WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en CPS Board president says Chicago schools under investigation http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-president-says-chicago-schools-under-investigation-111884 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BoardOfEd1_0_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Officials with the nation&#39;s third-largest school district say federal authorities are &quot;investigating a matter&quot; at Chicago Public Schools.</p><p>In a statement released Wednesday, Chicago Board of Education president David Vitale says federal authorities requested interviews with several employees. He says the board was made aware of the investigation on Tuesday and is cooperating fully.</p><p>He did not offer details on the investigation. A spokesman for Chicago Public Schools didn&#39;t return a request for comment Wednesday.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters Wednesday that he didn&#39;t have further details. He says there isn&#39;t information yet on who&#39;s the target of the probe.</p></p> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-president-says-chicago-schools-under-investigation-111884 Chicago council approves $5M settlement in police shooting http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-council-approves-5m-settlement-police-shooting-111871 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council approved a $5 million settlement Wednesday with the family of a teenager who died after being shot by a police officer 16 times last October.</p><p>Federal and county prosecutors and the FBI are investigating the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who police said was wielding a knife.</p><p>Chicago Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton had recommended the settlement and told reporters that dashboard camera footage of the Oct. 20 shooting prompted the city&#39;s decision to settle with the family before a lawsuit was filed.</p><p>Aldermen voted Wednesday without seeing police dashboard camera video, saying they didn&#39;t need to view footage of the incident. Authorities have declined to release the video of the shooting as several other departments have done recently following dramatic confrontations involving police.</p><p>The family&#39;s attorney, Mike Robbins, has said a &quot;fair and prompt resolution&quot; was reached without the necessity of litigation.</p><p>The unidentified officer who shot McDonald has been stripped of his police powers and put on paid desk duty, according to a spokesman for Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.</p><p>An autopsy found McDonald had wounds to his chest, neck, back, arms and right leg.</p></p> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-council-approves-5m-settlement-police-shooting-111871 Locked up since 14, Adolfo Davis gets chance at new sentence http://www.wbez.org/news/locked-14-adolfo-davis-gets-chance-new-sentence-111863 <p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: Eight years ago, reporter Linda Paul was reporting for WBEZ on life sentences without parole for juveniles. She came across the case of&nbsp;</em><em>Adolfo Davis,</em><em>&nbsp;who&rsquo;d received the sentence years before as a teenager. She went to visit Davis in prison and set out to understand the circumstances and crime that got him such a sentence. She visited him another time and has kept in touch with his case. This is her update on what has brought Adolfo Davis to his resentencing hearing today.</em></p><p>It&rsquo;s hard, but let&rsquo;s try to wrap our heads around this: Up until about 10 years ago it was legal in the United States to sentence a juvenile to death.<br /><br />The last decade has been kind of a wild ride when it comes to U. S. Supreme Court proclamations on whether juveniles are different from adults when it comes to punishment for the most severe of crimes.<br /><br />In 2005, in a decision called Roper v Simmons, the Supreme Court banned the death penalty for minors. Then five years later the high court said it&rsquo;s unconstitutional to sentence a youth to life without the possibility of parole for a crime other than murder.<br /><br />And in 2012, in Miller v Alabama the Court held that mandatory life without parole sentences for young people under 18 are cruel and unusual punishment.<br /><br />Mandatory &mdash; as in a court had no discretion to choose a different sentence &mdash; even if the judge felt that circumstances called for it.</p><p>And Miller v Alabama says, when it comes to kids &mdash; that&rsquo;s a big problem. So now mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles are outlawed.<br /><br />That doesn&rsquo;t mean minors can&rsquo;t get life without parole. But Miller says the sentence should be rare. Judges are instructed to give great weight to youth-oriented factors like age, home environment, lack of adequate parenting or supervision, and capacity for rehabilitation.<br /><br />At the heart of Miller is the notion that juveniles are different than adults, more malleable than adults and are able to grow and change over time.<br /><br />One thing Miller didn&rsquo;t specify, is whether its ruling was retroactive. Should it apply to past cases? That&rsquo;s a battle being fought state by state.</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/DSC06448edited.jpg" style="float: left; height: 280px; width: 280px;" title="Adolfo Davis as an adult, while incarcerated at Menard Prison in southern Illinois (Linda Paul/ WBEZ)" /></div><p>Here in Illinois that question got settled last year in a case called People of the State of Illinois v Adolfo Davis. The Illinois Supreme Court said yes, Miller does apply retroactively. That opened the door to resentencing hearings for the 80 people in Illinois who&rsquo;ve received mandatory life without parole for crimes committed when they were juveniles.<br /><br />Now Adolfo Davis&rsquo; case is again at the forefront of these evolving legal practices, because today Davis will have one of the first post -Miller resentencing hearings in the state.<br /><br />All this is of interest to WBEZ, because we&rsquo;ve been following his case for years.<br /><br />I first met Adolfo Davis back in November of 2007. I&rsquo;d driven seven hours to Menard Prison at the southern tip of Illinois to interview a couple of people who received life without parole sentences when they were kids. At the time, I knew next to nothing about their cases.<br /><br />When I met Davis, the first thing I asked was - what name do you go by?</p><p>&ldquo;Spooncake,&rdquo; he told me.</p><p>Spooncake? Later I found out that&rsquo;s the name for an old southern dish, a rich gooey chocolate cake.&nbsp; His family had other nicknames for him including &ldquo;Catsugar,&rdquo; an affectionate term concocted by his grandmother, Fannie Davis.</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/grandma%20Fannie%20Davisedited.jpg" style="height: 278px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Fannie Davis, Adolfo’s grandmother, now deceased. (Linda Paul/ WBEZ)" />I met Fannie Davis just once. She&rsquo;s no longer alive, but back then Davis called his grandmother &ldquo;my heart.&rdquo; Fannie told me that in the months before Adolfo was arrested, her husband died and one of her twelve children was murdered.</div><p>But it&rsquo;s what happened to Adolfo that particularly haunted her.</p><p>&ldquo;I would see him in my sleep. I would hear him callin&rsquo; me. And that would just pull me all the way down to nuthin,&rsquo;&rdquo; she told me.<br /><br />Fannie described Adolfo as a boy who liked to play with any kind of animals, including cats, dogs and fish. When I asked what kind of kid he was, she gave what seemed like a scrupulously honest answer: &ldquo;Pretty good. I ain&rsquo;t gonna say he was the best. But he was good.&rdquo;<br /><br />When Adolfo was a child, Fannie&nbsp; worried about his insomnia and his strange habit of knocking his head against the wall until it bled. Reports of this behavior are documented in DCFS records that existed years before the crime that landed him in prison.<br /><br />At that time Fannie Davis was overwhelmed. She worked all day and came home to a husband who was disabled and bedridden, a son who was mentally disabled, and a daughter &mdash; Adolfo&rsquo;s mother &mdash; who was a drug addict and had not made it far enough in school to know how to read or write very well.<br /><br />&ldquo;She didn&rsquo;t care &lsquo;bout nothing I did,&rdquo; Adolfo said about his mother. &ldquo; I went to school dirty. She didn&rsquo;t care, as long as she got that check once a month,&rdquo; he said. At trial when asked when Adolfo&rsquo;s birthday was, court records show that Karen Davis didn&rsquo;t know.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A criminal career at a young age</span></p><p>In the months after I met Adolfo Davis, I tracked down three of Davis&rsquo; early defense lawyers and two of his prosecutors. David O&rsquo;Connor was one of the original prosecutors at Davis&rsquo; trial and he had strong memories of Adolfo as a young teenager.<br /><br />&ldquo;Adolfo Davis?&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor asked. &ldquo;Any time you&#39;re talking about a juvenile who started a criminal career at the age of eight and had an armed robbery under his belt by the age of ten, and then at the age of fourteen commits a double murder? Ummm, I think that says quite a bit about that juvenile.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br />It became apparent pretty quickly, that the narrative of Davis&rsquo; crime varied widely with which person told the story. And that remains true with the lawyers who are involved in his case 24 years after the fact.<br /><br />Everyone seems to agree that a turf war was raging between two factions of a single gang on the South Side of Chicago. Gang members were arguing over who could sell drugs where.<br /><br />After that, the stories diverge.<br /><br />Defense attorneys tell me that Adolfo Davis himself assumes responsibility for participating in a robbery that turned into a shooting by the two older teenagers he was with.<br /><br />He was told to act as a look-out, Patricia Soung tells me. Soung is staff attorney at the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy in Los Angeles. She&rsquo;s also co-counsel for Davis and will help represent him at the resentencing hearing today.<br /><br />&ldquo;I believe that he was instructed and peer pressured into a crime that he felt like he couldn&rsquo;t say no to,&rdquo; says Patricia Soung.