WBEZ | Chicago Police Department http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-police-department Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Crowded Chicago Police office forces sex offenders to violate parole http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798 <p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Police Department forces sex offenders to violate their parole. I know that sounds crazy. I thought it was crazy when I first heard about it, but I&rsquo;ve spent a lot of time in the last two weeks with sex offenders waiting -- for hours and hours -- outside police headquarters and watching a Kafkaesque process play out.</p><p dir="ltr">Every morning sex offenders start lining up at 6, while it&rsquo;s still dark out, sometimes even earlier than that, and I probably don&rsquo;t have to remind you how cold it&rsquo;s been this winter. Tracy Wright was one of a couple dozen men on a recent morning.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s freezing out here,&rdquo; said Wright. &ldquo;Man, I had frost bites today. Somebody gave me some gloves to put on my hands.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s often like this, with the men stomping their feet on the cold concrete, trying to stay warm. For some reason, there&rsquo;s no waiting room. A small vestibule acts as a makeshift waiting room but there are 20 guys stuck outside. By 10:30 a.m. all of the men are cold and frustrated. &ldquo;I been here since 7 o&rsquo;clock waiting in line trying to see these people to keep me from being locked up,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><strong>Ambulance needed</strong></p><p dir="ltr">On this morning an ambulance was called for one of the men because he had numbness in his feet. After that, the men were allowed to wait in the main lobby of police headquarters but that&rsquo;s the exception to the rule.</p><p>People convicted as sex offenders have to register once a year. It basically means they have to go to the police department registration office and update their personal info and show proof of their current address. And if they move, they have to go back to re-register within three days. If they enroll in school they have to re-register within three days. If they change jobs they have to re-register within three days.</p><p>There are a lot of requirements and in Chicago, and they can be nearly impossible to meet, not because the offenders don&rsquo;t want to meet them but because of the way the Chicago Police Department runs the registration office.</p><p>When I met Wright in line it was his third time trying to get in the office to register. &ldquo;Every time we come here they have us standing in this line out here in this cold,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Wright was turned away the other two days because the office doesn&rsquo;t have the capacity to process all the sex offenders who show up to register, and Wright&rsquo;s worried the same thing is going to happen again. &ldquo;At 12 o&rsquo;clock they&rsquo;ll cut the line, they&rsquo;ll stop the line and tell us to come back tomorrow but I been standing out here already four to five hours,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><b>Go home, but you can still be arrested</b></p><p dir="ltr">Sure enough, an hour later, at 11:45 a.m., &nbsp;a man comes out of the registry office and tells Wright and the two dozen other men who have been waiting in the cold all morning, that they won&rsquo;t be able to register today. But then it gets weirder. The police department employee tells the men they can sign a list that will prove they showed up today to register but then he tells them that even if they&rsquo;re on the list, they can still be arrested for failing to register.</p><p>In a written statement, Adam Collins, a spokesman for the Chicago Police, said the list is collected and the department &ldquo;proactively sends their names to Illinois State Police &hellip; to minimize any potential criminal registration problems for the individuals.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course letting the men actually register would be an even more effective way to minimize registration problems. For clarity, I asked Collins several times, aren&rsquo;t the men at risk of being arrested? He simply resent a portion of his written statement.</p><p>For the offenders being turned away every day -- sometimes 10, 20, or even more of them -- the message they&rsquo;re getting is that the department prefers to risk their arrest rather than process this paperwork more quickly.</p><p><strong>Violating registration rules can mean prison</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The men are nervous and they have good reason. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections there are currently 841 people in prison for violating registration requirements.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I think we&rsquo;re caught up in the machine,&rdquo; said Terry as he walked away from police headquarters after being told he wouldn&rsquo;t be able to register. Terry didn&rsquo;t want to give his last name. He says he&rsquo;s trying to fulfill the registration requirements and get on with his life, which includes a job in sales that he&rsquo;s missing so he can stand in line. