WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Aldermen skip chance to ask about city's handling of police commander http://www.wbez.org/news/aldermen-skip-chance-ask-about-citys-handling-police-commander-111016 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Scott Ando HORIZONTAL.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council on Wednesday heard testimony from the head of the city agency that investigates police-brutality complaints. But the aldermen skipped the&nbsp;chance to ask him about the city&rsquo;s handling of a police commander who faces felony charges in a case that began with one of those complaints.</p><p>The occasion was the annual Independent Police Review Authority budget hearing. IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando (see photo) testified about a reduction in a&nbsp;backlog of open investigations and about new community outreach. Ando said the most important new outreach vehicles are IPRA&rsquo;s first two satellite offices, one on the West Side and another coming soon on the South Side.</p><p>The few aldermen who spoke at the hearing congratulated Ando. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re doing more with less,&rdquo; Ald. Matthew O&rsquo;Shea (19th Ward) said.</p><p>More notable was what did not come up. Aldermen asked no questions about IPRA&rsquo;s performance investigating fatal shootings by Chicago officers or about the number of excessive-force complaints the agency has sustained.</p><p>And they did not ask about Glenn Evans, the embattled commander, who allegedly rammed his service pistol down an arrested man&rsquo;s throat last year. In April, a test showed the arrestee&rsquo;s DNA on the gun. The test led Ando to recommend that police Supt. Garry McCarthy strip Evans of his police powers, pending the investigation&rsquo;s outcome. WBEZ revealed the case in July.</p><p>Despite IPRA&#39;s recomendation, McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, continued to publicly support Evans. They left him in command of the Harrison District until the criminal charges August 27.</p><p>Outside the hearing, Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) said the Emanuel administration&rsquo;s handling of Evans &ldquo;sends a signal to the community that things have not changed since the Burge era,&rdquo; referring to former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, implicated in the torture of dozens of African-American men.</p><p>&ldquo;This behavior appears to be a systemic problem in the police department,&rdquo; Brookins said. &ldquo;The superintendent of police and all of the authorities have to show that this conduct will no longer be tolerated. And until there are outward expressions and actions to back that up, it is going to be hard to get away from that impression of the community just by opening a few satellite offices.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aldermen-skip-chance-ask-about-citys-handling-police-commander-111016 Ex-felon informs formerly incarcerated of right to vote http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-felon-informs-formerly-incarcerated-right-vote-110994 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ex-Felon2.png" style="height: 210px; width: 280px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="FORCE members and ex-offenders Marlon Chamberlain and Teleza Rodgers meet at a McDonald’s on the city’s west side. They work to notify ex-felons of the right to vote. (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" />In a back corner at a Chicago McDonald&rsquo;s, Marlon Chamberlain sits and goes through papers under a movie poster. It&rsquo;s from the film &ldquo;The Hurricane&rdquo; the true story of Rubin &ldquo;Hurricane&rdquo; Carter, the famed boxer turned prisoner right&rsquo;s activist.</p><p>There, Chamberlain meets those recently incarcerated who want a new start. Chamberlain is with FORCE, or Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality. Chamberlin&rsquo;s job is to talk to ex-prisoners about everything from how to get a job to how to become a community leader. Part of his work includes talking about his past. Specifically the events leading up to September 2002.</p><p>&ldquo;I have a federal offense. I was arrested with conspiracy with intent to distribute and sentenced to 240 months,&rdquo; says Chamberlain. &ldquo;With the Fair Sentencing Act, I ended up serving 10 and a half years.&rdquo;</p><p>He was in federal prison when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. Chamberlain remembered watching the event and cheering along while the other inmates. But even then, the political process that moved Obama to the presidency was something Chamberlain didn&rsquo;t care much about.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t believe voting mattered. I didn&rsquo;t see how things could be different or how the mayor or certain state representative could change things in my community. That connection wasn&rsquo;t there.&rdquo;</p><p>After his release, a FORCE member talked to Chamberlain at a halfway house. That&rsquo;s when he started to understand that local lawmakers and not the president decide whether money gets allocated to ex-offender programs and how sentencing guidelines are outlined.</p><p>Chamberlain also learned that ex-felons could vote. In several states, if you&rsquo;re convicted of a felony, you lose the right to vote. Permanently. But in Illinois, an ex-offender can vote upon release. Chamberlain didn&rsquo;t know that. He says lots of people with records don&rsquo;t know that either. Which is why now he&rsquo;s working overtime to get the word out before election day.</p><p>Tucked away between a dead end road and railroad tracks on the city&rsquo;s southwest side, Chamberlain meets with a group of men from the Chicagoland Prison Outreach. They&rsquo;re in a work study program and Chamberlain visits with them on Thursdays. It&rsquo;s part classroom, part bible study and part welding work study. Chamberlain starts the discussion by asking &lsquo;When was the last time anyone voted?&rsquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ex-Felon1.png" title="Marlon Chamberlain talks to a group from the Chicagoland Prison Outreach about the importance of voting (WBEZ/Yolanda Perdomo)" /></p><p>One person pipes up and says he voted while in jail. He too was told he couldn&rsquo;t vote, but while in the Cook County Jail, inmates awaiting trial can vote. They&rsquo;re given applications for absentee ballots. This year, the Board of Elections processed tens of thousands of new applications. Many inmate applications are rejected, mainly because addresses can&rsquo;t be verified. Out of the more than 9,500 inmates requesting ballots, around 1,300 were deemed eligible.