WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Standing in the gap: Parents in violent communities stress about keeping kids safe http://www.wbez.org/news/standing-gap-parents-violent-communities-stress-about-keeping-kids-safe-110670 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/kids.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Fifty school-aged children died so far this year in Chicago. And in at least <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/arrest-made-in-shamiya-adams-murder">one case</a>, the child was killed while playing inside a friend&rsquo;s home&mdash;a setting that most parents would think is extremely safe. But for many parents living in neighborhoods where violence is a reality, even the most benign settings can feel unsafe and out of control.</p><p>Parents worry. Most never stop worrying about their children. It&rsquo;s a parent&rsquo;s job to protect and provide for their child; to help them grow and develop as individuals. So when a parent&rsquo;s abilities are compromised by things out of their control, it can be overwhelming.</p><p>On the far South Side of Chicago, in Roseland, crime and violence add to parents&rsquo; worries. Parents bite their fingernails in the summer months, when idle time leaves young people vulnerable to dangerous community elements.</p><p><a href="http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/community/roseland">Fifty-five people</a> have been shot in Roseland so far this year; in the last month, there&rsquo;s been more than three dozen batteries and assaults in the neighborhood. The majority of the violent crimes in the neighborhood take place on the street or a sidewalk, which is why many parents say they&rsquo;re leery to send their kids outside to play.</p><p>James Brown, 44, keeps a close watch over his 12-year-old son Semaj. Brown says stories about stray bullets hitting innocent kids is a known factor in the community&mdash;and that the people pulling the triggers don&rsquo;t care who or what they&rsquo;re shooting. And so, Semaj isn&rsquo;t allowed to ride his bike unless his father&rsquo;s outside.</p><p>&ldquo;I just want to be out there...&rdquo; Brown explained, &ldquo;not saying I can protect them from it, I just want to be out there.&rdquo;</p><p>Brown wants to be everywhere when it comes to his only child. And he keeps Semaj very busy.</p><p>&ldquo;Right now, we playing baseball, then after baseball we play basketball...we play football. I have to keep him occupied..hanging out on the block is not an option at all, he knows that,&rdquo; Brown reasoned.</p><p>We. We play basketball, we play football: It would be hard for Brown not to feel like a member of the team, considering he goes to every game and practice.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard, it&rsquo;s hard...but I can&rsquo;t give my son to the streets. I can&rsquo;t give him to to the streets. I can&rsquo;t give him to people that act like they care but really don&rsquo;t care,&rdquo; Brown said.</p><p>Brown cares; not just about his son but about all the young men in Roseland. He&rsquo;s worked as a high school football coach in the community for the last two decades.</p><p>&ldquo;I coach football to save lives. I don&rsquo;t coach to be popular to be liked, I could care less if you like me. But it&rsquo;s an option for kids...to change their life,&rdquo; Brown said. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>But Brown felt there weren&rsquo;t any good little league options for his son in Roseland. So he spent the summer driving him to and from Englewood to play on its baseball team. His youngest sister, Victoria Harper Peeples, chose to do the same with her two boys. Both parents recognize the irony in taking their kids from one violent neighborhood to another to play little league.</p><p>&ldquo;People are immune to gunshots nowadays&mdash;as opposed to run for cover, they just sit there and act as if nothing happens&hellip;&rdquo; Harper Peeples lamented.</p><p>&ldquo;Well kids know &#39;hit the deck,&rsquo; wait for the shooting is over with and then get up and walk away. They know that. That&rsquo;s what we teach them. &lsquo;Cause you can&rsquo;t keep &lsquo;em in the house, you can&rsquo;t shelter them&hellip;&rdquo; Brown added.</p><p>Clinical psychologist <a href="http://www.uchospitals.edu/physicians/physician.html?id=6146" target="_blank">Brad Stolbach</a>, with the University of Chicago, has focused his entire career on children affected by trauma and violence. For nearly 20 years, he ran the Chicago Child Trauma Center at La Rabida Children&rsquo;s Hospital on the city&rsquo;s South Side. Stolbach said the constant, real threat of violence in communities like Roseland can be extremely stressful and disruptive.</p><p>&ldquo;If that&rsquo;s your top priority, is watching out and knowing when to hit the deck, it&#39;s very hard to attend to the normal tasks of daily life,&rdquo; Stolbach explained.</p><p>Moreover, Stolbach continued, parents really struggle when they feel like their child&rsquo;s safety is out of their control.</p><p>&ldquo;It&#39;s just the way we&#39;re wired, especially moms, that protecting their children is a biological imperative. It&#39;s the number one priority in a lot of ways. And so feeling powerless to do that, can be not just frustrating but can really affect how you feel about yourself as a parent and as a person.&rdquo;</p><p>And when your kid turns out to be the perpetrator of violence...well, that&rsquo;s tough too.</p><p>Diane Latiker raised eight kids in Roseland. She described her parenting style as overprotective, relentless even.</p><p>&ldquo;I have four sons and when they were growing up, they were in gangs and I knew it. I mean, I tried my best to spearhead them other ways...I mean, I was relentless. But I had to get them away from here...literally, all four of them, to save their lives,&rdquo; Latiker recalled.</p><p>She sent the boys to live with their father in a nearby suburban Bellwood. She thought her worries were nearly over when her youngest daughter was about 13. She could almost see the finish line&mdash;her days of worrying about kids hanging out around the neighborhood were numbered. But it was around that time when Latiker realized, it wasn&rsquo;t just her kids who needed looking after.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;My mom worked; so when I came home from school, the block watched me when my mom was gone. Someone would see me out on the street and say, &lsquo;What are you doing Diane? Where you going Diane? Shouldn&rsquo;t you be in the house?&rsquo; So, you know, I never asked where their parents were or why they weren&rsquo;t doing...I just wanted to know what I could do to help fill in,&rdquo; she remembered.</p><p>Her foundation, <a href="http://www.kobchicago.org/">Kids Off the Block</a>, began with 10 of her daughter&#39;s friends. She invited them into her home and encouraged them to safely explore their interests and potential. Soon there were scores of kids in her living room and off the street. The kids no longer gather in her home, Latiker acquired a space next door. And while the network and foundation has grown, Latiker says the sense of community she remembers from her youth, or the &ldquo;neighbor - hood&rdquo; as she calls it, is still noticeably absent.