WBEZ | Anita Alvarez http://www.wbez.org/tags/anita-alvarez Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cook County Democrats choose not to endorse in two big races http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-democrats-choose-not-endorse-two-big-races-112687 <p><p>Anybody who thinks the old way of Chicago politics is fading, hasn&rsquo;t been by the Erie Cafe this week.</p><p>All day Tuesday, and most of the day Wednesday, 80 Cook County Democratic heavyweights &mdash; including familiar names like Burke, Madigan and Berrios &mdash; came together to eat donuts, drink coffee and battle it out over which candidates deserve the party&rsquo;s endorsement&nbsp;for the upcoming March 2016 primary.</p><p>This time around, the party decided not to endorse in two big races: Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney and the U.S. Senate, currently occupied by Republican Senator Mark Kirk.</p><p>The committeemen set up shop in an actual back room at the Erie Cafe, after many years at Hotel Allegro &mdash; word is, the old spot raised its rates. The leaders of the party sit at a table covered with a white tablecloth, with procedural books on Robert&rsquo;s Rules of Order and the Chicago election code in arm&rsquo;s reach.</p><p>The room was smoke free, though someone passed around wrapped cigars at one point.</p><p>Candidates sit outside the meeting room like students waiting outside the principal&rsquo;s office. They&rsquo;re called to the podium one by one, where they stump for jobs like Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner.</p><p>The names on this years ballot range from the not-very-well known, like Wallace Davis III, to the incredibly familiar, like former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who is now running for a two-year term as a water district commissioner.</p><p>A few committeemen stood up to praise Stroger &mdash; Alderman Walter Burnett said Stroger had received a &ldquo;bum wrap and deserves another opportunity&rdquo; &mdash; but in the end, the party decided to endorse tech entrepreneur Tom Greenhaw instead.</p><p>It&rsquo;s no secret that a lot of committeemen already know who they&rsquo;ll back before they walk into the slating meeting, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean the candidates don&rsquo;t take the process seriously.</p><p>On Tuesday, one candidate arrived at the podium, red in the face with nerves. Another brought up a bright magenta note card with a huge smiley face on it, to correct what she called her &ldquo;Resting B-face. I have a not-friendly resting face.&rdquo;</p><p>But a lot of the real action happens after the speeches, behind a thick wooden door, where committeemen defend their picks to their colleagues. One aldermen left Tuesday&rsquo;s closed session muttering under his breath that he fought like hell.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219999051&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>This year, much of the back and forth was about the candidates for Cook County&rsquo;s State&rsquo;s Attorney and U.S. Senate. While there are four candidates for State&rsquo;s Attorney, committeemen said the room was split between incumbent Anita Alvarez and Kim Foxx, former Chief of Staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.</p><p>In the Senate race, five candidates were vying for the party&rsquo;s endorsement. U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth tried to convince members that she was their best hope at unseating Republican Senator Mark Kirk.</p><p>&ldquo;I take a lot of his positives off the table and focus it on the issues. He&rsquo;s not going to be able to rest on his military record with me,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not gonna be able to play the sympathy vote and say &lsquo;you know, because I recovered from my illness, I understand better what it&rsquo;s like for people to recover.&rsquo; Well, I can talk about recovery and I can say then, &lsquo;why do you want to cut back on Medicaid and Medicare?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Another familiar candidate, Andrea Zopp, former head of the Chicago Urban League, told committeemen that she had the best chance of reaching voters all across the state.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m the only candidate with the resources that will be there to bring out minority voters, to get them excited into this race we need them for all of our ticket,&rdquo; Zopp said.</p><p>But in the end, the party decided not to endorse anyone in the Senate race. A party spokesman said that&rsquo;s become more common lately, as more and more candidates figure out the best ways to lobby committeemen before the meetings begin.</p><p>But one Chicago ward committeeman said he&rsquo;s concerned over the trouble this could cause for Democratic fundraising for the upcoming primary, as he said there is a very large &ldquo;elephant in the room&rdquo; through all of these election discussions: The seemingly infinite financial resources of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Full Cook County Democratic Party Slating</span></p><p><strong>For President of the United States</strong>: the party endorsed Hillary Clinton</p><p><strong>For Illinois State Comptroller</strong>: the party endorsed Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza</p><p><strong>U.S. Senate</strong>: No endorsement, party votes in favor of open primary</p><p><strong>Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney</strong>: No endorsement, party votes in favor of open primary</p><p><strong>Clerk of the Circuit Court: </strong>the party endorsed incumbent Dorothy Brown</p><p><strong>Recorder of Deeds:</strong> the party endorsed incumbent Karen Yarborough</p><p><strong>Metropolitan Water Reclamation District</strong>: the party endorsed Barbara McGowan, Mariyana Spyropoulos and Josina Morita for six-year terms, and Tom Greenhaw for a two-year term.