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re the guys that are trying to do the right thing. We&rsquo;re showing up here, we&rsquo;re trying to do the right thing we&rsquo;re trying to follow the law to the letter of what&rsquo;s on that piece of paper and they turn us away and say sorry, but you can still be arrested. Yeah, well, how are we supposed to feel?&rdquo; he asked.</p><p>After most of the men have left William White is still sitting in his wheel chair outside the registry office. I saw him arrive before noon but that was too late and now he&rsquo;s locked outside in the cold in a T-shirt and a light jacket. He has one leg. Because of that he had to get a ride from his brother Reggie and he&rsquo;s waiting for his brother to pick him up. When Reggie shows up he can&rsquo;t believe his brother couldn&rsquo;t register because there&rsquo;s a sign on the locked door that says the office is open till 3.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not even one o&rsquo;clock yet! Five minutes to one,&rdquo; said White.</p><p>&ldquo;This is horrible. It&rsquo;s like they&rsquo;re purposely setting people up to be violated to go back to jail. You can&rsquo;t conclude nothing else but that. And they came out, they didn&rsquo;t even have any sympathy, his limb is missing. They didn&rsquo;t even care, you know? So they won&rsquo;t even see you or anything, won&rsquo;t register you or nothing. They told him to come back Tuesday but I have to work and I won&rsquo;t be able to bring him Tuesday,&rdquo; said White.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sex Registry Sign.JPG" style="height: 214px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="CPD spokesman Adam Collins says the criminal registry office is open standard business hours, but a sign on the door tells a different story. Sex offenders who show up when they’re supposed to show up often find the door locked. They end up leaving angry and confused and concerned that they’ll be arrested for failing to register. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /></div><p>In a written statement police spokesman Adam Collins insisted the office is open standard business hours. That&rsquo;s not what I saw. In fact while I talk to Reggie White and his brother a young man walks up and pulls on the locked door. White shouts over to him, &ldquo;They not taking anybody else.&rdquo;</p><p>After a short conversation the young man walks away mystified and angry. I saw a lot of men arrive in the afternoon, when the office is advertised as being open. They all found a locked door and got no explanation.</p><p><strong>Increased registration, says CPD</strong></p><p>CPD spokesman Collins says there&rsquo;s been an increase in registrations in the last two years. He says they&rsquo;ve detailed additional officers to the criminal registration section and they are in the planning stage of an expansion of the office to accommodate additional personnel, but he didn&rsquo;t provide any details about a timeline despite our request. He also didn&rsquo;t answer questions on whether there are plans for a waiting room.</p><p>The whole process is especially frustrating for men who have jobs and are trying to keep their lives on track, like Byron Williams. He says he&rsquo;s shown up to this office 8 or 9 times in the last couple weeks, a not uncommon story. Williams is a security guard and his boss is letting him work the night shift right now so he can stand in line during the day, but he doesn&rsquo;t get off the night shift till 6 a.m. so he&rsquo;s not getting in line early enough. He hasn&rsquo;t been able to register.</p><p>&ldquo;My boss is like, okay you need to make something happen, but every time I get up to close by they cut it off and say we can&rsquo;t register, you got to come back the next day. I&rsquo;m explaining that to my boss and he&rsquo;s understanding but he&rsquo;s not understanding and I&rsquo;m at risk of losing my job and you know how hard it is for a sex offender to find a job?&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p>Given the weather at the end of last week, Williams decided he wasn&rsquo;t going to stand out in the cold again and waste his time. However, Monday is his last day to register before he&rsquo;s in violation. He says he&rsquo;ll be in line again, to give it another try.</p></p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798 Morning Shift: New site keeps symphony lovers in-tune with the CSO http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-26/morning-shift-new-site-keeps-symphony-lovers-tune-cso <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr lambdachialpha.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Symphony Orchestra&#39;s Celeste Wroblewski explains the features of group&#39;s new website and how it&#39;s the first of its kind. We get hip to the top tastemakers of 2013. And, DNAInfo&#39;s Mark Konkol gives us a glimpse behind the thin blue line.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-new-site-keeps-symphony-lovers-in-tu/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-new-site-keeps-symphony-lovers-in-tu.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-new-site-keeps-symphony-lovers-in-tu" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New site keeps symphony lovers in-tune with the CSO" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 26 Dec 2013 08:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-26/morning-shift-new-site-keeps-symphony-lovers-tune-cso Chicago police union president suspended http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-union-president-suspended-109405 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP330493917876.