</p><p>Latiker isn&rsquo;t the only person who thinks so.</p><p>Robert Douglas grew up in Roseland, on 114th and Prairie, in the late 80s and early 90s when the murder rate was double what it is today. Still, Douglas said he felt safer back then.</p><p>&ldquo;We had these backyards, right? That&rsquo;s where the neighbors got to know each other...now, they can&rsquo;t sit on the porch to get a breeze...because of the violence,&rdquo; Douglas said.</p><p>Douglas was a self-described &ldquo;gym rat&rdquo; growing up, which kept him out of trouble...for a while. But then his oldest brother was killed by gun violence.</p><p>&ldquo;My oldest brother was like...daddy. When he left, it was like...you know, hungry...where do we turn now?&rdquo; Douglas recalled.</p><p>Douglas never imagined what that kind of loss might feel like.</p><p>&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t know what it&rsquo;s like until you&rsquo;re burying someone to gun violence. You wouldn&rsquo;t...you could never imagine it,&rdquo; Douglas said.</p><p>He never imagined his response would be to turn to the streets. Douglas said the temptation was unavoidable.</p><p>&ldquo;Violence came to my front door,&rdquo; Douglas began. He rapped a few friendly but firm knocks onto the surface in front of him as he remembered his journey to a life of crime and violence. &ldquo;[Violence] said, &lsquo;Bob, what&rsquo;s up?&rsquo; And I opened the door and I went outside and I played.&rdquo;</p><p>Douglas doesn&rsquo;t want the same fate waiting for his children outside their door...no gangs, no drugs, no violence...none of it.</p><p>&ldquo;Ain&rsquo;t no way in the world I&rsquo;m gonna allow that to happen...and I&rsquo;m not moving out of Roseland. My wife want to go so bad...and she right...my children don&rsquo;t deserve it...they deserve better,&rdquo; Douglas said.</p><p>But Stolbach said it&rsquo;s important to understand that the idea of &ldquo;stopping the violence,&rdquo; is a fantasy until the reality of what causes it&mdash;poverty&mdash;is addressed.</p><p>&ldquo;If we continue to look at how horrible it is but that doesn&rsquo;t result in us trying to change what we&rsquo;re doing about it...that can be demoralizing,&quot; Stolbach explained.</p><p>But when parks and playgrounds are considered an unsafe place to play, when jobs and resources are limited, when neighbors have stopped looking out for one another, giving your kids better is hard.</p><p>And mom Harper Peeples said, it&rsquo;s already pretty tough.</p><p>&ldquo;We like superheroes for our children. Our kids look at us and be like, &lsquo;nothing goes wrong, we don&rsquo;t have any problems, we don&rsquo;t have any worries...&rsquo; But we be stressed out just trying to make sure, did I put them in the right school, did I let &lsquo;em hang with the right friends, did I put him on the right baseball team? There&rsquo;s just so many things that we have to do as parents, and we always put on the spotlight. I mean, it&rsquo;s no chance that mom or dad could make a mistake. We have to be almost like perfect individuals, at least in the sight of our children.&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, 18 Aug 2014 15:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/standing-gap-parents-violent-communities-stress-about-keeping-kids-safe-110670 Congressman calls for removal of police commander accused of assault http://www.wbez.org/news/congressman-calls-removal-police-commander-accused-assault-110642 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Danny Davis AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Rep. Danny Davis says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration should remove a West Side police commander to help avert the sort of violence that has roiled a St. Louis suburb this week.</p><p>Davis (D-Chicago) said Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who is under criminal investigation for allegedly assaulting an arrested man, should be reassigned until the case is over.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s just find some other work right now for the commander to do,&rdquo; Davis said late Tuesday in his East Garfield Park office. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what I think would be in the best interests of promoting the kind of relationships between law enforcement and community&rdquo; that prevents rioting like what hit Ferguson, Missouri, after one of that suburb&rsquo;s police officers fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.</p><p>&ldquo;It has happened many, many times in Chicago,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;So I think an ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans last year allegedly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">jammed his pistol into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth and threatened his life</a>. After a lab test found the arrestee&rsquo;s DNA on that gun, the Independent Police Review Authority recommended in April that police Supt. Garry McCarthy relieve Evans of his police powers and &ldquo;evaluate&rdquo; the commander&rsquo;s assignment.</p><p>The agency also referred the case to State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office.</p><p>The investigation follows at least 45 excessive-force complaints against Evans between 1988 and 2008, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">according to a report detailed last week by WBEZ</a>. Authorities responsible for looking into the complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action.</p><p>McCarthy has credited Evans, a 28-year department veteran, for a drop in shootings in a South Side district he commanded until March.</p><p>Davis, who has campaigned against police brutality in the past, said Evans may be a great police officer but the department should still reassign him &ldquo;until this is cleaned up, so that there are no misunderstandings of what the department believes ought to be the approach to policing.&rdquo;</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans">Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a></strong></p><div>&ldquo;If there is a cloud right now, relative to his use of force and how he might be training officers,&rdquo; said Davis, whose district includes nearly all of Evans&rsquo; district, &ldquo;I would think he not be in the command position.&rdquo;</div></p><p>Neither McCarthy nor Emanuel have answered questions about the decision to leave Evans in his post as the investigation continues.</p><p>Reached Tuesday evening about Davis&rsquo;s statements, Emanuel&rsquo;s office did not comment.</p><p>A McCarthy spokesman wrote that the police department takes &ldquo;any allegations seriously but, as is always the case, we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Some rank-and-file officers and community members&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618">have spoken up for Evans</a>, calling him an attentive and hard-working crime fighter.