</p><p>A person who goes by the name of Kris says even though he can vote, he&rsquo;s not interested.</p><p>&ldquo;I never cared who was in office,&rdquo; says Kris, &ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t even know who to vote for.&rdquo;</p><p>The class tells him he needs to do some homework to know the candidates&rsquo; platforms. Chamberlain echoes the notion of doing a little homework and cautions the class about political stereotypes. Like that all African Americans vote the Democratic ticket.</p><p>&ldquo;Because you got Democrats who won&rsquo;t do nothing. I don&rsquo;t believe in befriending politicians. You know, no permanent friends, no permanent enemies,&rdquo; says Chamberlain. He points to the very room they sit in as a result of some kind<br />of political action.</p><p>&ldquo;So what would happen if people don&rsquo;t vote for the elected official who signed off on this? Then this program goes away,&rdquo; Chamberlain notes. Kris does not care.</p><p>&ldquo;All I see is a lot of squad cars coming around. Our neighborhood, how it was in the past, it was better than how it is now,&rdquo; says Kris. &ldquo; At least we had stuff we could do. We didn&rsquo;t have to stand on the block to have fun. We actually had places.&rdquo; Chamberlain asks Kris if he&rsquo;s ever spoken to his alderman about the problems he sees. Kris shrugs, admitting he&rsquo;s never bothered to make contact. &ldquo;The city is so fou-fou right now. The city ain&rsquo;t right.&rdquo;</p><p>While most people heard a person complaining about problems, Chamberlain heard someone much like himself. A person aware of problems, who knows things could be better. Back at the McDonalds, Chamberlain meets up with FORCE worker Teleza Rodgers. She too, is an ex-felon and covers the city&rsquo;s North Lawndale neighborhood. They talk about how hard it is to get ex-felons motivated to vote. Especially since many of them live the misconception that their voting rights were taken away from them when they went to prison.</p><p>&ldquo;People who don&rsquo;t know us are making decisions about our lives or livelihoods and our neighborhoods. They don&rsquo;t live where we live at,&rdquo; says Rodgers. &ldquo;They (ex-felons)<br />tend to have an ear to that. I say we can&rsquo;t expect to have anyone do anything for us if we&rsquo;re not doing it.&rdquo;</p><p>Rodgers says there&rsquo;s no way around the impact of voter representation. And that several questions on November&rsquo;s ballot can directly impact ex-felons and others in Chicago. Like whether the state should increase funding for mental-health services, whether a school-funding formula for disadvantaged children should be reset, and whether to increase the minimum wage.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-felon-informs-formerly-incarcerated-right-vote-110994 Prosecutors want more of indicted police commander's 'bad acts' in court http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-want-more-indicted-police-commanders-bad-acts-court-110987 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/glen_evans8 SQUARE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><br />Cook County prosecutors on Thursday told a judge they would try to bring other &ldquo;crimes and bad acts&rdquo; into a felony case against a Chicago police commander.</p><p>Glenn Evans, photographed on his way out of the hearing by Charlie Billups for WBEZ, allegedly jammed his gun into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth last year, pressed a taser to his crotch and threatened his life. Last month Evans pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p>During his 28 years in the police department, Evans has drawn at least 52 brutality complaints. Two led to 15-day suspensions from duty. Six others have led to federal lawsuits that the city paid to settle.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura Morask, calls that history irrelevant. She says what matters are the allegations in the case&rsquo;s indictment, which focuses on the incident last year.</p><p>The commander, meanwhile, is trying to find out how a DNA report in the case went public. Morask is demanding records from WBEZ and the Independent Police Review Authority, one of several government entities that had the report. At the hearing, Morask said the records would show bias on the part of the case&rsquo;s investigators.</p><p>The judge, Rosemary Grant Higgins, pushed back. She said she would hear more from all sides but warned, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not this court&rsquo;s job to plug leaks or interfere with the press.&rdquo;</p><p>From our West Side bureau, WBEZ&#39;s Chip Mitchell joined the&nbsp;&ldquo;Afternoon Shift&rdquo;&nbsp;with this update (click the photo above). For background, see all <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans">our coverage about the Evans case</a>.</p></p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-want-more-indicted-police-commanders-bad-acts-court-110987 Indiana suspect hints at more killings http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-suspect-hints-more-killings-110968 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP185930239534.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Investigators in two states were reviewing unsolved murders and missing person reports after the arrest of an Indiana man who confessed to strangling one woman, told police where to find six more bodies and hinted at a serial killing spree over two decades.</p><p>But determining whether others have fallen prey to Darren Vann, 43, a former Marine convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009, could take years, a former high-ranking agent at the FBI&#39;s Chicago office said. That some of his alleged victims may have been prostitutes or had fallen through society&#39;s cracks could also complicate the investigation.</p><p>&quot;It does make it difficult. It indicates he preyed on individuals that might be less likely to be reported missing,&quot; said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.</p><p>Vann was charged Monday in the strangulation death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, whose body was found Friday in a bathtub at a Motel 6 in Hammond, 20 miles southeast of Chicago. He also was charged with murder in commission of a robbery and robbery causing great bodily injury. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Wednesday.</p><p>A probable cause affidavit said police identified Vann from surveillance video outside the motel.</p><p>Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said Vann confessed to Hardy&#39;s slaying and directed police to six bodies in abandoned homes in nearby Gary. Charges in those cases are expected this week.