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police has suspended the head of Chicago&rsquo;s police union, one day after he accused fellow union leaders of scheming with City Hall and arbitrators to &ldquo;fix&rdquo; police contracts.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago FOP Lodge 7 President Michael Shields was apparently suspended during a union meeting Tuesday night. On Monday, Shields sent a letter to the city&rsquo;s inspector general accusing four current and past union leaders of colluding with independent arbitrators and city negotiators to hold contract arbitrations that were &ldquo;manipulated and phony.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The letter was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, and later leaked to other media outlets, including WBEZ.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;As many of you are aware, this past Monday, Lodge President Michael K. Shields publicly accused respected arbitrators, City and FOP labor lawyers, and present and former Lodge officials of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud during past contract negotiations,&rdquo; reads a <a href="http://www.chicagofop.org/lodge-7-presidents-status/">statement</a> on the Chicago union&rsquo;s website.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Due to the recent actions of President Shields, Illinois State FOP Lodge President Ted Street was forced to suspend President Shields&rsquo; &lsquo;membership rights, duties and authority and therefore is suspended as President of Chicago FOP Lodge #7,&rsquo; pending a hearing before the State Lodge Board of Trustees,&rdquo; the statement reads.</p><p dir="ltr">Street did not return phone calls seeking further details.</p><p dir="ltr">Tuesday night&rsquo;s police union meeting was apparently tense enough that someone called the police to keep the peace.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;After a call for service was received, a sergeant and two officers were dispatched to the scene to ensure that order and safety was maintained, but, at no point, did CPD interfere with the business of the union,&rdquo; Chicago Police Department spokesman Adam Collins said.</p><p dir="ltr">In an interview with WBEZ earlier on Wednesday, Shields denied that he had been suspended and maintained he was still acting as president of the Chicago FOP lodge.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I brought to light information to the inspector general regarding past practices of [former President] Mark Donohue, [First Vice President] Bill Dougherty, [Financial Secretary] Rich Aguilar and [former Third Vice President] Greg Bella,&rdquo; Shields told WBEZ, referring the the four union leaders he accused of rigging contracts. &ldquo;Now [they] are retaliating against me by having their close friend, Ted Street, &nbsp;attempt to take action against me, which is 100 percent illegal and the truth will come out about those four.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Despite Shields&rsquo; earlier claim that he was still in charge, the statement from the Illinois FOP later Wednesday afternoon said Dougherty will serve as acting union president.</p><p dir="ltr">Contract arbitrations occur when one side in a negotiation declares an impasse. Outside arbitrators are supposed to mediate the dispute as an independent third party, then issue a legally binding decision.</p><p dir="ltr">But in Monday&rsquo;s letter to Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson, Shields claimed the four union leaders &ldquo;rigged&rdquo; at least two contract arbitrations in order to gain &ldquo;political cover against FOP members&rsquo; potential accusations that the FOP leadership had &lsquo;sold out&rsquo; to the City of Chicago.&rdquo; He also claimed the head of the police sergeants&rsquo; union played ball with City Hall during &ldquo;phony&rdquo; contract talks.</p><p dir="ltr">Shields did not cite any specific evidence to back up his claims in the letter, or during later interviews with WBEZ. He said he was told of the schemes by the union&rsquo;s top lawyer, Paul Geiger. Geiger did not return phone calls seeking comment.</p><p dir="ltr">The police union&rsquo;s public flap comes just a few months before Shields was to stand for re-election as lodge president. He&rsquo;s taken heat this year for <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/22196864-418/story.html">missing two deadlines</a> that could cost rank-and-file cops their retroactive pay raises, as the union continues to negotiate a new contract with the city.</p><p dir="ltr">Aguilar denied the accusations in the letter were true. The head of the Chicago Police Sergeants&rsquo; Association, Jim Ade, said Shields&rsquo; claims were &ldquo;baseless.&rdquo; Bella, Dougherty and Donahue did not return phone calls from WBEZ.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alex Keefe covers politics for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @akeefe.