</p><p>Evans has declined to comment about the investigation.</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/posts">Google+</a> and<a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1"> LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/congressman-calls-removal-police-commander-accused-assault-110642 Despite excessive-force complaints, police commander maintains support http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans2verticalCROP.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 307px; width: 300px;" title="Evans, 52, listens to a Harrison District resident Tuesday at a National Night Out event. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />At least 45 excessive-force complaints against him in less than two decades. At least three five-figure settlements in lawsuits accusing him of misconduct. An ongoing criminal investigation into his alleged assault of an arrestee. And a city agency&rsquo;s recommendation that his police powers be stripped.</p><p>Despite it all, Harrison District&nbsp;Cmdr. Glenn Evans maintains the support of not only Chicago&rsquo;s mayor and police superintendent but many rank-and-file cops and West Side residents. Some of them are expressing hope that Evans&rsquo; aggressive policing style could help combat crime in the district, which has led the city in homicides over the last year.</p><p>That hope was palpable this week during National Night Out, intended to help cops across the country build trust with the communities they patrol. At the Harrison event, a dinner gathering on a high-school ball field near Garfield Park, Evans and other uniformed cops mingled with a small crowd of neighborhood residents while Ald. Jason Ervin (28th Ward) took the microphone.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to thank Cmdr. Glenn Evans for his leadership in the last couple months,&rdquo; Ervin told the gathering.</p><p>Since his transfer to Harrison from a South Side district this March, Evans has also impressed Jimmy Simmons, a retired building contractor who co-facilitates West Humboldt Park community-policing meetings, where neighborhood residents discuss crimes ranging from drug dealing to vandalism. &ldquo;If you set up a meeting with [Evans], he addresses those issues right away,&rdquo; Simmons said. &ldquo;He goes out on the street himself.&rdquo;</p><p>The issue is what <em>happens</em> when Evans goes out on the street.</p><p>Last year in the Grand Crossing District, his previous post, the commander allegedly <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">jammed his pistol</a> into the mouth of an arrested man and threatened to kill him. A lab test found that DNA on the gun matched the arrested man.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans"><strong>Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>In April, based on the test results, the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) referred the case to the State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez office&rsquo;s&nbsp;for criminal investigation and recommended that Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration relieve the commander of his police powers pending the outcome of the case, which did not come to light until a WBEZ report last week.</p><p>Evans has also been the subject of at least three lawsuits in which the city has paid plaintiffs almost $190,000 to settle claims of excessive force or other misconduct. One was finalized <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">last year</a>, the others <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/abusing-badge#.U-P2YuNdWSq">in 2009</a></p><p>And, this week, WBEZ obtained a report tallying those 45 <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">excessive-force complaints</a> against Evans between 1988 and 2008. That total put him on top of a list of 1,541 officers for whom the city provided data. Authorities responsible for investigating the complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action.</p><p>Do such numbers prove Evans has abused his badge?</p><p>&ldquo;More likely, this police officer is out there doing good police work and upsetting criminals,&rdquo; said a veteran Chicago patrol officer who has worked under the commander.</p><p>&ldquo;Evans is a very boots-on-the-ground commander,&rdquo; said the officer, who spoke on condition he not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s unlike a lot of the other commanders I&rsquo;ve ever had an opportunity to work with &mdash; who play to the aldermen or play to other members of the community. He&rsquo;s all about getting crime off the street. If that means going and grabbing people on the corner himself, he&rsquo;s gone and done that.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So he doesn&rsquo;t expect anything from us that he himself won&rsquo;t go out there and do, and he&rsquo;s shown that, time after time,&rdquo; the officer said.</p><p>G. Flint Taylor, a Chicago attorney who often represents plaintiffs alleging excessive police force, has a different take on those complaints against Evans. &ldquo;He is one of the worst, if not the worst repeater cop, in the history of the city of Chicago,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Taylor points out that thousands of Chicago cops have been tough on crime without drawing dozens of complaints, like Evans has. &ldquo;He should be fired,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Rev. Marshall Hatch, the longtime pastor of New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in West Garfield Park, said the Emanuel administration&rsquo;s ability to leave Evans in his post, even after the IPRA recommendation, shows what can happen when the mayor appoints all city officials in charge of police accountability. Those include IPRA&rsquo;s chief administrator, the police superintendent and the Police Board.</p><p>Hatch also voiced concern about the allegations against Evans. &ldquo;If they are substantiated, then you simply can&rsquo;t have that kind of breach of credibility as a commander in a district like this &mdash; where you really have to build police-community relations.&rdquo;</p><p>But the pastor avoided calling for Evans&rsquo; ouster. &ldquo;We want to lend all the support we can to a commander in a district that has so many challenges,&rdquo; Hatch said.</p><p>Evans last week declined to comment on the IPRA case. At the neighborhood gathering this week, the&nbsp;commander&nbsp;would not talk with a reporter about the complaints against him.</p><p>Interviewed at that event, Ervin, the alderman, said he was not taking a stand on whether an officer with Evans&rsquo; record should be stripped of police powers.