</p><p>Police in Gary and Austin, Texas, said they are reviewing missing person reports and unsolved cases to determine whether any might be connected to Vann after he indicated during interviews that he had killed before.</p><p>Former FBI agent Joseph Ways Sr., now executive director of the Chicago Crime Commission, a non-governmental watchdog group, told The Associated Press that such investigations can stretch into years. Investigators will trace Vann&#39;s footsteps, down to examining gas receipts and toll both records, to learn where he traveled.</p><p>Ways said teenagers or adults who maintain close contact with their families are typically reported missing quickly, but that&#39;s not always the case for those engaged in prostitution, he said.</p><p>&quot;If one of them goes missing for days or weeks, it might be that nobody notices,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s a shame.&quot;</p><p>Doughty said Hardy was involved in prostitution and had arranged to meet Vann at the motel through a Chicago-area website. Police were called by someone who attempted to reach Hardy but received text message responses that made no sense and that she believed came from the suspect.</p><p>The backgrounds of the other victims weren&#39;t immediately revealed.</p><p>Police took Vann into custody Saturday afternoon, and during interviews the suspect confessed to Hardy&#39;s killing, told investigators where the Gary bodies could be found and hinted at other victims since the 1990s, Doughty said.</p><p>&quot;It could go back as far as 20 years based on some statements we have, but that has yet to be corroborated,&quot; Doughty said. The Gary slayings appeared to have happened recently, he said.</p><p>The body of one victim, 35-year-old Anith Jones of Merrillville, Indiana, was found Saturday night in an abandoned home. She had been missing since Oct. 8.</p><p>Five more bodies were found Sunday in other homes. Doughty identified two of the women as Gary residents Teaira Batey, 28, and Christine Williams, 36. Autopsies are scheduled to be completed Tuesday on three of the women who have not yet been identified, the Lake County coroner&#39;s office said.</p><p>Austin police on Monday said they would review potential related cases based on information provided by Indiana police.</p><p>Vann is registered as a sex offender in Texas, where the Department of Public Safety listed his risk of attacking someone again as &quot;low.&quot;</p><p>Court records in Travis County, Texas, show Vann served a five-year prison sentence, with credit for the 15 months he was in jail awaiting trial, after pleading guilty in 2009 to sexually assaulting a woman at an Austin apartment two years earlier.</p><p>The woman told police that she went to Vann&#39;s apartment, where he asked if she was a police officer. After she told him no, he knocked her down, strangled her, hit her several times in the face and told her he could kill her. He then raped her.</p><p>Vann allowed the woman to leave and she called police the next day.</p><p>The circumstances of that case had similarities to Hardy&#39;s death, according to the victim&#39;s mother and court records.</p><p>Lori Townsend said police told her that Vann asked her daughter to perform a certain sex act, and &quot;when she said &#39;no&#39; and put up a fight, he snapped and strangled her.&quot;</p><p>Vann told police Hardy began to fight during sex and that he strangled her with his hands and an extension cord, the probable cause affidavit says.</p><p>&quot;This man is sick,&quot; Townsend said from her home in Colorado.</p></p> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-suspect-hints-more-killings-110968 Hammond mayor rejects comparisons to Ferguson http://www.wbez.org/news/hammond-mayor-rejects-comparisons-ferguson-110916 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hammond.png" alt="" /><p><p>The breakfast was the same, but the conversation among regulars at Frankie&rsquo;s Restaurant in Hammond, Ind. yesterday morning was a little livelier than usual.</p><p>Many, like Michael Bullock and John Gunn, were buzzing&nbsp;about a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsW-QCxXkQA">video that has gone viral on YouTube</a> and attracted national media attention.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XsW-QCxXkQA?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;He just mentioned the video,&rdquo; the 52-year-old Bullock said as I joined them at their table.</p><p>The video, recorded from the back seat by the driver&#39;s 14-year-old son, captured a Sept. 24 confrontation between the police and two adults in the car. It&rsquo;s now the basis of a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court against several officers and the city of Hammond.</p><p>After police pulled over the driver, Lisa Mahone, for a minor seatbelt violation officers demanded that passenger Jamal Jones produce identification &mdash; something the lawsuit says Jones did not have with him.</p><p>After several tense minutes, the video shows an officer smashing the front passenger-side window with a club, showering shards of glass on the vehicle&#39;s four occupants, including Mahone&#39;s son and daughter in the back seat. An officer then stuns Jones with a taser before dragging him out and arresting him.</p><p>The incident happened on 169th Street and Cline Avenue, very close to Frankie&rsquo;s Restaurant.</p><p>From what he&rsquo;s seen of the video, John Gunn believes the officers overstepped their bounds.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see the justification for knocking the window out,&rdquo; Gunn, 62, said. And they got a kid in the back seat. Now, how does that affect the kids?&rdquo;</p><p>Hammond&nbsp;police&nbsp;spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda issued an earlier statement saying Jones had refused to comply with orders to get out of the car and that officers were concerned for their safety after seeing him &quot;repeatedly reach towards the rear seats of the vehicle.&quot;</p><p>Neither Gunn nor Bullock say they&rsquo;ve had a bad experience with Hammond police. But Bullock says he makes sure to cooperate when he&rsquo;s pulled over. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When they get my license and they see that I&rsquo;m 6&rsquo;6&rdquo; and weigh over 300 pounds that in itself creates an issue,&rdquo; Bullock said. &ldquo;I see it in their eyes that it becomes an issue so I&rsquo;ve personally stepped back from not presenting any drama.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Bullock says he&rsquo;s not surprised that a racially-charged police incident occurred in Northwest Indiana.