</em></p></p> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 16:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-union-president-suspended-109405 Chicago's Southwest Side, southwest suburbs home to major drug warehousing http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-southwest-side-southwest-suburbs-home-major-drug-warehousing-109341 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Heroin%20LLC%20photos%20044%20by%20Bill%20Healy.JPG" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></p><p>In the shadow of Midway Airport, Latino, black, white and Arab families live in the bungalow belt of the Southwest Side.</p><p><pthese a="" american="" and="" another="" are="" block="" block:="" bloom="" by="" calendar="" colorful="" displays="" flags="" from="" in="" like="" middle-class="" mirror="" neighborhoods="" of="" one="" p="" perennials="" swing="" the="" window="" working-=""></pthese></p><p>Yet, quietly but in plain view, part of Chicago&rsquo;s thriving drug trade operates here. Local and federal law enforcement officials have raided a small number of these residences as places that store significant loads of drugs.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed major drug and money busts over the last five years in the metropolitan area. We found 97 homes where law enforcement allegedly found narcotics. Thirty were on the Southwest Side of Chicago and another 20 were in the southwest suburbs. No other area had more reported drug busts.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Chart: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-southwest-side-southwest-suburbs-home-major-drug-warehousing-109341#chart">Where are Chicago&#39;s drug houses?</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Here&rsquo;s a recent example:</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">In September, Chicago police allegedly confiscated $10 million worth of heroin and cocaine from a house</span> in the 3800 block of West 63rd Place.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;I know something was wrong in the house because only men lived there,&rdquo; said a neighbor on the block who said he&rsquo;s afraid to give his name.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">It wasn&rsquo;t just that only men lived in the rented home. Over a few months, the neighbor</span> noticed several cars parked out front with temporary license plates. But the men didn&rsquo;t cause obvious &nbsp;trouble, the man said. They sometimes spoke pleasantries to him in Spanish; so he didn&rsquo;t call the police.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;Because they don&rsquo;t make noise, no fights, no loud music,&rdquo; the man said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">And thus he was surprised when police stormed the house one September weekday morning.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;That day I was opening my garage to clean it up a little bit. I hear a noise like they pull a big garbage can or something like that. I look around and I don&rsquo;t see nothing. I come inside and I ask my wife, did you hear something? She said no. I looked through my window and I see a lot of police, detectives or narcotics,&rdquo; the neighbor said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Whole neighborhoods of the Southwest Side are relatively crime free. Cicero, Harlem and Pulaski are major thoroughfares for trucks transporting merchandise. There&rsquo;s easy access to highways and a major railroad transfer station. Ease of transportation is one reason drug cartels are so invested in Chicago.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Nick Roti, chief of organized crime for the Chicago Police Department, said drug trafficking organizations deliberately operate on the Southwest Side -- many workers in the business have connections to Mexico, so they can blend in more easily in neighborhoods among Latinos. And in areas where they can fly under the radar.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t want to have a large police presence where there are a lot of shootings or gang activity where there&rsquo;s going to be a heightened sense of police awareness,&rdquo; Roti said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">The rented homes are for storage. Drugs aren&rsquo;t manufactured or sold in these stash houses. Roti said that&rsquo;s not what neighbors should look out for.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;They&rsquo;re going to see mostly just men coming in and out of the house. They&rsquo;re going to see people going in and out of the garage because they&rsquo;re not going to unload the drugs on the street,&rdquo; Roti said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Jack Riley, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration&rsquo;s Chicago office, explains it further. He said often people who are in the heroin trade don&rsquo;t even grasp, &nbsp;say, the Sinaloa Mexican cartel - the organization Riley&rsquo;s doggedly trying to dismantle. Its leader El Chapo Guzman is considered the world&rsquo;s most powerful drug trafficker.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Many of the men caught in the Southwest Side Chicago drug busts have been recruited to to bring heroin and drugs from their home country.