WBEZ | abuse http://www.wbez.org/tags/abuse Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Hammond mayor rejects comparisons to Ferguson http://www.wbez.org/news/hammond-mayor-rejects-comparisons-ferguson-110916 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hammond.png" alt="" /><p><p>The breakfast was the same, but the conversation among regulars at Frankie&rsquo;s Restaurant in Hammond, Ind. yesterday morning was a little livelier than usual.</p><p>Many, like Michael Bullock and John Gunn, were buzzing&nbsp;about a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsW-QCxXkQA">video that has gone viral on YouTube</a> and attracted national media attention.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XsW-QCxXkQA?rel=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;He just mentioned the video,&rdquo; the 52-year-old Bullock said as I joined them at their table.</p><p>The video, recorded from the back seat by the driver&#39;s 14-year-old son, captured a Sept. 24 confrontation between the police and two adults in the car. It&rsquo;s now the basis of a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court against several officers and the city of Hammond.</p><p>After police pulled over the driver, Lisa Mahone, for a minor seatbelt violation officers demanded that passenger Jamal Jones produce identification &mdash; something the lawsuit says Jones did not have with him.</p><p>After several tense minutes, the video shows an officer smashing the front passenger-side window with a club, showering shards of glass on the vehicle&#39;s four occupants, including Mahone&#39;s son and daughter in the back seat. An officer then stuns Jones with a taser before dragging him out and arresting him.</p><p>The incident happened on 169th Street and Cline Avenue, very close to Frankie&rsquo;s Restaurant.</p><p>From what he&rsquo;s seen of the video, John Gunn believes the officers overstepped their bounds.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see the justification for knocking the window out,&rdquo; Gunn, 62, said. And they got a kid in the back seat. Now, how does that affect the kids?&rdquo;</p><p>Hammond&nbsp;police&nbsp;spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda issued an earlier statement saying Jones had refused to comply with orders to get out of the car and that officers were concerned for their safety after seeing him &quot;repeatedly reach towards the rear seats of the vehicle.&quot;</p><p>Neither Gunn nor Bullock say they&rsquo;ve had a bad experience with Hammond police. But Bullock says he makes sure to cooperate when he&rsquo;s pulled over. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When they get my license and they see that I&rsquo;m 6&rsquo;6&rdquo; and weigh over 300 pounds that in itself creates an issue,&rdquo; Bullock said. &ldquo;I see it in their eyes that it becomes an issue so I&rsquo;ve personally stepped back from not presenting any drama.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, Bullock says he&rsquo;s not surprised that a racially-charged police incident occurred in Northwest Indiana.</p><p>&ldquo;This is one of the most segregated areas in the country. You&rsquo;ve got whites in their area, blacks in their area, Latinos in their area and there&rsquo;s no really intermingling,&rdquo; Bullock said.</p><p>But Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. doesn&rsquo;t see his city the same way Bullock does. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Hammond&rsquo;s a very diverse city. The people that live in Hammond know that it&rsquo;s a diverse city and they&rsquo;re comfortable with it,&rdquo; McDermott told WBEZ on Wednesday afternoon at his City Hall office.</p><p>Since the incident came to light, McDermott&rsquo;s been fending off comparisons by the national media and others to what happened in Ferguson, Missouri two months ago.</p><p>&ldquo;They want this to be another Ferguson but it&rsquo;s not, and it&rsquo;s not going to be,&rdquo; McDermott, who is also an attorney, said.</p><p>McDermott says the city&rsquo;s 211 member police department reflects the 80-thousand residents, where nearly half are white, 30 percent Latino and a quarter black.</p><p>&ldquo;Around 25 percent of our officers are either Hispanic or African-American. It&rsquo;s important for the police department to reflect the community,&rdquo; McDermott said.</p><p>The Mayor defends the actions of his officers, saying the cell phone video shot by the 14 year old son of Lisa Mahone doesn&rsquo;t tell the whole story.</p><p>&ldquo;The video that they&rsquo;ve seen is 3 minutes long, and it&rsquo;s minutes 11, 12 and 13 of a 13 minute traffic stop,&rdquo; McDermott said. &ldquo;A lot of stuff happened that led up to this video.