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s ultimately a question that the superintendent has to answer,&rdquo; Ervin said, referring to Supt. Garry McCarthy. &ldquo;I will withhold any judgment until either speaking with him or, if there&rsquo;s an ongoing investigation with the state&rsquo;s attorney, until they announce something or make something definite in relation to this.&rdquo;</p><p>On Thursday, WBEZ asked McCarthy what message it sent to officers to leave Evans in his post after the excessive-force complaints and the recommendation that the commander&rsquo;s police powers be stripped. The superintendent did not answer.</p><p>Earlier this week, a police department spokesman credited Evans for a drop in shootings in Grand Crossing last year but declined to answer questions about McCarthy&rsquo;s handling of the commander. &ldquo;We take any allegations seriously but, as is always the case, we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation,&rdquo; the spokesman wrote.</p><p>Another question is how Evans&rsquo; policing style will go over with West Siders in the long term.</p><p>&ldquo;They won&rsquo;t trust cops who are meant to protect them if cops act as if they are lawless,&rdquo; said Xavier Stewart, 20, a college student who lives in the commander&rsquo;s district and attended the National Night Out event. &ldquo;In this community, where things are kind of bad, you need police [officers] to do their jobs.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And if they don&rsquo;t do their jobs,&rdquo; Stewart warned, &ldquo;the community will answer back to that and think of it as, &lsquo;Why should I trust cops if they&rsquo;re going to act this way?&rsquo;&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> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 07:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618 Report: Embattled commander No. 1 for excessive-force complaints http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-93192654-a82a-222c-a2eb-64ef1c46f5be"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans%201tightcrop.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 215px; width: 300px;" title="Evans, a 28-year department veteran, remains in his Harrison District post despite a city agency’s recommendation that his police powers be stripped. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />An analysis of excessive-force complaints against hundreds of Chicago police officers is raising more questions about a district commander who is under investigation for allegedly assaulting an arrestee.</p><p>The 49-page report, authored by a former Chicago chief epidemiologist, found that Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans had at least 45 excessive-force complaints between January 1988 and December 2008. During those decades, according to the report, Evans had the highest number of complaints among 1,541 officers for whom the city provided data.</p><p>The author, Dr. Steven Whitman, compiled and studied five city datasets listing 13,527 excessive-force complaints for the officers. Whitman, who died last month, finished the analysis in 2010 for a lawsuit against one of the cops. The report, obtained by WBEZ, has remained out of public view.</p><p><a href="http://peopleslawoffice.com/about-civil-rights-lawyers/attorney-staff-bios/flint-taylor/">G. Flint Taylor</a>, a partner at the People&rsquo;s Law Office, said the Whitman analysis showed something about Evans that he and his colleagues had long suspected. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s one of the worst [excessive-force] repeater cops in the history of the city of Chicago,&rdquo;&nbsp;Taylor said.&nbsp;&ldquo;He should be fired.&rdquo;</p><p>WBEZ last week revealed an April <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority</a> that Evans be stripped of police powers. In that case, Evans allegedly jammed his police pistol into an arrestee&rsquo;s mouth and threatened to kill him. A test found that DNA evidence on the gun matched the arrestee, Rickey J. Williams, 24.</p><p>IPRA also referred the case to Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office for criminal investigation.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not respond to questions about his administration&rsquo;s handling of Evans in light of the Whitman report. Last week an Emanuel spokesman said the mayor would not comment on the IPRA recommendation because that investigation was ongoing.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans"><strong>Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>A spokesman for police Supt. Garry McCarthy, questioned Monday about the Whitman report, wrote that the police department takes any allegations seriously but cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.</p><p>The McCarthy spokesman, Martin Maloney, also lauded Evans, a 28-year department veteran. &ldquo;Throughout his career, Cmdr. Glenn Evans has reduced crime and violence for the communities he has served,&rdquo; Maloney wrote, crediting Evans for improvements in a South Side district he commanded until March.</p><p>&ldquo;Under Cmdr. Evans&rsquo; leadership, the 3rd District had 80 fewer shootings last year than in 2012, the second largest decline in the city,&rdquo; Maloney wrote.</p><p>That praise sounds familiar to Taylor, who has filed lawsuits about Jon Burge, a former Chicago police commander imprisoned for lying about torture. &ldquo;In the police department&rsquo;s view, he was effective,&rdquo; Taylor said. &ldquo;At the same time, he was torturing over 100 African-American men.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There are many proactive cops in high-crime areas that do not rack up a fraction of the complaints that Evans and the other bad guys have,&rdquo; Taylor said.</p><p>Authorities responsible for investigating the Evans complaints in the Whitman report found that two warranted disciplinary action. That gave Evans a 4.4 percent rate of complaints sustained, compared to a 3.0 percent average for all the officers in the report.</p><p>Evans has also been the subject of at least three lawsuits in which the city has paid plaintiffs to settle claims of excessive force or other misconduct.</p><p>In one of those settlements, finalized last December, the city agreed to pay $71,000 to Chicago resident Chas Byars Sr., who accused Evans of grabbing his infant son&rsquo;s car seat so forcefully during an arrest that the baby fell out and hit his head on a table. Neither the city nor Evans admitted wrongdoing.</p><p>Evans did not return WBEZ calls on Monday. Reached last week about the Williams case, the commander declined to comment.</p><p>Some <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618">rank-and-file officers and community members have praised Evans</a> as a hard-working cop and attentive commander.<br />&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> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605 Demoted worker kills self, wounds CEO in Loop shooting http://www.wbez.org/news/demoted-worker-kills-self-wounds-ceo-loop-shooting-110584 <p><p>A demoted worker shot and critically injured his company&#39;s CEO before fatally shooting himself Thursday inside a downtown Chicago high-rise office building in the city&#39;s bustling financial district, police said.