</p><p>&ldquo;This is one of the most segregated areas in the country. You&rsquo;ve got whites in their area, blacks in their area, Latinos in their area and there&rsquo;s no really intermingling,&rdquo; Bullock said.</p><p>But Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. doesn&rsquo;t see his city the same way Bullock does. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Hammond&rsquo;s a very diverse city. The people that live in Hammond know that it&rsquo;s a diverse city and they&rsquo;re comfortable with it,&rdquo; McDermott told WBEZ on Wednesday afternoon at his City Hall office.</p><p>Since the incident came to light, McDermott&rsquo;s been fending off comparisons by the national media and others to what happened in Ferguson, Missouri two months ago.</p><p>&ldquo;They want this to be another Ferguson but it&rsquo;s not, and it&rsquo;s not going to be,&rdquo; McDermott, who is also an attorney, said.</p><p>McDermott says the city&rsquo;s 211 member police department reflects the 80-thousand residents, where nearly half are white, 30 percent Latino and a quarter black.</p><p>&ldquo;Around 25 percent of our officers are either Hispanic or African-American. It&rsquo;s important for the police department to reflect the community,&rdquo; McDermott said.</p><p>The Mayor defends the actions of his officers, saying the cell phone video shot by the 14 year old son of Lisa Mahone doesn&rsquo;t tell the whole story.</p><p>&ldquo;The video that they&rsquo;ve seen is 3 minutes long, and it&rsquo;s minutes 11, 12 and 13 of a 13 minute traffic stop,&rdquo; McDermott said. &ldquo;A lot of stuff happened that led up to this video.&rdquo;</p><p>Apparently a longer video was recorded from the officers&rsquo; squad car, but the city has yet to release it.</p><p>McDermott says that video shows officers repeatedly asking Jones to exit the vehicle, but he refuses and fails to show identification.</p><p>&ldquo;999 times out of 1,000, the person is going to show identification. This didn&rsquo;t happen in this case and things escalated more than I wish it would have,&rdquo; McDermott said.</p><p>But some Hammond residents sympathize with the officers. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When a police officer stops you and asks you for something, I just believe that you should comply. Don&rsquo;t be suspicious, don&rsquo;t provoke any other actions,&rdquo; said longtime Hammond resident Nilda Rivera.</p><p>Rivera, 46, says she&rsquo;s always felt safe and has never had issues with police. As for the video that&rsquo;s captured the nation&rsquo;s attention, she wants to know why it exists at all.</p><p>&ldquo;That kind of makes you wonder what is this child is being told about the police? Are they being forced to think the worse thing is going to happen and in that respect is that why they were video taping,&rdquo; Rivera said.</p><p>But in the wake of other high-profile racially charged incidents, is it possible the cops may have also assumed the worst about the passengers in the car?</p><p>Michael McCafferty is a one-time Chicago police officer who now teaches law and criminal justice at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond. He also is chair of the college&rsquo;s Public Safety Institute.</p><p>&ldquo;Police are very sensitive to what&rsquo;s occurring. I think officers are more likely to try to avoid these incidents right now,&rdquo; McCafferty said. &ldquo;These videos can go viral. You can go to work in the morning as a patrol officer and then being sued or facing charges or losing your job that afternoon.&rdquo;</p><p>According to the lawsuit, Jones had surrendered his driver&#39;s license after being stopped for not paying his insurance and instead tried to show the officers a ticket with his information on it. The lawsuit says the officers rejected the ticket, but police said Jones had refused to hand it over.</p><p>The complaint alleges officers shocked Jones a second time after removing him from the car, and accuses them of excessive force, false arrest, assault and battery and other charges. It seeks unspecified damages.</p><p>The lawsuit mentions that two of the officers had been sued in the past for excessive force or unlawful arrest. Court records indicate an undisclosed settlement in one of the cases.</p><p>As of now, Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner, the two Hammond officers named in the lawsuit remain on active duty.</p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/mikepuentenews">@MikePuenteNews</a> and on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/WBEZ-Northwest-Indiana-Bureau/701257506570573">WBEZ&rsquo;s NWI Bureau Facebook page</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 07:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hammond-mayor-rejects-comparisons-ferguson-110916 Feds: Illinois teen wanted to join Islamic State http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-illinois-teen-wanted-join-islamic-state-110898 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/fbi.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>A 19-year-old American left a letter expressing disgust with Western society before trying to board an international flight in Chicago, the first step in his plan to sneak into Syria to join the Islamic State group, according to a federal criminal complaint released Monday.</p><p>Mohammed Hamzah Khan, who lived with his parents in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, was arrested Saturday at O&#39;Hare International Airport trying to board a plane on the first leg of connecting flights to Turkey, which borders Syria. He is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.</p><p>Investigators said Khan left a three-page, handwritten letter in his bedroom for his parents that expressed anger over his U.S. taxes being used to kill his &quot;Muslim brothers and sisters,&quot; an apparent reference to a bombing campaign against Islamic State militants.</p><p>&quot;We are all witness that the western societies are getting more immoral day by day,&quot; he wrote, then signed letter, &quot;Your loving son,&quot; according to court documents.</p><p>Khan appeared in a federal court Monday in orange jail clothes, calmly telling a federal magistrate he understood the allegations. As marshals led him away in handcuffs, the slight, bearded young man turned to smile at his parents &mdash; his father putting his arm around Khan&#39;s weeping mother.</p><p>About a dozen Americans are believed to be fighting in Syria, while more than 100 have either been arrested on their way to Syria or went and came back, FBI Director James Comey said recently without offering details.