<a name="chart"></a></span></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chart_32.png" title="(WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><strong>Source:&nbsp;</strong><em>For this chart, WBEZ identified the major drug seizures in the Chicago area since 2008, based on a survey of all press releases from the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago offices of the Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice. In these major busts, the drugs seized were worth at least $400,000, and often worth tens of millions of dollars.&nbsp; From this list, WBEZ looked through court records and official releases to identify the residences that were allegedly used to store large quantities of illegal drugs before they were moved to street-level dealers.</em></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;This happens all the time,&rdquo; Riley said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll arrest a Mexican national and he&rsquo;ll say well, my uncle who lives in El Paso asked me to do this. There&rsquo;s no clear understanding that they&rsquo;re working for Sinaloa. They don&rsquo;t walk around with cards that say you&rsquo;re a card-carrying member of Sinaloa. That&rsquo;s how we have to make these connections from intelligence information, from telephone numbers.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Of course, drug trafficking and sales aren&rsquo;t unique to Latino neighborhoods -- they happen throughout the city and suburbs. And in many places both traffickers and neighbors haven&rsquo;t&nbsp;</span>always connected the dots.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">That&rsquo;s certainly true among many families on the Southwest Side. Even some of the large busts haven&rsquo;t grabbed the attention from law-abiding residents. And police officers say it hasn&rsquo;t been an issue in community meetings.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">On the 6500 block of West 63rd Place in the Clearing neighborhood, a senior citizen woman dutifully tends to her grass one sunny October afternoon. A few days earlier, Chicago police arrested three men, recovered four guns and more than $1 million in narcotics on this very block.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;Clearly someone on this block was paying attention and noticed it. That&rsquo;s neighborly love right there,&rdquo; said 24-year-old Cassie Conkel who wasn&rsquo;t rattled by the raid on the block on which she grew up and still lives. She said people on the quiet, well-manicured block look out for each other - even though many didn&rsquo;t know the men who lived in the raided home.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">After news of the narcotics, Conkel says there was buzz among neighbors, but then it was business as usual.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t really think about the cartels being up here and stuff like that,&rdquo; said Conkel, adding that&rsquo;s because she&rsquo;s not in Mexico and doesn&rsquo;t think the violence will come here.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;This is a quiet neighborhood for the most part. You get fights and parties and all that stuff. It&rsquo;s not something we&rsquo;ve ever had to worry about. When someone brings it up, and says, well, the cartels are here, then I&rsquo;ll worry about it. I can only worry about what I can see,&rdquo; Conkel said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Three years ago, extreme drug violence did briefly rattle a quiet Chicago Lawn block. Four men were shot execution style. They were discovered bound with duct tape and lying face down, reports said. The FBI and DEA were brought in because narcotics were involved.</span></p><p>Chief Roti, of the Chicago Police Department, remembers that case and says the shooters were caught. More important, he says, &nbsp;that type of violence isn&rsquo;t the norm.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;The cartel-related violence that we&rsquo;ve seen in the last few years in Mexico, I don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;ll ever see that here. Not only because they don&rsquo;t want it to happen here because it would hurt their business, but because law enforcement is vastly different. I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s a major safety issue for people who live in that area. I have not seen any real violence that occurred outside of the circle of people involved in this related activity,&rdquo; Roti said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Still, the man who lives on the block where the $10 million drug bust went down is now rethinking his role as a neighbor.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">Despite not knowing the criminal activity at the time, he wishes he had called the police when he felt something odd. Now he&rsquo;s telling his neighbors to do just that.</span></p><p><iframe height="480" src="https://mapsengine.google.com/map/embed?mid=zKdLvOTJ_oMo.k6DV1GFYnvn8" width="640"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">&ldquo;Some people they are afraid to call the police. You can call the police and don&rsquo;t give your name,&rdquo; the man said.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-01332764-de70-ba26-e286-a2f4fed0655b">And he says the narcotics raid right on his block has him considering bringing back the defunct block club.