WREX-TV that the allegations are false.</p></p> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-wont-release-illinois-woman-accused-terrorism-case-111531 WBEZ obtains 911 call from controversial Hammond traffic stop http://www.wbez.org/news/wbez-obtains-911-call-controversial-hammond-traffic-stop-111511 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hammond_1_0.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>This American Life</em> and WBEZ have obtained the first copy of the 911 call from a controversial traffic stop in Hammond, Indiana. You can hear the full audio of the call above.</p><p>The Sept. 24 incident began when <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/disbelief-some-hammond-after-accused-cops-are-reinstated-111159">police in Hammond pulled over an African-American family</a> for a minor seatbelt violation.</p><p>During the stop, passenger Jamal Jones refused to exit the vehicle when ordered to by officers.</p><p>The driver of the car, Lisa Mahone, called 911 for help.</p><p>After several minutes of asking, police drew their weapons as Mahone&rsquo;s two young children watched from the back seat.</p><p>One of the kids recorded the incident on his phone, and the video went viral.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XsW-QCxXkQA?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>The video ends with the moment most people remember: the officers smash the window, drag the passenger from the car, and tase him. Police have said that they thought there might have been a gun in the car.</p><p>You can hear some of Mahone&rsquo;s side of the 911 call in the video &mdash; but for the first time the official 911 audio gives us both sides of the conversation that took place when Mahone essentially called the police...on the police.</p><p>Some of the 911 call is difficult to understand, but what&rsquo;s clear is the two women have completely different perceptions of what&rsquo;s happening.</p><p><strong>Raw Audio</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189826499&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Mahone says she&rsquo;s scared that an officer has drawn his weapon and doesn&rsquo;t want to leave the car.</p><p>The dispatcher repeatedly tries to make the case that Mahone is safe and that she and the passengers should follow the orders of the police officers.</p><p>The tape from the 911 call is about two minutes long, and cuts off when the window is smashed.</p><p>After the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/recent-incidents-cast-doubt-hammond-police-accountability-critics-say-111228">incident originally came to light</a>, Hammond mayor Tom McDermott Jr. defended the actions of his officers.</p><p>Regarding the release of the 911 tape, McDermott responded to WBEZ&rsquo;s request for comment with a text message.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll take a pass on commenting while the criminal case and civil cases are being litigated,&rdquo; McDermott wrote.</p><p>Meanwhile, Mahone and Jones continue to pursue their federal civil rights lawsuit against the Hammond police.</p><p>The FBI is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/disbelief-some-hammond-after-accused-cops-are-reinstated-111159">still looking into</a> the actions of the police on that day.</p><p><em>WBEZ obtained a recording of the 911 call as part of a two episode project from </em>This American Life <em>examining the relationship between police and civilians. The first of those episodes called &ldquo;Cops See it Differently&rdquo; airs Feb. 6 on WBEZ at 7 p.m.</em></p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/wbez-obtains-911-call-controversial-hammond-traffic-stop-111511 Grading Rahm: Public Safety http://www.wbez.org/news/grading-rahm-public-safety-111462 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmmccarthy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel talked about reducing crime &quot;in every neighborhood.&quot; While homicides are down, are the gains shared by all Chicagoans?</p></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/grading-rahm-public-safety-111462 Chicago police to start body camera pilot program http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-start-body-camera-pilot-program-111428 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/body-cameras.png" alt="" /><p><p>The city of Chicago has joined the list of cities where police officers wear body cameras.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department announced Tuesday it is launching a pilot program in which some officers will wear one of two types of body cameras. Some cameras will be clipped to the officers&#39; clothing and others will be clipped to their glasses, goggles or headgear. A total of 30 cameras will be tested during the initial pilot program.</p><p>The program is not a surprise. In the wake of the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old African American in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, departments around the country scrambled to equip their officers with cameras or announce they were considering doing so.</p><p>Chicago police announced in September they were formulating a pilot program.</p></p> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 09:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-start-body-camera-pilot-program-111428