</p><p>Khan sought to fly Austrian Airlines to Istanbul by way of Vienna when customs officers stopped him going through security at O&#39;Hare&#39;s international terminal. While FBI agents interviewed him there, investigators searched his home.</p><p>It&#39;s unclear why authorities stopped Khan. Prosecutors, Khan&#39;s federal defender attorney and his parents didn&#39;t comment after Monday&#39;s hearing.</p><p>In the letter found by FBI agents, Khan also pleaded that his parents not contact authorities. Other documents found during the search of his home included a notebook drawing of what appeared to be an armed fighter with an Islamic State flag and the words &quot;Come to Jihad&quot; written in Arabic, according to the complaint.</p><p>Also found were drawings with arrows indicating where Khan might cross the border into Syria from Turkey.</p><p>Khan allegedly told FBI agents that an online source gave him the number of a person to contact when he got to Istanbul who would lead him to Islamic State members. When asked what he would do once in territory controlled by the Islamic State, Khan allegedly said he would &quot;be involved in some type of public service, a police force, humanitarian work or a combat role,&quot; according to the complaint.</p><p>Khan was ordered to remain jailed until at least a detention hearing Thursday. Prosecutors indicated they would ask he stay behind bars pending trial.</p><p>At a two-story house believed to be his family&#39;s home, no one would address reporters outside. But neighbor Steve Moore, 31, described Khan as a soft spoken and polite, saying the young man his family were always friendly and quick to say hello.</p><p>Another young man from the Chicago area also is accused of trying to join militants in Syria. Abdella Tounisi, of Aurora, was arrested last year at O&#39;Hare when he was 18. He has pleaded not guilty to seeking to provide material support to al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.</p></p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 13:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-illinois-teen-wanted-join-islamic-state-110898 Commander pleads not guilty to police-brutality charges http://www.wbez.org/news/commander-pleads-not-guilty-police-brutality-charges-110843 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago police commander accused of jamming his gun into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct Wednesday.</p><p>After the arraignment,&nbsp;the attorney for Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, complained about news-media interest in the case. &ldquo;I worry that Glenn might possibly not be able to get a fair trial,&rdquo; the attorney, Laura J. Morask, said outside the courtroom.</p><p>Morask also accused the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority of &ldquo;leaking&rdquo; an Illinois State Police report about a DNA test in the case.</p><p>&ldquo;It built all of this pre-trial, pre-charging publicity that is outrageous,&rdquo; Morask said, adding that she had no immediate plans to seek a change in venue for the trial.</p><p dir="ltr">The charges stem from a January 2013 incident in Grand Crossing, a South Side police district commanded by Evans at the time. Evans, according to police reports about the incident, saw a 22-year-old man named Rickey J. Williams holding a handgun.</p><p>Evans and other officers chased Williams into an abandoned building. There, according to prosecutors, the commander put the barrel of his service weapon into the man&rsquo;s mouth, pressed a Taser into his groin and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">A search of the area by authorities that night did not turn up the gun Williams allegedly possessed.</p><p dir="ltr">In April, more than 14 months after the incident, IPRA received the report about the lab test, which found Williams&rsquo; DNA on Evans&rsquo; pistol.</p><p dir="ltr">Based on the lab result, IPRA that month sent police Supt. Garry McCarthy a recommendation to strip Evans of police powers pending the investigation&rsquo;s outcome. WBEZ revealed the case, including the DNA report and IPRA recommendation, in July.</p><p dir="ltr">But McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><p>City records obtained by WBEZ through a Freedom of Information Act request show that Evans had been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810">suspended from duty at least 11 times</a> during his 28 years with the department. The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, resulted from excessive-force accusations.</p><p dir="ltr">Those accusations are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded. At least seven of the complaints have come since 2009, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">The city, meanwhile, has paid out <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">five-figure settlements in at least six federal lawsuits</a> accusing Evans of police brutality. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a WBEZ review of court filings and city records.</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other police-brutality lawsuits naming Evans as a defendant are pending. Those include a case brought this month by Williams, the man whose accusations led to the criminal charges.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite the news of the excessive-force complaints and lawsuits, Evans maintains support among many police officers and some residents of districts where he has worked.</p><p dir="ltr">About two-dozen Grand Crossing residents, mostly retirees, attended the Chicago Police Board&rsquo;s monthly meeting last Thursday. Several took a turn at the microphone, praising Evans&rsquo; work ethic and attentiveness.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618">Evans also has some support</a>&nbsp;in Harrison, a district he took over as commander in March.</p><p dir="ltr">At the arraignment, Cook County Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney Lauren Freeman kicked off the case&rsquo;s discovery phase by providing Morask with an armful of records.</p><p>Circuit Court Associate Judge Rosemary Grant Higgins, assigned to the case this week, set the next hearing for October 23.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/commander-pleads-not-guilty-police-brutality-charges-110843 Illinois DCFS ward charged with murder http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-dcfs-ward-charged-murder-110836 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/SPEED BOOKING PHOTO.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Kadiedra Shontell Speed&rsquo;s experience in Illinois&rsquo; child-welfare system has included being placed with adoptive parents who ended up abusing her, stays in psychiatric hospitals, addresses at four homes in the last five years and several arrests for fighting, according to court records and sources.