</span></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author" target="_blank">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. She can be reached at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>&nbsp;or on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me" target="_blank">Google+</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">Twitter</a>.</em></p><p><i>WBEZ&#39;s Patrick Smith contributed reporting to this story.</i></p></p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 15:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagos-southwest-side-southwest-suburbs-home-major-drug-warehousing-109341 Jury gives $1 million to man claiming false arrest http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-gives-1-million-man-claiming-false-arrest-108761 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_isador_ruyter_harcourt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A jury awarded $1 million to a Chicago man who spent a year in jail before he was found not guilty of assaulting a police officer.</p><p>John Collins sued the city of Chicago for bringing an aggravated battery charge against him. A Cook County jury on Tuesday sided with Collins six years after a jury acquitted him of the criminal charge.</p><p>Collins contended police pulled him from a car parked in front of his home for no apparent reason and later struck him for questioning them on his arrest.</p><p>Police offered a different story in court, saying Collins was arrested after being seen drinking in the public way. They claimed Collins was combative.</p><p>Roderick Drew of Chicago&#39;s Law Department says city officials are disappointed and are considering an appeal.</p></p> Wed, 25 Sep 2013 10:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-gives-1-million-man-claiming-false-arrest-108761 Narcotics task force takes aim at Mexico to Chicago drug trafficking http://www.wbez.org/news/narcotics-task-force-takes-aim-mexico-chicago-drug-trafficking-107796 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3567_Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Anita Alvarez.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A team of federal agents and police officers arrested 21 men allegedly involved in drug dealing on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Jack Riley, head of the Chicago office of the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, said the arrests were the first major case for a new narcotics strike force.</p><p>Early on Thursday, the strike force executed search warrants on nine Chicago residences and two cars, arresting 21 alleged drug dealers.</p><p>Another two men who were also indicted are still at large.</p><p>The arrested men are due in court for hearings next week.</p><p>According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the men arrested were allegedly involved in selling cocaine and heroin in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.</p><p>The arrests were the result of a nine-month investigation that is still ongoing.</p><p>Along with the arrests, law enforcement officials seized about three pounds of heroin and nearly nine pounds of cocaine.</p><p>Special Agent Riley said the drugs would be worth millions of dollars on the street.</p><p>&ldquo;Another great day for the good guys here in Chicago,&rdquo; Riley said at a press conference announcing the drug bust.</p><p>He said the arrests were part of a continuing effort to cripple the supply of drugs from Mexico into Chicago.</p><p>Specifically, this operation was aimed at finding and bringing down what Riley called the &ldquo;choke point&rdquo; where the Sinaloa drug cartel and Chicago street dealers connect.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got to make the connections, even if it takes us back into Mexico and Central and South America. The idea is to eliminate the organizations,&rdquo; Riley said.</p><p>He added that when he and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy discussed the narcotic strike force last year they &ldquo;envisioned it doing exactly what it did today.&rdquo;</p><p>McCarthy said the new task force works because the Chicago Police Department and the DEA have different, but complementary aims.</p><p>For the police, the goal is to &ldquo;eliminate street corner markets&rdquo; and make Chicago safer, and for the DEA it is to find the larger drug suppliers.</p><p>With the task force, McCarthy said, the work his department does on the ground can help the federal agents in their pursuit of high-level drug traffickers. And the investigations done by the DEA can aid the Chicago police.</p><p>McCarthy said the drug bust will have a big impact on crime in Chicago</p><p>&ldquo;Much of the violence on the West Side of Chicago &hellip; a lot of it revolves around the narcotics trade,&rdquo; McCarthy said.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter.</em></p></p> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 10:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/narcotics-task-force-takes-aim-mexico-chicago-drug-trafficking-107796 Illinois' 'outrageously insane' gun license loophole http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-outrageously-insane-gun-license-loophole-107437 <p><p>State lawmakers now have less than two weeks to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-panel-advances-stricter-gun-carry-bill-107400" target="_blank">pass a law</a> allowing Illinoisans to carry concealed guns.