</p><p>Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a worker at a technological company entered the 17th-floor office and met with his CEO before pulling a gun. There was a struggle for the gun, and the CEO was shot twice before the gunman fatally shot himself, McCarthy said.</p><p>McCarthy said the company was downsizing and &quot;a number of people&quot; were demoted.</p><p>The 54-year-old victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the other man, described as the 59-year-old offender, was pronounced dead at the scene. Their names haven&#39;t been released.</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/loopshooting1.jpg" title="Chicago police stand outside a downtown high-rise office building following a shooting inside the building Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Chicago. Police said a demoted worker shot and critically injured his company's CEO before fatally shooting himself. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)" /></div><p>The office is in the Bank of America building, two blocks from the Willis Tower, the country&#39;s second tallest skyscraper, and a block from the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.</p><p>Officers were called to the scene around 9:50 a.m. and found two men on the floor in an office, police spokesman Martin Maloney said.</p><p>Workers said they received emails from the building security at about 10 a.m. telling them there was a security situation in the lobby and to stay at their desks. A few minutes later, someone came over the intercom to tell them everything was clear.</p><p>&quot;We didn&#39;t know what to think,&quot; said Jay Patel, who works on the 11th floor.</p><p>This post will be updated as we get more information.</p></p> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/demoted-worker-kills-self-wounds-ceo-loop-shooting-110584 Community prosecutions credited with drop in crime http://www.wbez.org/news/community-prosecutions-credited-drop-crime-110582 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Uptown theater_flickr_BWChicago.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Placing prosecutors in a neighborhood instead of a courtroom is a different kind of &quot;law and order.&quot; A University of Chicago law professor says his research shows community prosecution has had an immediate and measurable impact on violent crime.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/07/31/336765946/community-prosecutions-credited-with-drops-in-crime?ft=1&amp;f=" target="_blank">hear the story from NPR&#39;s Morning Edition</a></em></p></p> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/community-prosecutions-credited-drop-crime-110582 CPD leaves commander in post despite assault allegation, DNA match http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mugs%20combined.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 195px; width: 300px;" title="A complaint says Evans, right, jammed his police pistol into the mouth of Rickey J. Williams, left. (Photos from IDOC and CPD)" />Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration is leaving a West Side police commander in his post despite an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that his police powers be stripped.</p><p>The recommendation followed a DNA test bolstering a complaint that Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, assaulted a South Side arrestee.</p><p>The complaint, according to sources close to the case, alleges that Evans threatened to kill Rickey J. Williams, 24, and jammed his police pistol into the man&#39;s mouth. The sources spoke on condition they not be identified because they are not authorized to speak with the media.</p><p>The DNA test, described in an April 17 <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/235513963/Evans-ISP-Lab-Report">laboratory report</a> from the Illinois State Police, found that material swabbed from the weapon &ldquo;matches the DNA profile&rdquo; of Williams.</p><p>IPRA, the city agency that investigates complaints of excessive police force, referred the case to Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office for criminal investigation. An Alvarez spokesperson said the office is &ldquo;not in a position at this time to make any public comment about the case.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans">Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a></strong></p><p>Spokespersons for police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel said they would not comment on the complaint because of the ongoing investigations.</p><p>The incident took place January 30, 2013, near the corner of East 71st Street and South Eberhart Avenue, according to a police report about the arrest. Evans, a commander who takes pride in patrolling the streets, was on duty in Grand Crossing, a South Side district he commanded at the time.</p><p>Evans spotted Williams with a blue-steel handgun in his pocket and chased the man on foot into an abandoned building, according to the arrest report. At least two other officers joined Evans on the scene.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; complaint, as described by the sources, alleges that a taser gun was pressed into his crotch while Evans held the police pistol in his mouth.</p><p>Reached by WBEZ, Evans declined to comment.</p><p>Vincent L. Jones, an IPRA investigator on the case, declined to comment or provide a copy of the complaint.</p><p>After the arrest, police and fire personnel searched the area but did not find the gun Williams allegedly possessed, according to another source close to the investigation.</p><p>Neither Evans nor the assisting officers filed a tactical response report as required when unusual force is used.</p><p>Williams was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct. Months later, according to court records, officials dropped the charge when Williams demanded a trial.</p><p>Williams could not be reached for comment. Illinois is holding him in Pontiac Correctional Center, a downstate prison, for offenses unrelated to his encounter with Evans. Williams&rsquo; record includes felony convictions for possessing marijuana and violating electronic-monitoring terms.</p><p>As Williams began his prison sentence, IPRA&rsquo;s investigation of Evans continued. Based on the lab results, the agency sent a memo to McCarthy, the police superintendent. The memo, signed by IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando, points to the DNA match and recommends that the police department relieve Evans of his police powers and &ldquo;evaluate&rdquo; the commander&rsquo;s assignment.</p><p>Ando did not answer WBEZ questions about the case. His spokesman said IPRA could not comment because the investigation is ongoing.</p><p>Evans has been the subject of several lawsuits alleging excessive force or other misconduct. Those suits have led to at least <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/abusing-badge#.U9ncP-NdWSp">two settlement payouts</a> by the city.