</p><p><strong>Appellate Court: </strong>the party endorsed Justice Bertina Lampkin and Judge Eileen O&rsquo;Neill Burke. Those selected as alternates were: Associate Judge William Boyd, Judge Raul Vega and Associate Judge Leonard Murray.</p><p><strong>Cook County Board of Review, 2nd District: </strong>the party endorsed Incumbent Commissioner Michael Cabonargi</p><p><strong>Circuit Court Judge</strong>: the party endorsed Judge Alison Conlon, Judge Daniel Patrick Duffy, Judge Rossana Fernandez, Judge Alexandra Gillespie, Maureen O&rsquo;Donoghue Hannon, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr., Brendan O&rsquo;Brien and Judge Devlin Joseph Schoop. Selected as alternates were: Fredrick Bates, Sean Chaudhuri, Patrick Heneghan, Nichole Patton and Peter Michael Gonzalez.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her</em> <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian"><em>@laurenchooljian.</em></a></p></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-democrats-choose-not-endorse-two-big-races-112687 Cook County prosecutor to try new approach to drug crimes http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-prosecutor-try-new-approach-drug-crimes-111905 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/anitaalvarez.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County State&#39;s Attorney says her office won&#39;t prosecute most misdemeanor marijuana cases and will steer many facing felony drug charges into treatment rather than locking them up &mdash; a policy shift she says will save the county that includes Chicago the money it costs to keep offenders in jail.</p><p>Anita Alvarez said Monday she is launching the new policy because locking people up on low-level drug charges &quot;simply isn&#39;t working.&quot;</p><p>Alvarez says offenders facing low level drug charges will be routed to treatment programs almost immediately after they are arrested. And she says that by reducing the number of days people spend in jail, those arrested may be able to keep their jobs and homes that they could otherwise lose if they&#39;re locked up.</p><p>The alternative program will be for non-violent individuals charged with Class 4 felony possession of a controlled substance. It will attempt to link repeat offenders with social service agencies for treatment.</p><p>Alvarez&#39; office says Class 4 felony drug possession cases accounted for 25 percent of all felony cases in Cook County last year. On top of that, there were 15,000 misdemeanor cases for possession of small amounts of cannabis.</p></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 08:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-prosecutor-try-new-approach-drug-crimes-111905 Indicted police commander suspended from duty 11 times, records show http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Evans 1tightcrop_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated on September 18 at 5:58 p.m.</em></p><p>Cook County prosecutors on Thursday unveiled an indictment of a Chicago police commander who allegedly rammed his pistol into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth. A grand jury has charged Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans did not speak during the hearing, which took place at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building and lasted about 10 minutes.</p><p>On the way out of the courthouse, about two dozen supporters tightly surrounded him to shield him from news reporters and cameras. Those supporters, including Chicago police officers, stuck with him all the way to a waiting SUV that carried him away.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans will plead &ldquo;not guilty,&rdquo; according to his attorney, Laura J. Morask. &ldquo;Cmdr. Evans will not only be exonerated but vindicated,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It was a rush to judgment and I think you&rsquo;ll see that.&rdquo;</p><p>City records, meanwhile, show that Evans has been suspended from duty at least 11 times during his 28 years in the police department. Most of the suspensions took place during the first decade of his career, when he worked as a South Side patrol officer, according to the records, obtained by WBEZ through Freedom of Information Act requests.</p><p dir="ltr">The alleged infractions ranged from a missed court appearance to an off-duty &ldquo;domestic altercation.&rdquo; The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, stemmed from excessive-force accusations.</p><p>One of those cases began in 1990, when Evans was assigned to the Gresham police district. A South Side mother allegedly ran afoul of Jackson Park Hospital personnel when she tried to visit her daughter, who was getting treated there after a sexual assault, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans helped remove the mother from the hospital. Outside the facility, he allegedly slammed her against police vehicles and delivered punches that left her with a black eye and other injuries.