&rdquo;</p><p>Apparently a longer video was recorded from the officers&rsquo; squad car, but the city has yet to release it.</p><p>McDermott says that video shows officers repeatedly asking Jones to exit the vehicle, but he refuses and fails to show identification.</p><p>&ldquo;999 times out of 1,000, the person is going to show identification. This didn&rsquo;t happen in this case and things escalated more than I wish it would have,&rdquo; McDermott said.</p><p>But some Hammond residents sympathize with the officers. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When a police officer stops you and asks you for something, I just believe that you should comply. Don&rsquo;t be suspicious, don&rsquo;t provoke any other actions,&rdquo; said longtime Hammond resident Nilda Rivera.</p><p>Rivera, 46, says she&rsquo;s always felt safe and has never had issues with police. As for the video that&rsquo;s captured the nation&rsquo;s attention, she wants to know why it exists at all.</p><p>&ldquo;That kind of makes you wonder what is this child is being told about the police? Are they being forced to think the worse thing is going to happen and in that respect is that why they were video taping,&rdquo; Rivera said.</p><p>But in the wake of other high-profile racially charged incidents, is it possible the cops may have also assumed the worst about the passengers in the car?</p><p>Michael McCafferty is a one-time Chicago police officer who now teaches law and criminal justice at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond. He also is chair of the college&rsquo;s Public Safety Institute.</p><p>&ldquo;Police are very sensitive to what&rsquo;s occurring. I think officers are more likely to try to avoid these incidents right now,&rdquo; McCafferty said. &ldquo;These videos can go viral. You can go to work in the morning as a patrol officer and then being sued or facing charges or losing your job that afternoon.&rdquo;</p><p>According to the lawsuit, Jones had surrendered his driver&#39;s license after being stopped for not paying his insurance and instead tried to show the officers a ticket with his information on it. The lawsuit says the officers rejected the ticket, but police said Jones had refused to hand it over.</p><p>The complaint alleges officers shocked Jones a second time after removing him from the car, and accuses them of excessive force, false arrest, assault and battery and other charges. It seeks unspecified damages.</p><p>The lawsuit mentions that two of the officers had been sued in the past for excessive force or unlawful arrest. Court records indicate an undisclosed settlement in one of the cases.</p><p>As of now, Patrick Vicari and Charles Turner, the two Hammond officers named in the lawsuit remain on active duty.</p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/mikepuentenews">@MikePuenteNews</a> and on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/WBEZ-Northwest-Indiana-Bureau/701257506570573">WBEZ&rsquo;s NWI Bureau Facebook page</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 07:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hammond-mayor-rejects-comparisons-ferguson-110916 Chicago-area Boy Scouts 'deeply regret' abuse http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-area-boy-scouts-deeply-regret-abuse-104177 <p><p>The head of the Chicago-area Boy Scouts of America council is apologizing for the sexual abuse of scouts.</p><p>CEO Charles Dobbins says he hasn&#39;t seen a lawsuit filed Tuesday accusing his group and the national organization of failing to protect children from a convicted pedophile.</p><p>The suit was filed in Cook County on behalf of a former scout who said he was molested by Thomas Hacker in 1985.</p><p>New documents show Hacker was banned from scouting in Indiana in 1970 for sexually assaulting boys but later became an Illinois scoutmaster and went on to molest more boys.</p><p>Attorney Christopher Hurley, who represents the anonymous scout, said the Boy Scout organization needs a better system to protect children.</p><p>&ldquo;[Hacker] was able to move from one boy scout local to another without detection,&rdquo; Hurley said. &ldquo;The method the Boy Scouts set up to prevent this type of movement was completely inadequate.&rdquo;</p><p>The 75-year-old Hacker was convicted in 1989 and is serving concurrent 50-year prison terms.</p><p>Dobbins said the Boy Scouts now routinely conduct background checks and members must report suspected abuse to law enforcement.