</p><p>Evans is also among 662 Chicago officers with more than 10 misconduct complaints during the five years that ended in May 2006, according to <a href="http://the.invisible.institute/police-data/">long-sought records</a> the city released Tuesday. During that period, Evans had 14 complaints, none of which resulted in discipline.</p><p>Many <a href="http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/08/command-changes.html">rank-and-file officers</a> and some <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140321/chatham/garry-mccarthy-tells-angry-crowd-why-he-changed-3rd-district-commander">community members</a> have called Evans&rsquo; policing style appropriate for the tough districts in which he has served. <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/01/01/superintendent-mccarthy-assists-in-arrest-on-west-side/">McCarthy himself</a> has praised Evans&rsquo; work repeatedly.</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, 31 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581 Exoneree Diaries: "You've got anger issues, Dad." http://www.wbez.org/news/exoneree-diaries-youve-got-anger-issues-dad-110563 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jaques_0_0_0_0_4.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>&ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t received no counseling. People&rsquo;s been telling me that I have anger issues. I don&rsquo;t see it, but you know, of course, you never look at yourself in that manner. But now I&rsquo;m starting to accept it. Maybe a therapist or somebody could sit down and talk with me. But they [the state] don&rsquo;t provide you nothing. They don&rsquo;t provide me no healthcare, no type of therapy, no counseling, nothing.&rdquo;</em></p><p>&ldquo;<strong>DON&rsquo;T EAT</strong> too much candy!&rdquo; Jacques hollered to his work friends, one by one, as they headed home from the medical school.</p><p>It was Halloween, and despite the smile plastered on his face, Jacques was worn out. He had covered someone else&rsquo;s deliveries all day while keeping up on his own.</p><p>His body was tired. His mind was busy. His heart was heavy. And he felt embarrassed and misunderstood.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;ve got anger issues, Dad.&rdquo;</p><p>He didn&rsquo;t know what to do with those words. The warning had come after a Hennessy-fueled night for his son&rsquo;s birthday. Jacques didn&rsquo;t normally drink, but he was trying to fit in and goof off. In jest, he pulled out a knife. But because of his background, it scared his family and friends.</p><p>In prison, Jacques would cry and cry through his anger. He was offered medication. He said no because he saw what those pills did to people.</p><p>Sometimes, he would lose his temper. When he shared a cell with a Muslim in county jail, Jacques told him he was cool with his prayer schedule. But when the guy washed his feet before praying, he wouldn&rsquo;t clean out the sink. The carelessness irritated Jacques.</p><p>&ldquo;You mother ------!&rdquo; Jacques would scream.</p><p>A guy from another cell suggested Jacques&rsquo; cell mate simply wipe his feet before prayer, and that solved it.</p><p>At Stateville, where Jacques did all his time, people trusted him. He would roam around the prison. He showed new correctional officers the ropes. He would find their keys or cash laying about and turn them back in. In the kitchen where he worked, Jacques would give extra taco meat to some guys to get what he wanted. He stock-piled cereal in his cell. It was currency. It was power and control.</p><p>But on the outside, more than 20 years after being wrongly convicted, Jacques alarmed the people around him. When his paranoia met his passionate tone of voice &ndash; which would quickly rise from raspy and soft to frantic and loud &ndash; he would look like he was going to lose it.</p><p>&ldquo;I know he was having a difficult time sleeping,&rdquo; said Rose, Jacques&rsquo; sister, whose upstairs apartment he occupied with their mother. &ldquo;He was afraid that somebody was going to come up to the house. Every night when he goes upstairs, he locks the door. He locks the inside door that goes upstairs.&rdquo;</p><p>Rose had recently seen Jacques outside her home preparing to throw a rock with his left hand and waving his cell phone with his right hand. It was nighttime, and he had tried to call her, but her phone was on silent.</p><p>&ldquo;What are you doing?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s something there!&rdquo; Jacques exclaimed. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s right there. Can you see it?&rdquo;</p><p>A small black mass moved through the gangway. Jacques was convinced it was a possum. His son Richard had once lived at Rose&rsquo;s too, and he told Jacques he once saw a possum just outside the house.</p><p>The innocuous detail roused Jacques&rsquo; fears every time he walked home at night.</p><p>Finally, one night, he saw something dark scamper through the gangway.</p><p>Rose told Jacques that if it was a possum, it wasn&rsquo;t dangerous.</p><p>Jacques asked her to send down one of the dogs to scare it. Rose said no because the possum might have rabies.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought you said it wasn&rsquo;t dangerous!&rdquo; Jacques yelled.</p><p>He called to his mom upstairs to see if she could scare it away.</p><p>Rose went to get a flashlight. She pointed it at the suspicious creature.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a bag dude,&rdquo; she said, laughing and relieved.</p><p>Jacques&rsquo; heart pounded as the garbage bag gulped the air around them and kept moving.</p></p> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/exoneree-diaries-youve-got-anger-issues-dad-110563 Gary looks for answers as slain police officer is remembered http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-looks-answers-slain-police-officer-remembered-110488 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gary police 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Retired Gary police officer Kenneth Shannon has attended a lot of funerals over the years. Some of his fallen comrades died in car accidents and others were killed by gunfire.</p><p>Today, Shannon watched from a balcony seat in a downtown convention center as dozens of law enforcement officers walked passed a closed casket of Gary Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield &ndash; the latest to die in the line of duty.</p><p>&ldquo;He was a very personable person. A well-liked guy,&rdquo; Shannon said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a tragedy that someone would think of doing something like this to an officer.&rdquo;</p><p>That something occurred during the early morning hours of Sunday, July 6th &ndash; the very day Westerfield was to celebrate his 47th birthday.</p><p>The 19-year veteran responded to a call near 26th and Van Buren, only a couple of blocks from Michael Jackson&rsquo;s boyhood home. He was later found dead of a gunshot wound, sitting in his police cruiser about 5:30 a.m.