</p><p>Prosecutors have long scoffed at the description of Davis as a mere lookout. They claim he participated in a revenge killing after one of the older members of his gang got slapped. And prior to the crime, they say, Davis discussed with his co-defendants, who should live and who should die.</p><p>&ldquo;He was an active participant in the planning, as well as in the shooting and killing,&rdquo; said Alan Spellberg, supervisor of the criminal appeals division for the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office.</p><p>It&rsquo;s important to note that these comments from Alan Spellberg are from years ago. Today, his office can&rsquo;t talk to the media about Adolfo Davis. That&rsquo;s because Davis&rsquo; case is now pending.&nbsp; But in the past, Spellberg did talk to me about it and he said, &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t determine for sure that he fired the gun that killed either of the victims. But we do know from the physical evidence that three different guns were fired at the time.&rdquo;<br /><br />Patricia Soung disputes this entirely. &ldquo;That conclusion is just not supportable,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;The evidence showed that there were two kinds of bullets found in the victims.&rdquo;<br /><br />The two murders and two attempted murders took place in a drug house &mdash; a South Side apartment where drugs were sold and guns were stashed. Detectives found a third type of bullet embedded in a windowsill at the crime scene. But at trial, Soung says, a ballistics expert testified that it was impossible to determine the age of that bullet.<br /><br />&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t know when that bullet was lodged in the windowsill,&rdquo; says Soung. &ldquo;It could have been lodged there any time and there&rsquo;s nothing to show that it was shot from a gun on the night that the shooting take place in this case.&rdquo;<br /><br /><span style="font-size:22px;">Accountability is key</span></p><p>In that conversation with Alan Spellberg from years ago, he pointed out that whether Adolfo Davis actually shot someone that night really isn&rsquo;t so critical.<br /><br />&ldquo;Under the law it didn&rsquo;t matter who the shooter was,&rdquo; Spellberg told me at the time. &ldquo;Because if Adolfo Davis was an active participant in the crime and in the planning,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;he was just as responsible for the murder, whether or not he fired the fatal bullet or not.&rdquo;<br /><br />That&rsquo;s because of this thing in the law called &ldquo;accountability theory.&rdquo;<br /><br />Accountability is the legal theory that a person can be held responsible for the behavior of others if he or she was an active participant in the planning or committing of a crime.<br /><br />There&rsquo;s no way to know for sure if Adolfo Davis was convicted via accountability theory. But there are clues that he was.<br /><br />For one,&nbsp; instructions on accountability (and other theories) were given to jurors, as they were preparing to deliberate.<br /><br />Additionally, during deliberation, jurors passed this note out to the judge:</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/LSP-Notefromjurors.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Note submitted to the judge while the jury was deliberating a verdict at Adolfo Davis' trial. In answer to the question asking if a Defendant actually has to be proven to pull the trigger of the murder weapon during a home invasion, the judge answered: 'No, period.' In answer to the question asking if that person would be legally responsible for the conduct of another who did, the judge answered 'yes.'" /></div><p><br />They asked if a defendant actually has to be proven to pull the trigger of the murder weapon during a home invasion? The judge answered: &ldquo;No, period.&rdquo; And jurors asked if that person (presumably the defendant) would be legally responsible for the conduct of another who did? The judge answered &ldquo;yes.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A Stateville visit</span><br /><br />A couple of years ago I went to the sprawling Stateville Correctional Facility to talk to Adolfo Davis for a second time.<br /><br />Adolfo Davis knew this facility well. At 17, when he was first transferred there from Joliet youth prison, he was the youngest person in the general population, he tells me.<br /><br />I wasn&rsquo;t surprised to learn that at the time of his arrest &mdash; when he had barely turned 14 &mdash; Davis didn&rsquo;t understand the nuances of accountability theory.<br /><br />Adolfo Davis told me that after the crime he wasn&rsquo;t even trying to hide from police. In his young mind he hadn&rsquo;t done anything seriously wrong.<br /><br />Police had come to the house looking for Davis and when he got home Fannie, called them.<br /><br />&ldquo;My grandmother called the police because I honestly think I didn&rsquo;t do nothing,&rdquo; says Davis. &ldquo;I was like &lsquo;I ain&rsquo;t kill nobody, I&rsquo;m cool.&rsquo;&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis pauses. And says, &ldquo;But it didn&rsquo;t work out that way.&rdquo;<br /><br />It didn&rsquo;t work out that way because the jury found him guilty.<br /><br />And it didn&rsquo;t work out that way in part because of the times. It was the early 1990&rsquo;s.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was a time,&rdquo; Shobha Mahadev tells me &rdquo;when criminologists were promoting the notion that there was going to be a wave of juvenile super predators &mdash; that the sky was falling &mdash; that we were about to see a generation of young people who would wreak havoc on our cities and put us in fear.&ldquo;<br /><br />Mahadev is an assistant professor of law at Northwestern&rsquo;s Children and Family Justice Center. She says the super predator idea is now widely considered to have been a myth.<br /><br />Legislatures across the country were creating laws, Mahadev asserts, that expanded the chance of juveniles being treated as adults in the criminal system.<br /><br />And that&rsquo;s what happened to Davis.<br /><br />The legal event that probably most contributed to Davis&rsquo; life without parole sentence was a proceeding called a transfer hearing. Should Adolfo Davis be tried in juvenile court where he could get a sentence of only a few years?&nbsp;Would that be enough time for him to turn his life around? Or should he be tried in adult court?<br /><br />At the transfer hearing Adolfo Davis&rsquo; probation officer testified, saying he favored Davis going into the adult system. He described him as &ldquo;a very sick child.&rdquo; He testified that in his opinion a few years in juvenile prison would not be sufficient to handle the severity of his problems.</p><p>The probation officer said he believed there would be facilities in the adult system that could offer treatment and rehabilitation to Adolfo Davis. And he saw that as important because he saw Davis as not only a threat to the public, but also a threat to himself.</p><p>This probation officer, by the way, had warned DCFS to place Davis in a structured secure facility, but not to put him in a temporary shelter because he would run away and he wouldn&rsquo;t be able to get the intensive evaluations he needed.</p><p>DCFS did exactly what the probation officer said not to do. And Adolfo Davis ran away. That happened just a few days before the murders took place.</p><p>Davis&rsquo; lawyer tried to ask the probation officer if he thought Davis needed to be in prison for the rest of his life. And she said that if convicted of double homicide, Davis would get a sentence of natural life.</p><p>The judge asked if the prosecutor agreed, because if so &ldquo;we have to get that in the record.&rdquo;</p><p>The prosecutor answered: &ldquo;No, judge, that is not what the law is.&rdquo; And the judge said they&rsquo;d get to it later.</p><p>The defense attorney was not able to ask the probation officer if he understood that a transfer to adult court could result in life without parole for Davis.</p><p>Davis was transferred to adult court.</p><p>The judge at that time observed that in some ways Davis had &ldquo;fallen through the cracks.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A chaotic family life&nbsp;</span></p><p>His grandmother loved him dearly but DCFS records say she couldn&rsquo;t provide the structure he needed.<br /><br />&ldquo;Because my grandmother taking care of everybody else, and everybody got their little checks and buy drugs with it,&rdquo; Davis says. &ldquo;People would do what they want with that money. Instead of putting food in the house.&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis claims that at an early age he&rsquo;d pump gas for people in exchange for a bit of change. And he says sometimes at the end of the day he and his friends would go hang out at a Dunkin Donuts or a Kentucky Fried Chicken, to snare food that was being thrown out in the dumpsters.<br /><br />By 10 years old, Davis had committed his first robbery and he joined a gang at about 11, he says. After that his crime life escalated to stealing cars, shoplifting, burglary, theft, possession of marijuana and armed robbery.<br /><br />About 10 months before the double murder, Davis used a knife to commit two robberies on a single day. Records say he went through the pockets of his victims and netted $3 in one instance and $2 in another.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Mandatory life without parole</span></p><p>When Adolfo Davis was found guilty in adult court- by statute, the judge had no choice but to sentence him to life without parole.<br /><br />&ldquo;Under the statute that I got convicted of, it says if you get convicted of two murders without a reasonable doubt &mdash; you get natural life,&rdquo; Davis tells me. &ldquo;Now if I would have got convicted of another statute, I might would not have got this time. So that&rsquo;s the reason why I have been given life. And that&rsquo;s the reason why so much is being talked about the statute now is because you ain&rsquo;t giving the judge the discretion to evaluate you and say no, he don&rsquo;t deserve no natural life.&quot;<br /><br />It gradually dawned on Davis that he really would spend his entire life in prison, and that he would die there &ndash; and he became despondent, rebellious, and at times suicidal.