</p><p>Evans later characterized the mother as intoxicated and uncooperative and denied the allegations, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" style="text-align: center; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.63636302948px; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p dir="ltr">The other case began in 1994, when Evans suspected a South Side man stole property from the officer&rsquo;s car trunk. Evans, who was off duty, allegedly handcuffed the man, by an ankle and wrist, to a porch rail and beat him with his handgun.</p><p dir="ltr">The encounter left the man with a three-inch head gash and a cerebral concussion, according to the records. Evans denied using excessive force and claimed the man was resisting arrest.</p><p dir="ltr">Those disciplinary actions are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded since he joined the department in 1986. A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">tallied 45 filed through 2008</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2009, according to the records obtained through the FOIA requests, the city has received at least seven more excessive-force complaints against Evans, lifting the total to at least 52. City investigations have concluded that nearly all were &ldquo;not sustained&rdquo; or &ldquo;unfounded.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But six federal lawsuits alleging Evans brutality have led to five-figure city settlements. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">WBEZ review of court filings and city records</a>. Each settlement specifies that the defendants deny wrongdoing.</p><p>Morask, Evans&rsquo; attorney, called the complaints and settlements irrelevant to the criminal proceeding. &ldquo;The only thing that&rsquo;s relevant is what&rsquo;s in this indictment,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;Nobody likes to be arrested,&rdquo; Morask said, referring to the people who have accused Evans of using excessive force. &ldquo;Complaints are just that. They are just complaints.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other police-brutality lawsuits naming Evans as a defendant are pending. In two, the defendants deny the allegations, according to city filings.</p><p dir="ltr">The third pending lawsuit was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776">brought last week by Rickey J. Williams</a>, a South Side man whose allegations led to the criminal charges, both felonies.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans allegedly put the barrel of his service weapon into Williams&rsquo; mouth on January 30, 2013. Evans also allegedly pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">DNA evidence prompted the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority to&nbsp;recommend in April that Evans be relieved of his police powers. WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">revealed the Williams case in July</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">But police Supt. Garry McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><p>After Thursday&#39;s hearing, Morask criticized both IPRA and Alvarez&rsquo;s office. She said neither has tried to interview Evans about Williams&rsquo; accusation.</p><p>&ldquo;In my experience,&rdquo; said Morask, who worked for years in the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office, &ldquo;something you always do before a case is charged is you ask the suspect their side of the story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 Lawsuit: Police commander's alleged battery amounted to 'torture' http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Williams presser 3 colors CROP scaled.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A man whose brutality complaint led to felony charges against a Chicago police commander took his allegations to federal court Tuesday. Rickey J. Williams, 24, filed a lawsuit that accuses Glenn Evans of &ldquo;torture&rdquo; and says Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration condoned it.</p><p>The alleged abuse took place after Evans chased Williams into an abandoned South Side building on January 30, 2013. Evans, according to the suit,&nbsp;put a taser to Williams&rsquo;&nbsp;crotch, threatened his life, and inserted his police pistol where it did not belong.</p><p>&ldquo;They took the gun and put it down my throat,&rdquo; Williams says in a video provided by his legal team. &ldquo;They should get punished.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams attended a Tuesday news conference to announce his suit but did not speak.</p><p>The suit cites a lab test that showed Williams&rsquo; DNA on Evans&rsquo; gun. WBEZ revealed that test and an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that the commander be relieved of police powers.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank"><strong>Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>Emanuel, who was briefed on the recommendation, and police Supt. Garry McCarthy&nbsp;lauded Evans&rsquo; efforts against crime and left the commander in his post until the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office charged him on August 27 with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura J. Morask, did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit. After the charges were filed, she called the criminal investigation &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and said Evans&rsquo; actions were just and lawful.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; attorney, Antonio Romanucci, disputed a claim in a police report that the chase began after Evans&rsquo; spotted Williams holding a gun. Williams was simply standing at a bus stop, &ldquo;not doing anything,&rdquo; Romanucci said.