</p><p>Now 20, she&rsquo;s still a ward of the state after her failed adoption, years earlier. Over Labor Day weekend, she had another run-in with the law &mdash; this time with deadly consequences.</p><p>After arguing with her 34-year-old roommate, Speed left in a rage and returned hours later, allegedly stabbing the woman to death in their basement apartment in Joliet, Will County prosecutors and neighbors say.</p><p>She&rsquo;s believed to be the first ward in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to be charged with murder since 2009, when another ward, D&rsquo;Andre Howard, then 20, stabbed his fiancee&rsquo;s sister, father and grandmother to death in Hoffman Estates.</p><p>A report in 2012 by the DCFS inspector general about that case &mdash; in which Howard was found guilty and is now serving three life sentences &mdash; was supposed to lead to greater oversight of hundreds of older wards, who typically are in &ldquo;independent living&rdquo; programs run by social service agencies that DCFS hires. Inspector General Denise Kane revealed Howard had a history of sexual assault arrests and a &ldquo;long history of violence&rdquo; that &ldquo;indicated an urgent need for services.&rdquo; But she concluded &ldquo;a lack of communication among involved professionals,&rdquo; including DCFS&rsquo; sexual abuse services coordinator, led to a DCFS contractor inadequately supervising Howard.</p><p>Whether child-welfare workers missed warning signs of potential violent behavior by Speed is difficult to assess. There&rsquo;s no indication the fights she had in high school caused any serious injuries, and her most recent involvement in the court system before her murder arrest involved her winning an order of protection in February against a parolee boyfriend she said beat her up.</p><p>Karen Hawkins, DCFS&rsquo; communications chief, declined to comment about Speed, as did social service contractors who had worked with her.</p><p>Speed had been in an independent-living program at the time she filed the order of protection, court records show. She reported living in an apartment in Crest Hill, working at a Home Depot warehouse and attending Joliet Junior College. A college spokeswoman said Speed had been enrolled for the spring semester but did not complete her studies.</p><p>According to DCFS rules, wards in independent living &ldquo;can reasonably be expected to live autonomously and without daily staff oversight&rdquo; and by age 20 1/2 are expected to be living &ldquo;without financial support.&rdquo; Caseworkers are required to see independent-living wards &ldquo;at least twice per month,&rdquo; with at least one visit taking place in the ward&rsquo;s home.</p><p>&ldquo;Youth who cannot succeed in [independent living] will be considered for a more supportive living arrangement,&rdquo; a DCFS policy manual states.</p><p>Speed and the woman she allegedly killed, Sharleatha M. Green, moved in to their apartment at 210 N. Eastern Ave. in Joliet about a month before the Aug. 31 slaying, neighbors said. After arguing with Green and leaving, Speed returned with a man and entered the apartment through a ground-floor window.</p><p>Speed is accused of stabbing Green to death, according to court records. She&rsquo;s now being held at the Will County Jail on $1.5 million bail.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 11.5pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday.</span>&nbsp;The Will County Public Defender&rsquo;s office, which is representing her, declined to comment.</p><p>Speed was born in 1994 in Milwaukee, according to court records. It&rsquo;s unclear when she came to Illinois and when she was adopted. She had spent time in psychiatric hospitals after her adoptive parents ended up abusing her as a young girl, sources said.</p><p>In 2009, she was arrested three times for disorderly conduct while living in a group home in Downers Grove operated by ChildServ Inc., records show. She was sentenced to court supervision and community service, which she successfully completed.</p><p>The following year, Speed lived at a foster home in Romeoville. Police reports show that she and other teens living there often tried to run away.</p><p>In October 2010, Speed again was arrested for disorderly conduct, this time at Plainfield Central High School. She initially was sentenced to court supervision, but that sentence was revoked, and she ended up paying $260 in fines and court costs.</p><p>In 2011, Speed &mdash; then in the care of a DCFS contractor called Our Children&rsquo;s Homestead, records show &mdash; filed paperwork to change her last name to &ldquo;Edward.&rdquo; On court papers, she listed the reason for the change as &ldquo;failed adoption.&rdquo; But she never went back to court, so her name was never changed.</p><p>Speed&rsquo;s roommate Green, a cocktail server at Hollywood Casino Joliet, met Speed through their respective boyfriends, said Annetta Windman, Green&rsquo;s older sister. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think they knew each other very long,&rdquo; Windman said.</p><p>What little information Windman knows about Speed came from an &ldquo;adoptive sister&rdquo; of Speed&rsquo;s that Windman said she met at Will County court.</p><p>&ldquo;From what I understand, she was always a troubled kid,&rdquo; Windman said of Speed.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p><p><em>Chris Fusco is a </em>Sun-Times<em> staff reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/fuscochris" target="_blank">@fuscochris</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-dcfs-ward-charged-murder-110836 Indicted police commander suspended from duty 11 times, records show http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated on September 18 at 5:58 p.m.</em></p><p>Cook County prosecutors on Thursday unveiled an indictment of a Chicago police commander who allegedly rammed his pistol into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth. A grand jury has charged Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans did not speak during the hearing, which took place at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building and lasted about 10 minutes.</p><p>On the way out of the courthouse, about two dozen supporters tightly surrounded him to shield him from news reporters and cameras. Those supporters, including Chicago police officers, stuck with him all the way to a waiting SUV that carried him away.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans will plead &ldquo;not guilty,&rdquo; according to his attorney, Laura J. Morask. &ldquo;Cmdr. Evans will not only be exonerated but vindicated,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It was a rush to judgment and I think you&rsquo;ll see that.