<br /><br />&ldquo;I honestly felt for years like man, I felt so angry,&rdquo; says Davis. &ldquo;Like man I ain&rsquo;t did nothing. But when I faced reality I was like &mdash; I did do something.&rdquo;</p><p>In adulthood, Adolfo Davis says he has come to terms with his responsibility for the role he played in this massive crime. I ask if he ever thinks about the people who got killed.</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, all the time,&rdquo; he says. Especially about one of the victims, who he knew well. &ldquo;Little Keith. man, I had memories with him when we was going to school together. We used to take the lunch trays and at the school, go up on top of the roof and just eat and just kick it.&nbsp; We used to steal cars together. We used to go to hustle together,&rsquo;&rdquo; Davis says. He says Little Keith was one of his best friends.<br /><br /><span style="font-size:22px;">The beginnings of maturity</span></p><p>Davis began to become more mature and to renounce his gang affiliation in an unlikely place.</p><p>After many behavioral tickets for fighting and other disruptive behaviors in prison, at 21 Davis was transferred to Tamms Supermax Prison, just a month after it opened.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LSP-Jill-Stevens-A.jpg" style="height: 201px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="For over 4 years, Jill Stevens was Adolfo Davis' therapist at Tamms Supermax Prison. 'I feel confident that the vast majority of people on the street would agree that a 14 year old who has not killed anyone — he should not be in prison for his entire life without even the possibility of going before a parole board,' Stevens said at Davis' clemency hearing in April of 2012." />That&rsquo;s where he met licensed clinical counselor Jill Stevens, who was his therapist for over four years. Adolfo Davis was unique she says, in terms of&nbsp; maintaining a positive attitude in spite of coming from such a &ldquo;hideous&rdquo; background. His drive to help other kids not make the same mistakes he had, impressed her.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s so sad to me that this is somebody who.. yeah, he slipped through the cracks of that family,&rdquo; Stevens says, &ldquo;and&nbsp; they were big cracks. Then he slipped through the cracks of social services &mdash; and juvenile justice systems.&rdquo;</p><p>Jill Stevens&rsquo; view of Davis contrasts sharply with the picture painted of him at a clemency hearing back in April of 2012. Adolfo Davis had asked Gov. Pat&nbsp; Quinn for a pardon and Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney Diane Sheridan argued sharply against it: &ldquo;Defendant was a full-fledged, gun-toting, planning out, methodical sophisticated beyond his years, cold-blooded killer,&rdquo; Sheridan said.<br /><br /><span style="font-size:22px;">Resentencing hearings, case by case</span><br /><br />Today is the first of what will be scores of resentencing hearings in Cook County, stemming from the Miller decision. In these cases prosecutors say they will not automatically take the view that each defendant should receive the most severe sentence possible.<br /><br />Alan Spellberg of the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s office tells me that they will consider the effect on victims, the effect on the community and all the factors delineated in the Miller decision. &ldquo;And so we&rsquo;re going to consider each and every single factor independently and individually in every single case,&rdquo; Spellberg says.<br /><br />Meanwhile in this case defense lawyers plan to present a flurry of witnesses who will testify that Adolfo Davis the man, is transformed. He&rsquo;s nothing like that 14 year old who participated in a gruesome crime almost 25 years ago.<br />&nbsp;</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/addolfo%20diplomasedited.jpg" style="height: 299px; width: 620px;" title="Adolfo Davis' high school diploma &amp; other academic certificates" /></div><p><br />While waiting for a verdict Davis was locked up in what used to be called the Audy Home, Cook County&rsquo;s jail for kids. He attended school and had three&nbsp; meals per day At first he acted out a lot. But over time, he thrived. Davis&rsquo; lawyers have shown me written evaluations that praise Davis&rsquo; progress.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s important to note &mdash; all that improvement happened prior to Davis even receiving his mandatory sentence of life without parole.<br /><br />But is proof of rehabilitation enough? Not necessarily. Because penological goals are varied. And sentences need to consider both retribution and rehabilitation. And other factors too.<br /><br />Northwestern University&rsquo;s Shobha Mahadev says the Supreme Court has been trying to impress on courts that: &ldquo;Children are different and their rehabilitation and their ability to grow and change into different people than they were at the time of their childhood is what is paramount here.&rdquo;</p><p>In some ways these resentencing hearings offer a unique moment. Maybe even an unprecedented moment.<br /><br />Because judges get a do-over. They&rsquo;re not examining whether rehabilitation is possible. They&rsquo;re seeing whether it became a reality.</p></p> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 08:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/locked-14-adolfo-davis-gets-chance-new-sentence-111863 Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852 <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/01%20Angel%20and%20Manuel%20in%20abandoned%20house%20by%20Adriana%20Cardona-Maguigad.jpg" style="height: 409px; width: 620px;" title="Over the summer Angel and Manuel lived together in an empty house near 51st and Throop, an area where vacant homes are common. (Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)" /></div><p>It all started about a year ago when I began noticing more homeless men in the Chicago neighborhood where I work. Back of the Yards is a community that faces some of the city&rsquo;s toughest problems: joblessness, crime, drug use.<br /><br />Many of these men would be sitting in doorways or shuffling along, many times asking for money.<br /><br />One day, I asked one of them: &ldquo;Where are you from?&rdquo; He told me a story that I later heard again and again and again.<br /><br />The men told me they were&nbsp; from Puerto Rico. They were addicted to heroin and they ended up in Chicago because someone in Puerto Rico drove them to the airport and put them on a plane with a one-way ticket to Chicago.<br /><br />They were promised a great rehab place, with over-the-top services and plenty of medical staff. One of them is Angel, a short and dark-skinned man. He&rsquo;s missing most of his top teeth. He said he came to Chicago from Puerto Rico seven years ago for help kicking a heroin addiction.</p><hr /><blockquote><p><strong>Puerto Rico to Chicago in Photos</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/puertoricochicagopipeline/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/photogallerypuertorico.jpg" style="height: 160px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="" /></a></div><p><em><a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/puertoricochicagopipeline/">Click here to explore more photos from the story</a>&nbsp;and get a glimpse into the world of addicts traveling from Puerto Rico to Chicago, including their lives on the island.</em></p></blockquote><hr /><p><span style="font-size: 22px;">&#39;I no see nothing&#39;</span></p><p>&ldquo;Somebody told my family is one rehab in Chicago got nurse, got pool, got medication, when I get here I no see nothing,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Angel said that when he landed in Chicago he was met at the airport and taken to a place that definitely had no pool. That place didn&rsquo;t have social workers or doctors. Instead, it was just a rundown building with other addicts trying to stay clean, sleeping on dirty mattresses on the floor, going cold turkey.</p><p>Other guys told me something that was hard to believe. They said that it was the police in Puerto Rico who had driven them to the airport and put them on the plane to Chicago.</p><p>And the one-way plane ticket? Some of the men said if someone didn&rsquo;t have the resources to travel, their mayor or some other local official would help buy them a ticket.<br /><br />I have been a journalist in this neighborhood for five years and I couldn&rsquo;t believe this was happening here, right outside my door.</p><p>I wanted to find more people in this situation. I had seen all these men&nbsp; on the streets before, selling lotions, batteries or socks around 47th Street.&nbsp; It turned out, many of them were also from Puerto Rico.</p><p>In just a few months, I met 23 Puerto Ricans with similar stories.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Has anyone else heard these stories?</span></p><p>I needed to figure out who else knew about this. I called&nbsp; homeless organizations, shelters, official drug rehab centers, local aldermen, drug policy experts, but no one had heard about what all these guys were describing to me.</p><p>Until I talked to Jose Alvarez. He has been working with injection drug users in Chicago for 11 years and he&rsquo;d heard the same story I had, from users in Humboldt Park.<br /><br />&ldquo;They were thinking they were going to have their own room,&nbsp; a nice warm place in the winter,&rdquo; Alvarez said. &ldquo;A couple of them even said that some of these places had pools.&rdquo;</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/21%20Jose%20Alvarez%20cleans%20up%20needles%20by%20Adriana%20Cardona-Maguidad.jpg" style="height: 427px; width: 320px; float: left;" title="Jose Alvarez picks up used needles from outside an empty house on 51st and Paulina. Alvarez works with drug users through the Community Outreach Intervention Project at UIC. (Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)" /></div><p>Alvarez is from Puerto Rico too. He is a case manager with the Community Outreach Intervention Projects , an HIV and Hepatitis prevention program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.</p><p>A few years ago, he was able to get inside one of these residences to do HIV testing.<br />&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;It was dark, damp and dirty,&rdquo; Alvarez said. &ldquo;Not only that -- we saw a couple of mice running across the floor.&rdquo;<br /><br />Alvarez knew this was going on, but even he didn&rsquo;t know how many Puerto Ricans had been sent here.