</p><p>Inside the building, according to the lawsuit, Williams did not threaten harm to the commander or anyone else.</p><p>Police reports from the incident did not state that Williams resisted arrest, Cook County prosecutors said after charging Evans.</p><p>The commander &ldquo;battered&rdquo; Williams and threw him to the floor, the lawsuit says.</p><p>&ldquo;More than five&rdquo; officers were present during the alleged abuse, Romanucci said. &ldquo;A couple were holding [Williams] down.&rdquo;</p><p>The suit claims that the city has a &ldquo;widespread practice of failing to discipline&rdquo; officers for excessive force. That practice amounts to a &ldquo;de facto policy,&rdquo; according to the&nbsp;suit, and encourages cops to &ldquo;engage in misconduct with impunity and without fear of official consequences.&rdquo; The misconduct includes &ldquo;coercive interrogation techniques and torture on suspects.&rdquo;</p><p>The lawsuit does not specify an amount of monetary damages sought. Romanucci said the suit&rsquo;s&nbsp;aims extend beyond money and include changing city policies.</p><p>&ldquo;When you have a commander setting the example for [the] rank and file &mdash; that it&rsquo;s OK to do this in order to coerce confessions &mdash; and then, when IPRA recommends discipline, and no discipline is taken, it sends the clearest message across the board to the city of Chicago police officers that [brutality] is OK,&rdquo;&nbsp;Romanucci said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/166113811&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Emanuel, in a written statement about the lawsuit, said Evans&rsquo; alleged actions, if they occurred, are &ldquo;deeply disturbing&rdquo; and &ldquo;have no place in our city and are not reflective of the actions and values of the men and women who serve in the Chicago Police Department.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Our policing philosophy is rooted in community policing and fostering stronger relationships with residents and communities, because we all have a role to play in the safety of our city,&rdquo; Emanuel&rsquo;s statement added.</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s role includes hiring, firing and supervising the city&rsquo;s&nbsp;police superintendent.</p><p>A statement from McCarthy about the lawsuit said &ldquo;personnel decisions for exempt-rank officers in the department are mine, and mine alone, whether it&rsquo;s a commander, a deputy chief or a chief.&rdquo;</p><p>At a news conference last week, WBEZ asked Emanuel how he planned to hold McCarthy accountable for promoting Evans to commander and later transferring him to the police district with the city&rsquo;s most homicides&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;despite dozens of excessive-force complaints against him over the years. The mayor responded that the public should &ldquo;hold all of us accountable.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel then changed the subject to this year&rsquo;s criminal probe of Evans. &ldquo;There were questions that had not been investigated,&rdquo; the mayor said. &ldquo;Once that conclusion was made and the investigation was concluded, actions were taken.&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> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776 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 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 Cook County prosecutors shave time off sentences for El Rukn hitmen http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-prosecutors-shave-time-sentences-el-rukn-hitmen-109230 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Nathson Fields.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In the 1980s Nathson Fields was an El Rukn gang member. He was convicted of a double murder, but it was thrown out when the judge in the case, Thomas Maloney, was convicted of taking bribes. In his retrial Fields was found not guilty.</p><p>Cook County Judge Paul Biebel granted Fields a certificate of innocence but the State&rsquo;s attorney&rsquo;s office under Anita Alvarez appealed that and won, leading to a second petition for a certificate of innocence.&nbsp; Prosecutors are fighting that petition in court.</p><p>During a weeks-long hearing that ended Friday afternoon, two El Rukn gang members testified that Fields did indeed commit the murders. But Earl Hawkins and Derrick Kees aren&rsquo;t the most credible witnesses. Each has participated in more than a dozen murders, according to attorneys and court transcripts.</p><p>Fields&rsquo; attorneys say they&rsquo;ve never heard of a case of prosecutors shaving the sentences of murderers in exchange for testimony in a civil matter. Fields is suing the City of Chicago and a certificate of innocence would help that. Judge Biebel says he&rsquo;ll have a decision on the request for a certificate of innocence by the end of February.</p></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-prosecutors-shave-time-sentences-el-rukn-hitmen-109230 In Cook County, you can be found not guilty, and still go back to jail http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-you-can-be-found-not-guilty-and-still-go-back-jail-108758 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Cook County Jail.