</p><p>The Boy Scouts of Chicago said they can&rsquo;t comment on the lawsuit but released a statement:</p><p>&ldquo;Any instance of child abuse is intolerable and unacceptable. While we have not seen this lawsuit, we deeply regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 11:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-area-boy-scouts-deeply-regret-abuse-104177 Ask Me Why: To forgive, but not forget http://www.wbez.org/story/abuse/ask-me-why-forgive-not-forget-83884 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-17/shadow face photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This next installment of <a href="../../../../../../series/ask-me-why">Ask Me Why</a> tackles a painful, hot-button topic: Should convicted sex offenders stay on a permanent registry that documents their offenses? Or, should they be removed from the list after some period of time?</p><p>Helena Carnes-Jeffries, 36, picked the topic. You may have heard her on our airwaves last month talking about <a href="../../../../../../story/budget-cuts/dear-chicago-don%E2%80%99t-forget-mentally-ill">her struggles with mental illness</a> that stem from the childhood sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. When she learned that her father had abused other victims, she felt like the system had failed to protect others, just as it failed to protect her.</p><p>Carnes-Jeffries&rsquo; conversation partner was friend and fellow writer Betsy Benefield, who is in her early 50s. Inspired in part by her Christian faith, Benefield felt strongly that even people who have committed the most heinous of crimes deserve a shot at redemption.</p><p>When Benefield revealed her own personal stake in this topic, the exchange turned into a meditation on forgiveness. How do you know when it&rsquo;s time to forgive? And how can you make sure someone has really changed? You can hear an edited version of their conversation in the audio posted above.</p><p><a href="../../../../../../series/ask-me-why">Ask Me Why</a> is produced in collaboration with the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.prairie.org/">Illinois Humanities Council</a>, and was made possible by a grant from The Boeing Company. If you and someone you know are interested in participating in this series, you can download the application form <a target="_blank" href="http://www.prairie.org/ask-me-why">here</a>.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 22:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/abuse/ask-me-why-forgive-not-forget-83884 Union president blasts Weis http://www.wbez.org/story/abuse/union-president-blasts-weis <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-20/donahue.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated At: 5:30 on 10/20/2010</em></p><p>The president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Wednesday lashed out at Police Superintendent Jody Weis for his handling of an alleged case of police brutality.<br /><br />Mark Donahue is the police union's president. He said Weis' Friday night press conference was held in haste and that Weis didn't conduct a proper investigation.<br /><br />Two of seven officers stripped of police powers have now been reinstated. Donahue said GPS records prove they weren't present when a suspect was allegedly beaten. <br /><br />&quot;At least two officers, and potentially all seven department members, have had their careers damaged by the superintendent's lapse of sound judgement,&quot; Donahue said. &quot;He didn't even have the common decency to apologize to, or even recognize, that these two officers have been cleared in his latest television appearance just this morning.&quot;</p><p>The names of the officers have not been released publicly. But Donahue said their reputations have been damaged within the department.<br /><br />He also said the Fraternal Order of Police is considering legal action &quot;against this superintendent on behalf of these two police officers whose good names and reputations have been tarnished by his incompetence.&quot;</p><p>Few details have been released about the incident in question. But on Tuesday, Mayor Richard Daley told reporters that &quot;a young person was handcuffed and several police officers watched it, and someone went over and punched him in the jaw. The superintendent immediately suspended him.&quot;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department today released a statement confirming that two officers have been cleared in the incident and that they're not part of the investigation. The department says it is &quot;committed to cooperating fully with all (Independent Police Review Authority) investigations. It is important to note that relief of powers does not consititute discipline.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 20 Oct 2010 20:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/abuse/union-president-blasts-weis