</p><p>So after our conversation he spent four days going to shooting galleries and shady corners on the West Side.<br /><br />&ldquo;I also went south of the park, around Chicago, around Division all the way west,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo; Do the same with Augusta, you do the same thing with Ohio. Ohio Street? Forget about it. I&rsquo;m pretty sure the police here in Chicago know all about Ohio Street.&rdquo;<br /><br />In all those places, he heard the same story I had, from 93 people in four days.<br /><br />&ldquo;And I&rsquo;m pretty sure that overall in the city, the numbers are a lot higher, because these are only the people that were in the Humboldt Park area and the majority of them wind up in Back of the Yards and Pilsen, Little Village,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Hiding in plain sight</span><br /><br />I asked Carlos, one of the first guys I heard the story from, to show me the rehab place where he ended up.</p><p>Almost all the men I talked to in Back of the Yards went there too. It&rsquo;s called Segunda Vida, Second Life.</p><p>Carlos said it was on 50th Street and Ashland Avenue, but the place is hard to find. It&rsquo;s almost like hiding in plain sight.<br /><br />Finally, I saw a tiny sign in an upstairs window. It was a version of the AA logo.</p><p>Segunda Vida is on the second floor&nbsp; of a rundown gray stone building. It sits between a parking lot and a pawnshop. On a busy street.<br /><br />The first time I tried to visit, I went through a narrow doorway and up a steep staircase. At the top was an open room. Men were hanging around, smoking cigarettes.&nbsp;</p><p>They told me I had to leave. But I went back again and again. Each time I asked to speak to a person in charge. I was repeatedly told to call later or to come back on a different day.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Slowly, a picture forms</span></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/15%20Grupo%20Renacimiento%20sign%20by%20Adriana%20Cardona-Maguigad.jpg" style="height: 459px; width: 620px;" title="Grupo Renacimiento is a 24-hour group on the North Side of Chicago, on Western near Armitage. (Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)" /></div><p>But slowly, I did start to piece it together. These places are informal drug treatment programs that cater to Spanish speakers.</p><p>Some Mexican families know about them and send relatives with drug or alcohol problems there. They call themselves 24-hour groups because they&rsquo;re open around the clock.</p><p>Addicts sleep there, eat there and they are not supposed to leave for the first three months.</p><p>Drive along parts of Western or Cermak in Chicago and you&rsquo;ll see the buildings. Most of them have &lsquo;24 hours&rsquo; written in Spanish on their sign, next to an AA logo.</p><p>I called the headquarters of Alcoholics Anonymous;&nbsp; a representative there said they have nothing to do with these rehab places. She said AA doesn&rsquo;t offer treatment, transitional living or social services. Its sole purpose is to offer support for people trying to quit drinking.</p><p>I checked on 14 places to see if they had licenses from the state. But they had none.</p><p>I checked with Joseph Lokaitis, a public service administrator with DASA, the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse under the Department of Human Services,&nbsp; but he said he&nbsp; had no idea that these unofficial treatment groups existed.&nbsp; &ldquo;I have not from what you described,&rdquo;&nbsp; Lokaitis said. &ldquo; I think that&rsquo;s surprising. That&rsquo;s not something I have heard of.&rdquo;</p><p>I&nbsp; went to the city department of planning and development, which gives permits for residential drug treatment centers. They had no records.</p><p>I requested information from the Chicago Department of Buildings and there were many violations and complaints connected to the addresses where some of the&nbsp; treatment groups are housed.</p><p>These facilities spring up now and then. They&rsquo;re run by former addicts and they&rsquo;re easy to fold up, move and relocate.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Finding Manuel</span></p><p>As I found out more about these groups, I kept finding more people, men and women, on the street with a similar story. Like Manuel, a tall, skinny man who is using a different name to protect his identity.<br /><br />He can only see through one eye and often stares vacantly into space.<br /><br />I asked if he came to Segunda Vida. He said yes, he&rsquo;d been here for two weeks. He seemed scared. He looked lost, alone and worried about the winter.</p><p>He told me what a lot of other guys had &mdash; the &lsquo;treatment&rsquo; there was mostly a lot of yelling and harsh behavior.</p><p>When Manuel walked out, he left his ID and other documents. He said he tried to get them back, but was turned away.&nbsp;</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/Manuel%20diptych.jpg" style="height: 424px; width: 620px;" title="Manuel when he arrived in Chicago (left) and another photo taken in April 2015." /></div><p>I offered to go with him to Segunda Vida to get his papers. That Saturday afternoon as we walked towards Segunda Vida, my heart was racing. I could tell Manuel was nervous too.<br /><br />Manuel went up the narrow stairway, I followed closely behind. When the people there saw me coming up with a microphone, they blocked us at the top. Manuel asked for his documents.<br /><br />A man told us to leave, that we needed to wait outside. More people came up the stairway, surrounding us. Everyone was tense.&nbsp;</p><p>I kept telling them that I wouldn&rsquo;t leave until I get Manuel&rsquo;s documents: &ldquo;No first of all, we are accompanying him so that he can get his papers.&rdquo;<br /><br />A participant from the group kept insisting that we need to wait outside and that I won&rsquo;t be able to interview or speak with anyone from Segunda Vida.</p><p>&ldquo;You know why I come here?&rdquo;&nbsp; a man from the group said. &ldquo;Cause I do have problems, that&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s anonymous. That&rsquo;s why we come here to liberate our pressure. Like, we can&rsquo;t do that in front of you because you won&rsquo;t understand us.&rdquo;<br /><br />Finally, someone handed Manuel a white envelope with some documents, but they didn&rsquo;t include his ID.&nbsp;</p><p>After another tense wait, someone pushed through the crowd and handed over Manuel&rsquo;s ID.<br /><br />Other people were coming up the stairs. We knew we had to leave. Once we walked out, some of the men followed us out and watched us from the sidewalk.<br /><br />Among the documents were Manuel&rsquo;s one-way plane ticket and a copy of his medical records, where I found out he is HIV positive.<br /><br />This is crazy. Sick people are being sent thousands of miles from home to unlicensed drug rehab places in Chicago?<br /><br />I decided to go to Puerto Rico for some answers.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">An island of natural beauty</span></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/28%20Tourism%20in%20Puerto%20Rico%20by%20Adriana%20Cardona-Maguigad.jpg" style="height: 350px; width: 620px;" title="A cruise ship at port in El Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico. Tourists flock to Puerto Rico for its natural beauty. (Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)" /></div><p>Puerto Rico is a captivating place. The island is a commonwealth of the United States and known for its natural wonders.</p><p>On any given night the echoes of salsa music travel across the narrow sidewalks of El Viejo San Juan.&nbsp;</p><p>But, away from the festive atmosphere lies a darker side. Puerto Rico sits between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It&rsquo;s a key port for the illegal drugs that come from South America to the United States.</p><p>And drug addiction among Puerto Ricans has become one of the island&rsquo;s greatest struggles.</p><p>To serve drug users in need of services, community organizations, local agencies and even government officials are coming up with their own strategies.</p><p>On Monday nights medical students from the University of San Juan reach out to drug addicts living in the streets around the medical district. That&rsquo;s one of several projects inspired by Iniciativa Comunitaria, a non-profit that offers detox services and drug rehab treatment in the island.</p><p>The students offer basic first aid to the homeless, including I-V drug users who have developed skin ulcers. Last June, I followed them one night as they made their rounds.</p><p>Sahily Reyes is a PhD student at the University of Puerto Rico. She is with a group called Recinto pa la Calle, which translates to From Campus to the Streets.</p><p>Each week the students pack two cars with clothes, food and hygiene products. At one of their stops I met a young man, Louis Reyes Muriel. He was lying on the ground, rubbing baby lotion on his legs almost like he&rsquo;s getting ready to go to sleep.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/33%20Louis%20Reyes%20Muriel%20in%20Puerto%20Rico%20by%20Adriana%20Cardona-Maguigad.jpg" style="height: 194px; width: 320px; float: left;" title="Louis is a drug user who lives in Puerto Rico. He traveled to Chicago for treatment and then went back to the island after spending time in Humboldt Park. (Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)" />He said officials from the Puerto Rican town of Bayamon sent him to one of the unlicensed 24-hour groups in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;First of all, the government paid for my ticket,&rdquo; Reyes Muriel said. &ldquo;But the first thing they tell you is that you are going to a five-star hotel, with a pool and everything, but when you get there, it&rsquo;s alcoholics anonymous.&rdquo;</p><p>Several Puerto Ricans I have met in Chicago said they were also sent to Chicago by the same municipality. But I could not verify with the municipality of Bayamon if anyone there helped send users to Chicago. I called and faxed the municipality several times, but no one responded to my requests for more information.</p><p>Muriel said he left the group and lived in the streets of Chicago, mostly around Humboldt Park. He found his way back to the island and was living in the streets of San Juan when I talked to him.