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F112453764" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-5e307626-523e-fed3-04c3-447ac1fc4ec8">Brian Otero spent nearly two years in Cook County Jail waiting to go to trial for a burglary. The jury found him not guilty, but he didn&rsquo;t get to leave the courtroom like they do on TV. No, he was brought back into the Cook County Jail to be &ldquo;processed&rdquo; out. He was put in a small cell just off the front of the courtroom, to eventually be brought back into the jail.</p><p dir="ltr">Now remember, at this point, there are no charges against Otero, yet he&rsquo;s being detained against his will because that&rsquo;s just how we&rsquo;ve always done it in Cook County. Defendants who have been held in jail awaiting trial are brought back into the jail. They can be handcuffed, searched, and locked back up in their cell even though there are no charges against them.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Sheriff Tom Dart and county officials are doing little to change the seemingly unconstitutional practice and that could cost taxpayers millions</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>&quot;Free&quot; man</strong></p><p dir="ltr">On his way back into the jail after acquittal, Otero was put in a holding cell with a number of other inmates and three men attacked him.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They approached me and asked me, &lsquo;Did you win your case, are you going home today?&rsquo;&rdquo; Otero said in an interview in his attorney&#39;s Loop law office. &ldquo;Upon me saying &lsquo;yes&rsquo; one of them swung at me and when he swung at me the other two grabbed me and they started hitting me all over my body.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Otero says two of his friends were in the same bullpen, and they pulled his attackers off but he had a busted lip and a sprained hand.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;To this day I got a torn ligament in my hand, but I did not seek or ask for no medical attention. &nbsp;I just let it be because I was just trying to hurry up and get out as fast as I can,&rdquo; said Otero.</p><p dir="ltr">Otero was eventually brought back to his cell, to wait. Ten hours after he was acquitted he was finally released from the jail.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When I walked out the front gate from division 5 onto the streets, it was 4 o&rsquo;clock in the morning.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Presumed innocent</strong></p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Mr Otero, when he walks into that trial is assumed innocent, right? &nbsp;And then he is found innocent, so the system ought to be better prepared to do this,&rdquo; says Otero&rsquo;s attorney Mike Cherry.</p><p dir="ltr">Cherry is suing Cook County and Sheriff Tom Dart on behalf of Brian Otero and other detainees. He says he thinks the practice of jailing people when they&rsquo;ve been found not guilty would offend most Americans&rsquo; sense of justice. On top of that, he says, it doesn&rsquo;t happen to people with money. It happens mostly to poor people, people who were in jail before trial because they couldn&rsquo;t afford to post bond.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Basically the lawsuit challenges as unconstitutional this process that happened, because it denies him his freedom,&rdquo; says Cherry. He says when Otero was acquitted he should have been released.</p><p dir="ltr">Sheriff Tom Dart, who runs the jail, says he wishes that were case too.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re trying to get people out of the jail as quickly as possible for a myriad of reasons, whether it&#39;s just general overcrowding issues, potential liability issues, everything,&rdquo; Dart said in an interview with WBEZ in May of this year.</p><p dir="ltr">The sheriff didn&rsquo;t have a solution for the problem then, but said,&rdquo;I do think that probably in the next few weeks some of these limited cases, the limited ones, we probably can come up with some things, so if you circle back, you know in the next couple weeks, we could have something on some of them.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">I circled back, and I circled back again. Weeks turned into months and so far the grand solution is riding on two personal computers in the basement of the courthouse in north suburban Skokie.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Skokie pilot program</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Cook County has one jail but a number of courthouses, so every morning buses leave the jail at 26th and California on the city&rsquo;s Southwest Side, filled with detainees who have hearings at courthouses around the county. In Skokie, a bus from the jail drives into a secure garage in the basement. The detainees are nearly silent as they file two by two, handcuffed together, off the bus and past an officer who checks them in.</p><p dir="ltr">The new computers here emit beeping sounds every time an officer scans a detainee&#39;s I.D. card. The two computers are the start of a plan to finally digitize some of the paperwork in the jail, and a spokeswoman for Dart say it&rsquo;s possible that the update could potentially, one day, possibly allow people to be immediately released from courtrooms when they&rsquo;re acquitted.</p><p dir="ltr">But I ask Kelly Jackson, the chief of the civil division for Sheriff Dart, how long that will take?