&rdquo;</p><p>City records, meanwhile, show that Evans has been suspended from duty at least 11 times during his 28 years in the police department. Most of the suspensions took place during the first decade of his career, when he worked as a South Side patrol officer, according to the records, obtained by WBEZ through Freedom of Information Act requests.</p><p dir="ltr">The alleged infractions ranged from a missed court appearance to an off-duty &ldquo;domestic altercation.&rdquo; The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, stemmed from excessive-force accusations.</p><p>One of those cases began in 1990, when Evans was assigned to the Gresham police district. A South Side mother allegedly ran afoul of Jackson Park Hospital personnel when she tried to visit her daughter, who was getting treated there after a sexual assault, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans helped remove the mother from the hospital. Outside the facility, he allegedly slammed her against police vehicles and delivered punches that left her with a black eye and other injuries.</p><p>Evans later characterized the mother as intoxicated and uncooperative and denied the allegations, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" style="text-align: center; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.63636302948px; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p dir="ltr">The other case began in 1994, when Evans suspected a South Side man stole property from the officer&rsquo;s car trunk. Evans, who was off duty, allegedly handcuffed the man, by an ankle and wrist, to a porch rail and beat him with his handgun.</p><p dir="ltr">The encounter left the man with a three-inch head gash and a cerebral concussion, according to the records. Evans denied using excessive force and claimed the man was resisting arrest.</p><p dir="ltr">Those disciplinary actions are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded since he joined the department in 1986. A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">tallied 45 filed through 2008</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2009, according to the records obtained through the FOIA requests, the city has received at least seven more excessive-force complaints against Evans, lifting the total to at least 52. City investigations have concluded that nearly all were &ldquo;not sustained&rdquo; or &ldquo;unfounded.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But six federal lawsuits alleging Evans brutality have led to five-figure city settlements. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">WBEZ review of court filings and city records</a>. Each settlement specifies that the defendants deny wrongdoing.</p><p>Morask, Evans&rsquo; attorney, called the complaints and settlements irrelevant to the criminal proceeding. &ldquo;The only thing that&rsquo;s relevant is what&rsquo;s in this indictment,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;Nobody likes to be arrested,&rdquo; Morask said, referring to the people who have accused Evans of using excessive force. &ldquo;Complaints are just that. They are just complaints.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other police-brutality lawsuits naming Evans as a defendant are pending. In two, the defendants deny the allegations, according to city filings.</p><p dir="ltr">The third pending lawsuit was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776">brought last week by Rickey J. Williams</a>, a South Side man whose allegations led to the criminal charges, both felonies.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans allegedly put the barrel of his service weapon into Williams&rsquo; mouth on January 30, 2013. Evans also allegedly pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">DNA evidence prompted the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority to&nbsp;recommend in April that Evans be relieved of his police powers. WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">revealed the Williams case in July</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">But police Supt. Garry McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><p>After Thursday&#39;s hearing, Morask criticized both IPRA and Alvarez&rsquo;s office. She said neither has tried to interview Evans about Williams&rsquo; accusation.</p><p>&ldquo;In my experience,&rdquo; said Morask, who worked for years in the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office, &ldquo;something you always do before a case is charged is you ask the suspect their side of the story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 Officer's death highlights need for trauma center in Northwest Indiana http://www.wbez.org/news/officers-death-highlights-need-trauma-center-northwest-indiana-110790 <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/Trauma-NWI-crop.jpg" title="The hearse carrying the body of fallen Merrillville, Indiana Police Officer Nickolaus Schultz passes by the police station where he worked. Some say Schultz’s death highlights the need for advanced trauma care in Northwest Indiana. (WBEZ/Michael Puente)" /></div><p>On a gloomy Wednesday afternoon this week, dozens of onlookers lined the streets outside the Town Hall and Police Station in Merrillville, Indiana.<br /><br />They were there to honor Police Officer Nickolaus Schultz, the town&rsquo;s first officer to die in the line of duty.</p><p>A long string of squad cars with flashing blue lights escorted the 24-year-old&rsquo;s body on its way back from the Cook County Medical Examiner&rsquo;s Office in Chicago.</p><p>Carol Miano, the president of the Merrillville Town Council, wiped away tears as they passed in front of her.</p><p>&ldquo;He was sworn in in my first term as president and he died in my second term as president,&rdquo; Miano said. &ldquo;Everybody is heartbroken. The residents, everyone in this community.&rdquo;<br /><br />Schultz was shot in the head late Friday evening while responding to a call at an condominium complex in Merrillville.</p><p>The Lake County, Indiana Coroner&rsquo;s Office reported 33-year-old Michael Hrnciar died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he shot Schultz. Police were called to a condo where Hrnciar had been evicted but was trying to return. Hrnciar was later found to be wearing body armor.