</p><p>During my time in Puerto Rico, it was clear that no one is hiding the fact that addicts are sometimes sent or referred to the mainland of the United States for services.</p><p>While some municipalities have programs aimed to connect drug users to services, the largest program, called De Vuelta a la Vida or Return to Life is run by the Puerto Rican police, and connects addicts to drug addiction services in and out of the island.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">&#39;Already reaching that success&#39;</span></p><p>I went to a rally in La Perla, a tiny neighborhood north of the old San Juan. That community is known for its ongoing drug enterprise.</p><p>I run into the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla and I asked him about the state program De Vuelta a la Vida.</p><p>Padilla said, it has been a successful initiative. &ldquo;A lot of people that isolated themselves from possibilities of success came back with successful options or already reaching that success,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;In many cases homeless and addicts.&rdquo;</p><p>I told the governor that some of the addicts that were sent to Chicago are ending up homeless in an unfamiliar city. Padilla then said they should seek additional help in Chicago, that there is help available.</p><p>&ldquo;I know that Mayor Emanuel of&nbsp; Chicago and Governor Quinn of Illinois have many programs, very successful,&rdquo; Padilla said last June. &ldquo;They should seek help. We want them in Puerto Rico. They are our brothers and here, they could get help and they have it there with Rahm Emanuel and Quinn.&rdquo;</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/29%20Puerto%20Rican%20Governor%20Padilla%20plays%20basketball%20in%20La%20Perla%20by%20Adriana%20Cardona-Maguigad.jpg" style="height: 426px; width: 620px;" title="The Governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, plays basketball with a resident of La Perla. (Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)" /></div><p>Not only the governor of Puerto Rico was proud of De Vuelta a la Vida. The police were also proud of it.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>I met with agent Loribi Doval Fernandez. She is the coordinator of De Vuelta a la Vida.</p><p>She said police officers inform addicts about rehab programs available in other cities and sometimes help send them to the mainland of the U.S.</p><p>&ldquo;We put the participants in our vehicle &mdash; a patrol car &mdash; we take them to the airport and we do not leave until the plane takes off,&rdquo;&nbsp; Doval Fernandez said.</p><p>According to other municipal officials from Caguas and Juncos and even the founder of De Vuelta a la Vida, retired Puerto Rican Police Colonel Benjamin Rodriguez,&nbsp; if families don&rsquo;t have the money to buy a ticket then sometimes municipal mayors or some other officials will help come up with the money.<br /><br />I asked Doval how many addicts have been sent off the island, including to Chicago?</p><p>She said she gets reports on those numbers but doesn&rsquo;t have them handy. Then, I asked. How are the connections with the rehab groups in Chicago and other cities established?&nbsp;</p><p>She said De Vuelta a la Vida police have received information about the groups through word-of-mouth, from social workers and family members who say, &ldquo;Look I know this rehab home. My son is rehabilitated.&rdquo;</p><p>Then I asked: Have you checked with government agencies in Illinois or Chicago about those groups? Are they certified?</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/DeVuelta_1.jpg" style="float: right; height: 180px; width: 280px;" title="De Vuelta a la vida postcard" />She said the addict&rsquo;s relatives are responsible for checking out the rehab services. Doval Fernandez said it&rsquo;s up to the family to make sure the place they&rsquo;re going to is licensed and&nbsp;effective.</p><p>And once the person leaves, she said, they&rsquo;re not Puerto Rico&rsquo;s responsibility anymore.</p><p>&ldquo;The participant signs a liability waiver and they are informed and told that this&nbsp;[program] is outside of Puerto Rico and that we can&rsquo;t do the follow up,&rdquo; Doval Fernandez said. &ldquo;There are times when we call to verify but that&rsquo;s the least we do because that&rsquo;s then the responsibility of the family member.&rdquo;</p><p>After my interview with Doval Fernandez, I filed numerous legal requests asking for data on the program. I sent faxes, e-mails, mail, I called,&nbsp; but I didn&rsquo;t get any answers.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Hundreds leaving the island</span></p><p>Finally, with legal pressure from the Center for Investigative Reporting in Puerto Rico, the <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/261490221/Programa-de-Vuelta-a-La-Vida">police gave me some numbers</a>. In the last decade, the Puerto Rican police say the number of &ldquo;participants transported to the United States provided by the police areas from year 2005 to 2014&rdquo; is of 758 people. Of those, 120 came to Chicago.</p><p>Rafael Torruella is the director of Intercambios Puerto Rico, a needle exchange program for drug users on the island. <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/261484228/Rafael-Torruella-Thesis">He wrote his dissertation about drug users who are sent off the island for treatment</a>. I showed him the numbers sent by the state police.</p><p>He said police have not collected adequate data. &rdquo;How many drug users are sent each year,&nbsp; for instance. And who is doing the follow ups? I think the numbers in the documents you sent me seems like a gross underestimate of what&rsquo;s been happening,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Torruella, who&rsquo;s also doctor in social psychology with a postdoctoral degree from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, said this is happening far beyond Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s South Carolina, Wisconsin, New York, Boston,&rdquo; Torruella said. &ldquo;The more you ask, the more you see that this has been happening for a long time.&rdquo;</p><p>Another important question that is not answered by the police in Puerto Rico, he said, is, &ldquo;Do we know that they are being sent to places that are certified as drug treatment programs or this is just a house that&rsquo;s -- a fly-by-night -- quote unquote drug treatment services that was built in order to exploit drug users?&rdquo; Torruella said.</p><p>I filed formal requests with the municipalities of Juncos, Caguas and Bayamon--three places where users I&rsquo;d met in Chicago were from.<br /><br />How many people have they sent to Chicago each year?<br /><br />Only Juncos replied with complete information.<br /><br /><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/261490219/Juncos-Numbers">From 2007 to 2013 that municipality alone sent 259 users outside of Puerto Rico to cities in the United States, and about 56 percent of them came to Chicago.</a><br /><br />The mayor of Juncos told me his office has offered financial help to those who can&rsquo;t afford the plane ticket. Caguas officials said they have sent only 25 people to Chicago in the last three years, but did not reply for request of data for previous years.<br /><br />Bayamon&rsquo;s program, Nuevo Amanecer or New Dawn, didn&rsquo;t respond to numerous requests for data.<br /><br />And those are only a few of many municipal programs or local agencies that work with the state police or the municipal governments to ship addicts to services off the island.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A warning against sending addicts away</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/26%20A%20homelesss%20man%20in%20El%20Viejo%20San%20Juan%20by%20Adriana%20Cardona-Maguigad.jpg" style="height: 440px; width: 620px;" title="A homeless man rests on a sidewalk in El Viejo San Juan. (Adriana Cardona- Maguigad)" /></p><p>The only Puerto Rican official I talked to who seemed to know&nbsp; the reality of unlicensed rehab places actually left government last year.</p><p>He was an advisor on addiction affairs for Puerto Rico&rsquo;s drug addiction and mental health organization, known as ASSMCA.&nbsp;</p><p>His name is Doctor Angel Gonzalez. He helped put together a press release last year warning people about unlicensed treatment centers off the island.</p><p><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/261490220/Comunicado-de-Prensa">That press release was issued on January 14, 2014 and read</a>, &ldquo;Given the lack of treatment options Puerto Rico faces, some people, families or entities have opted to transfer people with substance abuse disorders to organizations located mainly in the eastern part of the United States, without getting the information about the qualifications of such centers. There is scientific and journalistic evidence about people who have been admitted into residencies without any facilities or adequate services thus having to leave the services without being able to recover their documents (driver&rsquo;s license, Social Security cards, voter registration, Medicaid, etc.)&rdquo;</p><p>The press release goes on to say that on many occasions, these participants find themselves outside Puerto Rico without a home, without the proper documentation to access other governmental services or without the resources to go back to the island.</p><p>I asked if he knew of any data saying that it is effective to treat users in Puerto Rico by sending them off the island?</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s any data,&rdquo; Gonzalez said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think there is. This is basically done because of the lack of treatment opportunities on the island. And the desperate families that go to the mayors and say we tried everything on the island with our son or daughter and help us out.&rdquo;</p><p>Like Gonzalez, other experts I talked to in Puerto Rico said if all the drug addicts on the island were to seek drug addiction services there, only a small percentage would be able to get quality services.</p><p>Gonzalez said here are only six places on the island where a person can get methadone. He said for a lot of people, the closest place isn&rsquo;t close at all.</p><p>&ldquo;For example, I can tell you the people who go to methadone program in Cayey, they have to travel two hours from Guyama to Cayey, then two hours back,&rdquo; Gonzalez said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a huge problem and it&rsquo;s not going to be solved by sending people to these non-accredited programs in the U.S.