</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t even answer that for you. I have no idea,&rdquo; Jackson said. &ldquo;Skokie&rsquo;s operating right now but it&rsquo;s the only one of the 17 court facilities that are doing that. There would be no way to estimate if we could, when we&rsquo;ll finish rolling it out everywhere, and where our legal department and the state&rsquo;s attorneys office will take us with that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">A spokeswoman for Dart says starting this week they&rsquo;re going to allow people found not guilty to leave from the Skokie courthouse. They still won&rsquo;t be walking right out of the courtroom, but at least they won&rsquo;t have to go back on the bus to the jail at 26th and California. It&rsquo;s a start.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>A court system stuck in past</strong></p><p dir="ltr">But even if the sheriff&rsquo;s office makes the technological leap to the 1990s in all 17 courthouses, the rest of the Cook County court system under Clerk of Courts Dorothy Brown is pretty solidly stuck in the 70s. The whole court system is paper and carbon copies. That presents a problem for Lt. Charles Luna when he&rsquo;s supposed to release someone from the jail.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re still using carbon paper in the courts, so the clerks actually write on the mittimuses that are carbon paper, actually, the duplicates, so in order to transfer the records to the jail, it&rsquo;s actually in triplicate I believe, because one is kept in the court in the clerk&rsquo;s office and then two are sent to the jail for our purposes,&rdquo; says Luna. Whatever the case, it&rsquo;s a lot of paper and before Luna lets an inmate out of the jail he has to organize and verify the inmate&rsquo;s entire court file, which can be several inches thick with those carbon copies.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;At times it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack,&rdquo; Luna said.</p><p dir="ltr">But that doesn&rsquo;t do anything to sway attorney Mike Cherry, who is suing Cook County on behalf of Brian Otero, the guy at the beginning of the story who was found not guilty and then taken back into the jail where he was assaulted. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have one ounce of pity when a system says I&rsquo;ve got to take advantage of someone because it&rsquo;s too complicated for me to protect the innocent. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s crazy,&rdquo; &nbsp;says Cherry. It&rsquo;s also potentially very costly.</p><p dir="ltr">Ten years ago Los Angeles County had to pay out $27 million to people who&#39;d been held in the jail after they were acquitted.</p><p dir="ltr">While it&rsquo;s Sheriff Dart who is detaining people, it&rsquo;s Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez who tells Dart what he needs to do to comply with the constitution. For two weeks Alvarez&rsquo;s office has failed to provide WBEZ with any explanation as to whether the current practices are constitutional, or what her office is doing to ensure Cook County doesn&rsquo;t have to pay out millions in settlements arising from this practice of detaining people after they&rsquo;ve been found not guilty.</p><p dir="ltr">Attorney Mike Cherry says he hopes his lawsuit is expensive enough that it finally forces the county to do something.</p></p> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-you-can-be-found-not-guilty-and-still-go-back-jail-108758 After a dark period, survivor of acid attack finds strength to go on http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/after-dark-period-survivor-acid-attack-finds-strength-go-108706 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/esperanza and anita.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In 2008, Hope Peralta was the victim of a brutal acid attack in Chicago&rsquo;s Logan Square neighborhood.</p><p>Her attackers poured sulfuric acid on her and beat her with a baseball bat. Peralta underwent more than 20 skin-graft surgeries to repair the damage, and was left with disfiguring burns.</p><p>The attack was orchestrated by Ofelia Garcia and her former daughter-in-law, Maria Olvera-Garcia, who recruited some teens to attack Peralta. Both of the women had been previously involved with Peralta&rsquo;s boyfriend.</p><p>In 2010, a jury convicted the women, who are serving lengthy prison sentences.&nbsp;</p><p>Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez, whose office prosecuted the case, joined Hope in the Chicago StoryCorps booth to talk about the attack and her difficult road to recovery. Hope spent four months in the hospital after the attack.</p><p><strong>Anita:</strong> You were actually put into a coma.</p><p><strong>Hope:</strong> Induced coma, because the doctor says that the pain, it&rsquo;s very, very painful ... no human can take it.</p><p><strong>Anita</strong>: What were your initial feelings once you came to?</p><p><strong>Hope:</strong> When I came out of the coma, I just remembered what happened, but I didn&rsquo;t know the damage that was done. My family covered every single mirror, even in the bathroom in the hospital, so I didn&rsquo;t know exactly how (horrifying) I&rsquo;d look, until I got home and saw the mirror in the bathroom.&nbsp;</p><p>Hope Peralta said she fell into a deep depression and attempted suicide twice. Click on the audio above to hear how she found the strength to keep going.</p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: At the time of the attack, Peralta was known as Esperanza Medina. She&#39;s now using her maiden name, and has changed her first name to its English equivalent: Hope.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/after-dark-period-survivor-acid-attack-finds-strength-go-108706