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Trauma-NWI-2.jpg" style="height: 250px; width: 250px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="Merrillville Police Officer Nickolaus Schultz is shown in his police uniform and as a member of the Grizzlies football team for Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. (Photo provided by the Merrillville Police Department)" />After Schultz was shot, he was first taken to Methodist Hospital Southlake in Merrillville. But in order to get advanced care, Schultz had to be transported nearly an hour west to Illinois.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s because the nearest Level 1 trauma center is Advocate Christ Medical Center in south suburban Oak Lawn.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s unclear whether Officer Schultz could&rsquo;ve been saved by more urgent care. But what is urgently clear, according to some local officials, including Miano, is that Northwest Indiana needs much better trauma care.</p><p>Miano believes the state of Indiana should put money behind that effort.<br /><br />&ldquo;Because it will help out every resident in the area in Northwest Indiana,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Getting access to trauma care for a critically injured person could be a matter of life or death.</p><p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s important about quality care in that first hour - the golden hour - whereas if the person is not doing well, their chances of survival decreases as the length of time that the surgeon gets on the scene elapses,&rdquo; says Dr. Michael McGee, Emergency Department doctor and Medical Director for Methodist Hospitals.</p><p>Methodist Hospital operates two campus; one in Gary and another 15 miles away in Merrillville.</p><p>Officer Schultz was transported initially to the hospital&rsquo;s Merrillville campus before moving on to Advocate Christ Medical Center.</p><p>&ldquo;That definitely was an unfortunate situation and you have to have special neurosurgeons who were there to do what needs to be done. And even when he got to where he went, which was a level 1 trauma center in Advocate Christ, at that point, for those kinds of injuries, they&#39;re so severe, there&rsquo;s really not much that can be done,&rdquo; McGee said.</p><p>But Jennifer Mullen says regardless of Schultz&rsquo;s condition, that doesn&rsquo;t lessen the need for a trauma center in Northwest Indiana.</p><p>&ldquo;We see industrial accidents, we&rsquo;re so close to the industrial corridor along the lakeshore. We are geographically located between three major highways,&rdquo; said Mullen, a registered nurse at Methodist Hospital who is also coordinator of its trauma services. &ldquo;We certainly have a high incidence of crime in Northwest Indiana so the population we see trauma wise is varied,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The cost of establishing and maintaining a trauma center is expensive.</p><p>Even in Illinois there are large voids: Chicago&rsquo;s south side, the far south suburbs and even in downstate southeastern Illinois.</p><p>In Northwest Indiana, Dr. McGee&rsquo;s been pushing for years to expand trauma care as part of a state task force.</p><p>But he says the money it takes to pay for for specially trained nurses, physician specialists who are on constant call or stay at the hospital, along with state-of-the-art equipment can run pretty high for hospitals.</p><p>&ldquo;Unlike other states, that have some kind of tax -- in terms of automobile, alcohol, smoking, that will go toward trauma have funds set up -- our state does not have that,&rdquo; McGee said. &ldquo;We got people all over the area now who want to be a trauma center but there&rsquo;s no teeth in the fact that there&rsquo;s no money to become a very independent and sufficient trauma center.&rdquo;</p><p>To become a trauma center, a hospital must first decide if it&rsquo;s a financially viable option, said Arthur L. Logsdon, Assistant Commissioner for the Indiana State Department of Health.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Hospitals have to make the decision as to why they want to be a trauma center,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The state of Indiana has historically ranked near the bottom of the nation for access to trauma care for residents. But the state is trying to change that by establishing a trauma care network and working with hospitals to try to achieve trauma level status.</p><p>That assistance, however, does not come with state funding.</p><p>Still, Logsdon said there are twice as many trauma centers in the state today compared to just two years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;The 19 that we have, have all done it on their own dime. There have been no state dollars that have gone into that development,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>And those 19 now include Methodist Hospital&rsquo;s Gary facility. Just this week the hospital celebrated its designation as a Level 3 trauma center with a visit from local and state dignitaries, hospital brass and others.&nbsp;</p><p>Level 3 is not as advanced as Level 1 or Level 2 centers in Indianapolis or Chicago, but Dr. McGee says it&rsquo;s a start.</p><p>&ldquo;About 85 percent to 90 percent of the patients that we have that involved trauma we can take care of them but there&rsquo;s a few that still need the services of a level 1 trauma center,&rdquo; he said.</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/Trauma-NWI-4.jpg" title="The Trauma Area at Methodist Hospital in Gary, Indiana which is now designated as a Level 3 Trauma Center, the first for Northwest Indiana. (Photo by WBEZ/Michael Puente)" /></div><p>Injuries sustained by fallen Merrillville Police Officer Nickolaus Schultz would&rsquo;ve still required transfer to an out-of-area Level 1 trauma center.</p><p>Longtime Indiana State Rep. Charlie Brown, a Democrat from Gary, has been trying to get Indiana to provide funding for just such a trauma center to help offset costs.</p><p>&ldquo;That takes a lot of money and so there is going to need some partnerships and coordination in order for that to occur,&rdquo; Brown said. &ldquo;We are all aware that there is a need for state involvement in the whole trauma system and it&rsquo;s moving in that direction.&rdquo;</p><p>But it&rsquo;s moving more slowly than Dr. McGee would like.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I think the people in the community need to talk and lobby to their politicians, to their representatives and basically advocate for some kind of tax that can go toward funding for trauma,&rdquo; McGee said.</p><p>Funeral services for Nicholaus Schultz are scheduled for Monday. He will be laid to rest in his hometown of Lowell, Indiana.</p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau Reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/officers-death-highlights-need-trauma-center-northwest-indiana-110790