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">A bad solution to a problem far away</span></p><p>So I had found some answers at least. Puerto Rican heroin users are ending up on the streets of Chicago as part of a bad solution to an overwhelming problem happening someplace else.</p><p>And even though it&rsquo;s a bad solution, it might not stop anytime soon. Even last December when I was about to leave my office in Back of the Yards, I met a new addict I had not seen before.</p><p>She was a young woman I met on a freezing night. She was beautiful, from Puerto Rico too. Perfect eyebrows, bright eyes, straight white teeth.</p><p>Like other users I talked to, she said she was sent by the municipal authorities from Bayamon. She said she had tried at least six 24-hour groups in Chicago since she came.</p><p>She said after being humiliated in the streets, users like her end up in 24-hour groups only to be yelled at and insulted. It was nothing like what she expected. And Instead of helping her, they have taken her further away from recovery.</p><p><em>For more, <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/not-it?act=1#act-1">follow as Adriana&#39;s story continues on This American Life.</a></em></p><p><em>Adriana Cardona-Maguigad did a lot of her investigation as a fellow with the Social Justice News Nexus, at Northwestern University. She went to Puerto Rico with support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Bill Healy and Kari Lydersen and The Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico helped with reporting. Jesse Dukes produced the audio piece. Chris Hagan produced the digital presentation. Special thanks to Viviana Bonilla Lopez and Wayne Rydberg.</em></p></p> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852 In mayoral campaign's 11th hour, Emanuel meets with critics of police http://www.wbez.org/news/mayoral-campaigns-11th-hour-emanuel-meets-critics-police-111830 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Knox THUMNAIL square.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A social-justice coalition representing religious congregations and senior citizens is praising Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for meeting with them about police accountability &mdash; and complaining that his words at the gathering fell far short of their demands.</p><p>Rev. Eddie Knox Jr., pastor of Pullman Presbyterian Church, says the activists had been trying since October to get a meeting with Emanuel but could not nail him down, even as the police conduct issue boiled over in the wake of an officer&rsquo;s fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.</p><p>&ldquo;Congregations heard over and over again &mdash; in our neighborhood canvasses &mdash; that our communities were being terrorized by police,&rdquo; Knox said.</p><p dir="ltr">The Emanuel meeting took place in his City Hall office Saturday morning and lasted almost an hour &mdash; a distraction from the campaign trail during the last weekend before voters decide whether to reelect him Tuesday. The meeting included several of Emanuel&rsquo;s senior staff members but not police Supt. Garry McCarthy.</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition includes the Community Renewal Society, the Jane Addams Senior Caucus and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America. The ages and religious bent of the activists distinguish them from the young adults and leftists who have led many Chicago street protests since the Ferguson shooting.</p><p dir="ltr">The demands span three topics: the police department&rsquo;s body-camera program, the department&rsquo;s &ldquo;stop-and-frisk&rdquo; tactics, and the city&rsquo;s police-oversight agencies.</p><p dir="ltr">On the body cameras, Rev. Sara Wohlleb of the Latin America network said the coalition wants &ldquo;discipline for officers who fail to turn on the camera during any interaction with the public&rdquo; and discipline for the supervisors of those officers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We also need the assurance that the recording will never be erased by the police department or any authority,&rdquo; Wohlleb said. &ldquo;We are asking for disclosure of videos and, in the case of flagged recordings where there&rsquo;s a particular concern, we need that recording to be released to the public. We are also asking for public participation in the evaluation of the program.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">On the stop-and-frisk tactics, the coalition is demanding that data on the stops be collected and made public, that training for officers about legal requirements be improved, and that the people who are stopped get detailed receipts.</p><p dir="ltr">On police oversight, the coalition is calling for a &ldquo;complete&rdquo; overhaul of the Independent Police Review Authority, a city agency <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194" target="_blank">now led by former law-enforcement personnel</a>, the activists noted. They also called for an independent police auditor or an &ldquo;elected civilian accountability council.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition criticized the police department&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank">handling of indicted Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a> and demanded that the police chief no longer be able to &ldquo;alter, adjust, veto or fight&rdquo; steps recommended by IPRA or the police department&rsquo;s Internal Affairs Division.</p><p dir="ltr">A statement from Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s office calls the meeting &ldquo;positive and productive&rdquo; and says the city is already implementing some of the proposals, including discipline for officers who do not use their body cameras. The statement also says state law and the city&rsquo;s contract with the police union would block some of the proposals. The mayor&rsquo;s office agreed to another meeting with the coalition by early next month.</p><p>Speakers at the press conference included three of the most prominent supporters of Emanuel&rsquo;s mayoral challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesús Chuy García. Those three were Rev. Jesse Jackson, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele. Their role led to questions about whether the coalition was trying to hurt Emanuel in Tuesday&rsquo;s election.</p><p>Nora Gaines of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus responded. &ldquo;People have been asking to meet with the mayor for months and months,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The mayor chose to meet with us this Saturday morning before the election. You would have to ask him why he did that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Asked about the meeting&rsquo;s timing, a spokesman for the mayor did not answer.</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition said it had met with García and that he had promised, if elected mayor, to approach police accountability with more &ldquo;sensitivity.&rdquo; But the issue has taken a backseat in García&rsquo;s mayoral campaign. Instead the challenger has pledged to hire 1,000 new police officers &mdash; something he says Emanuel promised four years ago.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 18:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayoral-campaigns-11th-hour-emanuel-meets-critics-police-111830 Ferguson activists hope that momentum sparks a national movement http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-activists-hope-momentum-sparks-national-movement-111825 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ferguson-activists-getty_custom-9be109112ebd75dbb55f4093e1f9931ab8685b7b-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Ferguson activists march through downtown St. Louis during a protest last month. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)" /></div><p>Since August, several U.S cities have been at the center of protests about policing and race. Activists in Ferguson, Mo., demonstrated for months in the aftermath of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/11/25/366504599/protests-fires-follow-announcement-of-ferguson-grand-jurys-decision" target="_blank">shooting death of Michael Brown</a>, a black, unarmed 18-year-old killed by a white police officer last summer. They also have demanded resignations and pushed for new laws in what organizers say is the start of a national movement for justice.</p><p>On a crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon, about 100 people gathered at a school next door to Greater St. Mark Family Church in Ferguson. The church has been a gathering spot and safe haven for activists in the St. Louis region.</p><p>&quot;The responses that we&#39;ve seen over the last seven months wouldn&#39;t have happened without you actually being willing to be in the streets, without you being willing to be intentionally involved in movement-building,&quot; says 41-year-old Montague Simmons, head of the&nbsp;<a href="http://obs-stl.org/" target="_blank">Organization for Black Struggle</a>. It was one of the main groups coordinating protests in the aftermath of Brown&#39;s death.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s hard to reconcile the idea that in death, there is something being born out of it,&quot; he says. &quot;But they left him on the ground just long enough that his blood gave birth to something else, so that we can actually transform this predicament we find ourselves in.&quot;</p><p>The Organization for Black Struggle has been active in the area for several years, but other groups sprang up last summer, including the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dontshootstl.org/" target="_blank">Don&#39;t Shoot Coalition</a>, a collection of about 50 activist groups.</p><p>Co-chair Michael T. McPhearson says the coalition is working to keep a national spotlight on the issue of policing in communities of color. He acknowledges there are struggles regarding coordination, funding and internal disputes, but says there&#39;s a lesson to be learned from the movement of more than 50 years ago.