</p><p>The death rocked a city that is no stranger to gun violence. And now some are asking if Gary has enough resources to protect not just its citizens &ndash; but its own cops.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s bad everywhere but the city is basically safe. You&rsquo;ve got a group of thugs that want to do what they want to do and there&rsquo;s nothing you can do about it.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, that doesn&rsquo;t mean the city isn&rsquo;t trying.</p><p>Gary officials want to boost patrols, but with a dwindling tax base there&rsquo;s not much money to go around. The city, once one of the largest in the state, is down to less than 80-thousand residents. It&rsquo;s not even the largest in Lake County, Indiana.</p><p>Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter says he&rsquo;s hoping to divert resources from the county level to help.</p><p>&ldquo;Gary obviously needs the assistance and you see our community being so aggressive with crime. You see it in Chicago too, but I think it goes back to parenting and kids and now we&rsquo;re paying the price for it,&rdquo; Carter said.</p><p>Longtime Gary City Councilman Roy Pratt also says Westerfield&rsquo;s death raises questions about police patrol tactics.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not so much manpower but we&rsquo;ve got to have more on the evening shift. He was alone by himself,&rdquo; Pratt said.</p><p>The City&rsquo;s Mayor, Karen Freeman Wilson, says she&rsquo;ll soon talk with the county sheriff&rsquo;s department about beefing up patrols. And she may ask Indiana Governor Mike Pence to assign state police to help as well.</p><p>She asked twice last year and was rejected both times. Although the Governor&rsquo;s office provided training and offered suggestions on improving the city&rsquo;s 227-member police force.</p><p>&ldquo;Of course today is for the family but tomorrow is really for us to analyze of what&rsquo;s going on and how we can do better,&rdquo; Freeman-Wilson said at today&rsquo;s funeral.</p><p>Some would say it&rsquo;s hard to do much better than an officer like Jeffrey Westerfield.</p><p>Dean Hensley lived on the same block as Westerfield in the Black Oak neighborhood. He says it was important to his fallen friend to live where he worked.</p><p>&ldquo;Jeff didn&rsquo;t have a hard job. Jeff was the kind of guy that could walk into any situation and defuse it in a heartbeat. He could turn a tragedy into a blessing,&rdquo; Hensley said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re just going to have to go on with life and remember him. Now, we have another angel watching over us.&rdquo;</p><p>Officer Jeffrey Westerfield leaves behind four daughters, a son and a fiance.</p><p>A person of interest is being held with criminal charges possibly coming soon.</p></p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-looks-answers-slain-police-officer-remembered-110488 Prison health care worker finds request for medical care after inmate dies http://www.wbez.org/news/prison-health-care-worker-finds-request-medical-care-after-inmate-dies-110470 <p><p>On July 28, 2012, Elawndoe Shannon put in a request for sick call at the prison where he was housed in Lawrence, Illinois. Two days later, he died. The day after his death a nurse in the health care unit finally got his request slip for medical care.</p><p>&ldquo;That means somebody took it and just said, &lsquo;Oh it don&rsquo;t matter, ain&rsquo;t nothing wrong with him.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s crazy!&rdquo; said his sister Jackie Shannon in a recent interview on the front porch of her house on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody&rsquo;s entitled to see a doctor. I don&rsquo;t care, you could live in a hole somewhere. If you come out of that hole and you&rsquo;re sick, you should be able to see a doctor. How many other ones in there that need to see the doctor are not seeing a doctor?&rdquo; she said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157870823&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false" width="736.25px"></iframe></p><p>It&rsquo;s not unusual for Illinois inmates to complain that they have trouble seeing doctors.</p><p>In another story, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-inmate-dies-3-hours-after-seeking-medical-care-110460">WBEZ reported on Anthony Rencher</a> who went to the prison health care unit in the middle of the night where he was observed in the waiting room for an hour before he returned to his cell where he died.</p><p>And then there&rsquo;s the case of Daniel Nevarez.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-07-10%20at%2012.15.56%20AM.png" style="width: 620px;" title="Salvador Nevarez sitting on the front stoop of his home near Midway Airport with his son, Alonzo. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Letter from the grave</span></p><p>Daniel&rsquo;s brother Alonzo Nevarez sits on the front stoop of his dad&rsquo;s bungalow near Midway Airport and reads through a letter his brother Danny wrote from prison.</p><p>&ldquo;We got the letter after Danny passed, and it was, it&rsquo;s him talking from the grave actually,&rdquo; said Nevarez.</p><p>It&rsquo;s in Spanish and Alonzo translates while he reads. &ldquo;The reason for this card, to beg you to help him, he&rsquo;s sick, and the people from this facility, no me quieren, they don&rsquo;t want to help me. These people are not taking me serious. I need help.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157730343&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><blockquote><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/natural-causes-death-illinois-prisons-110455" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank">Man who died of prostate cancer showed symptoms in prison 14 years before death</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>According to medical records, in March of 2010 Nevarez complained to a prison health care worker of pain in his knee. The prison took an X-ray but found nothing. The doctor prescribed some drugs and told Nevarez to exercise as much as possible.</p><p>A year later Nevarez was still complaining about his knee. He was prescribed Motrin and referred to a doctor. The next two appointments with the prison doctor were cancelled, one because of understaffing and another one because there was no security escort.</p><p>&ldquo;He called when he was in prison complaining that they were ignoring him. They wouldn&rsquo;t let him see the doctor,&rdquo; said Nevarez.</p><p>The medical records also show that on several occasions Nevarez refused to see health care workers. In one instance he&rsquo;s quoted as refusing to see the prison doctor because he wants to be immediately taken for surgery on his knee. On another occasion he refuses to pay the $2.00 co-pay and is therefore denied care.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Cancer diagnosis</span></p><p>When the mass on his knee was diagnosed as cancer 15 months after his first complaints, the tumor was hard to miss. It was 5 centimeters by 5 centimeters by 3 centimeters.</p><p>Daniel&rsquo;s father Salvador Nevarez said his son was complaining that the prison wasn&rsquo;t giving him health care,&nbsp; so the family had a lawyer contact the prison.</p><p>Nevarez went to an outside hospital where the tumor was removed. He also went for 33 radiation treatments. A year after his treatments on December 13, 2012, Nevarez once again sought medical care. According to records he appears to have fainted and gotten a cut above his eye when he fell.</p><p>He told doctors his head hurt and he couldn&rsquo;t remember things. A doctor at the facility seems to have decided Nevarez was lying in an attempt to get drugs. The way it&rsquo;s recorded in the medical record is: &ldquo;appears to be med seeking.&rdquo;</p><p>Nevarez was sent back to his cell. He fell into a coma. A CT scan of his head was taken and it showed he had two large, dense brain tumors and swelling in his brain. He died that day at the age of 31.</p><p>The autopsy states, &ldquo;Given the lack of follow up care and systemic chemotherapy for this patient, in combination with with the poor prognosis in general for such a tumor, it is not surprising that he developed widespread metastases a year after diagnosis.&rdquo;</p><p>In the death review the department handed over to WBEZ, where it asks, &lsquo;Was an earlier intervention possible?&rsquo; the answer is redacted. On the non-redacted version given to the family, it says the cancer diagnosis could have been made sooner, though it says it was, &ldquo;probably too late for significant intervention.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Seeing a doctor &#39;can take months&#39;</span></p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a symptom of an overloaded system that it takes forever to get over to a doctor,&rdquo; said Alan Mills, an attorney specializing in prison litigation. &ldquo;And then once you&rsquo;re there you don&rsquo;t see the doctor right away, you go through two or three screening processes before you finally get to see a doctor. So that can take months.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There are red flags all over the place,&rdquo; said Mills. &ldquo;But without the details, you have to get beyond just saying, &lsquo;well this person died too soon.&rsquo; You don&rsquo;t know that unless a doctor looks at the medical records and says, &lsquo;no this test was done or this test wasn&rsquo;t done, this is what the follow should have been and it wasn&rsquo;t.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>That work is now being done by a doctor appointed by a federal judge as part of the class action suit Mills filed over health care.</p><p>The State of Illinois pays a company called Wexford Health Sources more than $100 million a year to provide health care in the prisons. Wexford did not return repeated calls for comment over the last two weeks. That&rsquo;s just the most recent refusal&mdash;WBEZ has had an ongoing request for an interview with the company for almost two years.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-07-10%20at%2012.16.06%20AM.png" style="width: 620px;" title="Attorney Alan Mills says a review of health care in the Illinois Department of Corrections by outside medical experts will answer a lot of questions. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /></div><p>Attorney Alan Mills has studied the contract between Wexford and the state.</p><p>&ldquo;Wexford gets paid the same amount whether they provide a lot of care or a little care, so therefore, every time they provide care their stockholders lose money. So that is a fine model, but you have to have some control to make sure that they&rsquo;re actually providing the care that you&rsquo;re contracted to giving them. Nobody in the state of Illinois regularly audits the Wexford contract, either financially, or more importantly, a health audit to see what the outcomes are that we&rsquo;re getting,&rdquo; said Mills.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">IDOC won&#39;t discuss Mills</span></p><p>Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer won&rsquo;t discuss issues raised by Mills. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to discuss anything that Alan Mills says because Alan Mills has been proven to state things that are false, so I&rsquo;m going to respectfully decline to include any information coming from Alan Mills in this interview. Anybody else you want to talk about, fine, not him,&rdquo; said Shaer.</p><p>The medical director who oversees more than $100 million Illinois pays Wexford for medical care refused to speak to WBEZ.</p><p>WBEZ asked Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s office about the medical director&rsquo;s refusal to discuss medical care. After an initial conversation the governor&rsquo;s office simply ignored follow-up calls and emails from WBEZ.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Illinois prisons have low death rates compared to other prisons</span></p><p>Shaer says focussing on just a few cases does not give an accurate picture of health care in the department. He points to Bureau of Justice statistics showing Illinois&rsquo; prison system has one of the lowest death rates in the country compared to other prison systems.</p><p>&ldquo;We have pretty high standards here. We do the best we can within our ability to monitor that and if we felt that our ability wasn&rsquo;t adequate, we would find a way to address that,&rdquo; said Shaer.</p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24.44444465637207px; line-height: 22px;">Independent experts should provide some answers soon</span></p><p>&ldquo;I see enough things that tell me there are really some warning signs here. I mean there are problems,&rdquo; said State Rep. Greg Harris.</p><p>Harris held committee hearings last year to dig into allegations of poor care.</p><p>&ldquo;You know in the testimony, in the contacts from individual families, in the lawsuits that have been settled and paid by the state for deaths that should have been preventable, I know there are things that we should have done that we did not do and that there are probably things that we ought to be doing better now,&rdquo; said Harris.</p><p>As a result of the hearings, Harris concluded that no one in Illinois is paying close attention to the $100 million the state pays Wexford every year. Harris brought in the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to audit health care, both the finances, and the health outcomes.</p><p>He says independent experts who know how to evaluate health care in a prison setting are looking at the system and should provide some answers soon. That audit is in addition to a federal court monitor who is also evaluating Illinois&rsquo; prison health care system in response to complaints.</p></p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prison-health-care-worker-finds-request-medical-care-after-inmate-dies-110470