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/corley-activists_custom-d361b0981a03a5950541a1566c947cc3fcc2b082-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 419px; width: 620px;" title="Activists gather at a school next door to the Greater St. Mark Family Church in Ferguson, Mo. for a meeting of what the Organization for Black Struggle was calling a 'People's Movement Assembly.' (Cheryl Corley/NPR)" /></div><p>Activist and hip-hop artist Tef Poe, co-founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.handsupunited.org/" target="_blank">Hands Up United</a>, says there are questions about persuading some street protesters to work with more structure.</p><p>&quot;For us, that is a struggle,&quot; he says. &quot;For the most part everyone is a rebel amongst rebels.&quot;</p><p>Still, Tef Poe says national coordination helped keep the movement going, including in New York City in the protests regarding the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man died after police used a chokehold on him during an arrest.</p><p>&quot;Police brutality &mdash; it&#39;s at the point now where it&#39;s too far gone in the black community,&quot; he says. &quot;It&nbsp;<em>has</em>&nbsp;to be addressed.&quot;</p><p>Brittany Ferrell, co-founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://millennialau.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Millennial Activists United</a>, says that while its important for activists to stay in the streets protesting, young people should also raise their voices in the traditional political arena. Ferrell points to the nearly all-white city leadership and police force in predominantly black Ferguson as a concern.</p><p>&quot;We need to be in positions of power and have a say in our spaces,&quot; she says.</p><p>Ferrell says she and other activists with her group have spoken at high schools and will work this summer to launch a political workshop series for young people &quot;to ready them potentially for running for candidates in their neighborhood, like aldermen and mayor, and what that means, and what your responsibilities would be and is this why you should do it,&quot; she says.</p><p>These activists say the national focus on policing &mdash; and the Department of Justice report&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/03/05/391041893/doj-report-condemns-ferguson-police-departments-practices" target="_blank">blasting Ferguson&#39;s police department</a>&nbsp;for widespread racial bias &mdash; has brought some change, resignations of top city officials and more minority candidates running for local office. They also say they plan to keep the momentum going to make certain their movement brings about lasting change.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 08:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-activists-hope-momentum-sparks-national-movement-111825 Jesse Jackson Jr. leaves federal prison for halfway house http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jjj_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 3/27/2015</em></p><p>CHICAGO (AP) &mdash; Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. arrived at a Baltimore halfway house late Thursday, hours after leaving an Alabama federal prison where he was serving a sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.</p><p>Jackson arrived Thursday night with members of his family at the Volunteers of America halfway house, where he begins his transition back into society.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m very very happy that I&#39;m with my wife and children, I&#39;ve missed them a very long time,&quot; Jackson said as he pushed through a group of reporters to enter the halfway house.</p><p>Earlier in the day, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking by phone shortly after picking up his 50-year-old son, described his release from the minimum security federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base as a &quot;joyous reunion.&quot; He added that the younger Jackson was doing &quot;very well.&quot; The civil rights leader was not with his son when he checked into the facility.</p><p>The halfway house has been in operation for more than 30 years in the same two-story brick facility in Baltimore, according to spokeswoman Danielle Milner.</p><p>The facility serves between 500 and 700 residents annually with housing, employment counseling and other transitional services. Some people are allowed to live in their own homes, but that&#39;s up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, she said.</p><p>Jackson Sr. had said earlier Thursday that his son will be living at the halfway house for six months, but federal officials have not confirmed that.</p><p>&quot;He is respecting the rules and the process,&quot; the Rev. Jackson said. &quot;He is not asking for any special privileges.&quot;</p><p>Jackson Jr. said he didn&#39;t know what would happen once he has checked into Volunteers of America.</p><p>Jackson began his 2 &frac12;-year prison sentence on Nov. 1, 2013, and his release date is Sept. 20, 2015. After that, Jackson must spend three years on supervised release under jurisdiction of the U.S. Probation Office and complete 500 hours of community service.</p><p>At some point, it will be his wife&#39;s turn to serve out her punishment on a related conviction.</p><p>Sandra Jackson, a former Chicago alderman, was sentenced to a year in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns that knowingly understated the income the couple received. In a concession to the couple&#39;s two children, a judge allowed the Jacksons to stagger their sentences, with the husband going first.</p><p>Jackson served in Congress from 1995 until he resigned in November 2012. In June 2012, he took medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder and other issues.</p><p>The Jacksons spent campaign money on fur capes, mounted elk heads, a $43,350, gold-plated men&#39;s Rolex watch and Bruce Lee memorabilia, as well as $9,587.64 on children&#39;s furniture, according to court filings.</p><p>Jackson&#39;s resignation ended a once-promising political career that was tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to President Barack Obama&#39;s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Jackson has denied the allegations.</p></p> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/jesse-jackson-jr-leaves-federal-prison-halfway-house-111763 ACLU: Chicago police make more stops than New York at its peak http://www.wbez.org/news/aclu-chicago-police-make-more-stops-new-york-its-peak-111751 <p><p>Chicago police officers initiated stop, question and frisk encounters at a much higher rate last summer than their New York City counterparts ever did, according to a civil liberties group.</p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released a <a href="http://www.aclu-il.org/chicago-leads-new-york-city-in-use-of-stop-and-frisk-by-police-new-study-finds/">report</a> Monday saying it identified more than 250,000 Chicago stop-and-frisk encounters in which there were no arrests from May through August 2014.</p><p>And just like the former controversial New York practice, the ACLU alleges African Americans and other racial minorities in Chicago were disproportionately targeted for police stops.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The trouble with Chicago cops&rsquo; contact cards</span></p><p>Encounters with Chicago police officers often begin with a form called a contact card. Previously, the card was used to log everything from a voluntary conversation with a citizen to an involuntary stop of someone deemed suspicious. When police deem it necessary, that stop can result in a frisk, or pat down, too. That catch-all policy was <a href="http://directives.chicagopolice.org/directives/data/a7a57be2-12a864e6-91c12-a864-e985efd125ff521f.html?hl=true">revised</a> in January to require contact cards only when the police interaction is an &ldquo;investigatory stop,&rdquo; or relating to &ldquo;enforcement of the Gang and Narcotics-Related Loitering Ordinances&rdquo; and not for all citizen encounters.</p><p>In New York, when a stop included a frisk, it was <a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/NY-big.jpg">clearly documented</a>; when a subsequent arrest was made, it too was noted on the contact card. That&rsquo;s not always the case in Chicago. In fact, if an arrest is made, a contact card is not required.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/poor-data-keeps-chicagos-stop-and-frisk-hidden-scrutiny-108670">Poorly designed police work means the public is in the dark about stop and frisk in Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>While the contact card is used for so much police work, the details they contain can be unruly &ndash; and documentation of them near impossible for the public to obtain in volume. Where NYPD cards have easy-to-read, straightforward fields, Chicago&rsquo;s system relies on a police officer&rsquo;s communication skills: the pertinent information is to be transcribed in the police narrative section of the form.</p><p>The variance in Chicago&rsquo;s record keeping has made it especially difficult to track the frequency and effectiveness of stop and frisk here. And it makes direct comparison to New York City, at this point, flawed.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Who gets stopped by Chicago cops?</span></p><p>African-Americans accounted for nearly three-quarters of those stopped last summer, according to the ACLU, even though they make up about a third of the city&#39;s population.</p><p>On a per capita basis, Chicago police stopped 93.6 people per 1,000 residents, or more than four times New York&#39;s peak rate of 22.9 stops per 1,000 residents, which happened during the same four-month period of 2011.</p><p>&quot;The Chicago Police Department stops a shocking number of innocent people,&quot; said Harvey Grossman, the ACLU&#39;s legal director. &quot;And just like New York, we see that African Americans are singled out for these searches.&quot;</p><p>People were far more likely to be stopped in predominantly black communities and blacks were more likely to be the target of stops in predominantly white neighborhoods, the study found.</p><p>For example, African-Americans accounted for 15 percent of the stops in the Jefferson Park area, even though they made up just 1 percent of its population.</p><p>The ACLU said it also found that police gave no &quot;legally sufficient reason&quot; for initiating many of the stops.</p><p>On about half the cards, the officers didn&#39;t state a reason for the stop, and in some cases, they stated that they stopped someone for a reason that wasn&#39;t related to suspected criminal activity.</p><p>Grossman said the information that was on the cards was woefully inadequate, and the cards didn&#39;t indicate that a person had been frisked, which the ACLU researchers can only assume happened.</p><p>And, Grossman said, many of the people who&rsquo;ve been stopped say the experience was far from casual.</p><p>&ldquo;They are serious events to people and they form your view of the police,&rdquo; Grossman explained. &ldquo;You no longer think of police as Officer Joe Friendly anymore after you get stopped and have someone shove their hands down your pockets.&rdquo;</p><p>In a statement, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the department&rsquo;s chief goal is to ensure that &ldquo;everyone in every neighborhood enjoys the same sense of safety, and the best way to achieve that goal is working with the communities we serve.&rdquo;</p><p>McCarthy added that people should only be stopped based on crime data and crime information, &ldquo;nothing else.&rdquo;</p><p>But the use of contact cards has dramatically increased since Supt. McCarthy started running the department in 2011.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Police say contact cards are key crime-fighting tool</span></p><p>The department, which has reported a significant drop in crime around the city in recent years, has made it clear that the cards are a key component of its crime-fighting strategy; that the information is crucial to track gang members and in making arrests.</p><p>Late last year, prosecutors said information from contact cards showed that two days before the 2013 shooting death of a high school honor student, Hadiya Pendleton, the two suspects were in the white Nissan that served as the getaway car.</p><p>Grossman said he&#39;s not surprised that the department relies so heavily on the stop-and-frisk policy. The superintendent spent the bulk of his career in the NYPD and he was the police chief in Newark, New Jersey, before coming to Chicago in 2011.</p><p>The policy has come under fire in both East Coast cities.</p><p>In New York, a federal judge determined the NYPD policy was sometimes discriminating against minorities and found the practice to be unconstitutional.</p><p>And in Newark, the department was placed under a federal monitor after the U.S. Department of Justice found that during a period that included McCarthy&#39;s time running the department, 75 percent of pedestrian stops were made without constitutionally adequate reasons and in the city where blacks make up 54 percent of the population, they accounted for 85 percent of those stops.</p><p>&quot;There is no question the superintendent endorses stop and frisk...It is part of the fabric of McCarthy&#39;s policing,&quot; Grossman told reporters Monday.</p><p>In an email, a CPD spokesman Martin Maloney pointed out that the demographic breakdown of contact cards issued closely mirrors the data in the department&rsquo;s case reports. (Those are descriptions of suspects identified by a third party, which is documented within incident reports.)</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chart%20cc.PNG" style="height: 153px; width: 620px;" title="Source: Chicago Police Department" /></div><p>The same spokesman said the department has added new levels of supervision and accountability with respect to its use of contact cards. Adding that officers are now required to &ldquo;document more details explaining why a contact card was issued.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez"> @katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 09:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aclu-chicago-police-make-more-stops-new-york-its-peak-111751 Under Emanuel, more unsolved murders, fewer detectives http://www.wbez.org/news/under-emanuel-more-unsolved-murders-fewer-detectives-111750 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmmccarthy_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>▲ <strong>Listen to the full story</strong></p><p>In his reelection campaign, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking credit for a <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/gradingrahm/#public_safety">slight decline in the city&rsquo;s homicide rate</a>. But a WBEZ investigation raises a question about the murders that are still happening: Is the city doing enough to put the killers behind bars?</p><p>Emanuel has allowed detective ranks to decline during his term even as internal police records show some of the lowest murder clearance rates in decades. Our story (listen above) explores those rates through the eyes of city detectives and a mother who lost her 18-year-old daughter in an unsolved case last October.</p><p>A few notes about the data (charted below): Regarding the detectives, the number on the payroll is down by about 19 percent since Emanuel took office, according to records obtained by WBEZ under the state Freedom of Information Act. The ranks of evidence technicians and forensic investigators have thinned by even larger proportions.</p><p>Detectives say the drops owe to regular attrition such as retirements and promotions. A police spokesman says the city is planning to add 150 new detectives this year. But they won&rsquo;t make up for the attrition during the mayor&rsquo;s term.</p><p>About the murder clearances, the department calculates the rate two ways. The simple way accounts only for cases closed in the same calendar year in which the murder took place. By that gauge, the police cleared 28.7 percent of last year&rsquo;s murders. The other calculation &mdash; the one preferred by the city &mdash; includes clearances of murders committed in previous years, leading to a 2014 rate of 51.8 percent. By either measure, the city&rsquo;s clearance rate is near its lowest level in decades. Chicago&rsquo;s also doing poorly compared to other big cities, according to <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-25/table_25_percent_of-offenses_cleared_by_arrest_by_population_group_2013.xls">FBI clearance figures for 2013</a>, the most recent year available.</p><p>Zooming in further, the term &ldquo;cleared&rdquo; means <em>closed</em> but not necessarily <em>solved</em>. In some cleared cases, the killer was not charged or even arrested. During Emanuel&rsquo;s term, roughly a quarter of the murder cases the police have closed were &ldquo;exceptional clearances&rdquo; because, for example, the suspect had died or fled the country or because prosecutors had declined to bring charges for various reasons, including a refusal by witnesses to testify. Last year, 42 of 213 clearances were &ldquo;exceptional.&rdquo;</p><div id="responsive-embed-clearance-absolute">&nbsp;</div><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-absolute/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-clearance-absolute', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-absolute/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-clearance-rate">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-clearance-rate', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/clearance-rate/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-investigators-line">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-investigators-line', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/investigators-line/child.html', {} ); }); </script><div id="responsive-embed-investigators-table">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript"> jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( 'responsive-embed-investigators-table', 'http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/investigators-table/child.html', {} ); }); </script></p> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/under-emanuel-more-unsolved-murders-fewer-detectives-111750 Former detainees file lawsuit over Homan Square police practices http://www.wbez.org/news/former-detainees-file-lawsuit-over-homan-square-police-practices-111745 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/homan square.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>John Vergara said in 2011 masked police suddenly rushed the Humboldt Park restaurant where he&rsquo;d stopped in for coffee. He and a few other men were cuffed and taken to Homan Square on the city&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>&ldquo;They insisted we knew something, but they just kept us there for hours, chained to the wall, to each other and to the wall. I still don&rsquo;t even know what I was there for,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>At the time, Vergara didn&rsquo;t know the other men with him in custody. He said police refused requests for legal counsel, bathroom facilities and food. He said the cops tried to coerce the men into false confession.</p><p>Eventually, one man in the group was officially arrested. Vergara said the situation changed when he mentioned attorney Blake Horwitz.</p><p>&ldquo;The whole demeanor of the police officers started to change. They started being a little more polite, and a little more scared about knowing that I knew Blake,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Vergara said he and the other men were eventually able to leave, but not before the police threatened them if they didn&rsquo;t keep quiet.</p><p>Vergara and two other men, Carlos Ruiz and Jose Garcia, came forward after a recent article in the <em><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site">The Guardian</a></em> questioning police actions at Homan Square. On behalf of these men, attorney Blake Horwitz filed a lawsuit against four police officers and the City of Chicago.</p><p>Horwitz said these practices could happen anywhere, but said there&rsquo;s something particular about Homan Square, where people are taken off the grid.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a pattern that people experience where they&rsquo;re there for long periods of time and they&rsquo;re not given a right to an attorney,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Horwitz said it&rsquo;s not a matter of shutting down the facility, but that police practices need to change.</p><p>A statement from the Chicago Police Department said it abides by all laws and guidelines related to interviews of suspects and witnesses at Homan Square and any other CPD facility.</p><p>The city&rsquo;s law department said it&rsquo;s reviewing the lawsuit and intends to &ldquo;vigorously defend against it.&rdquo;</p><p>The department notes police recovered 180 grams of cocaine, along with cash, during the incident. It said the case should be dismissed on legal grounds.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-detainees-file-lawsuit-over-homan-square-police-practices-111745