</p><p>But some say Illinois&rsquo; existing system of licensing gun owners is badly broken.</p><p>The state is supposed to take away Firearm Owners Identification Cards, or FOIDs,&nbsp; from felons, the mentally ill and people who have restraining orders against them, like those who have been charged with domestic violence.</p><p>But of the more than 11,200 cards that were revoked as of mid-May, more than 6,700 of those cards are still unaccounted for, according to Illinois State Police <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/144728510/Revoked-Illinois-FOID-cards-by-city" target="_blank">data</a> obtained by WBEZ through the Freedom of Information Act.</p><p>Spotty enforcement of Illinois gun laws mean those revoked cardholders could be hanging onto their guns. And legal loopholes mean they could still buy ammunition, and possibly more firearms through private sales.</p><p>But there are some law enforcement groups in Illinois that are trying to stop that.</p><p>On a hot, sunny afternoon last week, Sgt. Chris Imhof started up his unmarked SUV in the parking lot of the Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s department in Maywood.</p><p>He and two other officers were going hunting for revoked FOID cards.</p><p>&ldquo;The first guy is, uh - was revoked for some sort of possession of a controlled substance,&rdquo; Imhof said as he drove to the first location.</p><p>He wore jeans and a ballcap with a green shamrock on it, and if it weren&rsquo;t for his gun and bullet-proof vest, you might not even know he was a cop. But he&rsquo;s heading up a special team of Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s officers whose job it is to go out a couple of times a week just to seize FOID cards from people who have had them revoked.</p><p>If this seems like overkill - three guys with guns and Kevlar going to get a plastic identification card - Imhof says there&rsquo;s a reason for the precautions.</p><p>In Illinois, somebody trying to buy a gun with a revoked card at a local gun shop - where a background check is required - would likely get caught. But Imhof says there&rsquo;s still a lot you can get away with in Illinois without somebody checking whether a FOID is actually valid.</p><p>&ldquo;They can get ammunition and they can also get the weapons on a private deal if somebody doesn&rsquo;t check to see if, uh, he&rsquo;s revoked. So, I mean it&rsquo;s important to grab &lsquo;em,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>So Imhof and his team are going door to door in the suburbs, trying to track down the nearly 3,000 revoked FOID cards that are still floating around Cook County - and, more importantly &ndash;&nbsp;to ask people to hand over their guns.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/car_al.jpg" style="float: right; height: 197px; width: 350px;" title="The gun team, headed by Sgt. Chris Imhof, has collected more than 100 guns from revoked FOID card holders since February. (WBEZ/Alex Keefe)" /></p><p>One of Imhof&rsquo;s partners squawks him over the radio to say that the man at the first stop is recorded as having bought a shotgun within the state of Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s still a potential that he has a gun, he has his card,&rdquo; Imhof said. &ldquo;We won&rsquo;t really know until we actually have contact with him.&rdquo;</p><p>We roll down a tree-lined street in suburban Melrose Park, and pull up to a white house with a chainlink fence. I stay in the car while the three officers walk past a row of bushy green hostas and knock on the front door.</p><p>After a few minutes of knocking, there&rsquo;s still no answer. So they leave a note telling the person with the revoked card to give them a call.</p><p>If this all seems a little polite for police work, it&rsquo;s because local law enforcement in Illinois don&rsquo;t actually have the legal authority to seize this person&rsquo;s gun - even if they had their FOID revoked for beating their spouse or being mentally ill.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re asking them to voluntarily hand their weapons over to us,&rdquo; Imhof said. &ldquo;They - they really don&rsquo;t have to.&rdquo;</p><h2><strong>&lsquo;Outrageously insane&rsquo;</strong></h2><p>Experts and advocates say this is a problem that pervades Illinois&rsquo; gun licensing system.</p><p>Yet it concerns one of the few things people on both sides of the polarized gun debate seem to agree on, at least in principle: that certain groups of people shouldn&rsquo;t have access to guns.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/foid_walkie.jpg" style="float: left; height: 197px; width: 350px;" title="Sergeant Imhof walks away from the home empty handed. (WBEZ/Alex Keefe)" />But in Illinois, there&rsquo;s no uniform mechanism for anyone to go and get them. And while efforts in Cook County, Chicago and by the Illinois State Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives bring in a few hundred guns each year, there are still thousands of revoked cards floating around the state, with no way of knowing how many guns are in the hands of people who aren&rsquo;t supposed to have them.</p><p>&ldquo;Honestly, I would challenge you to find an issue that is more outrageously insane than this one,&rdquo; said Cook County&rsquo;s Democratic Sheriff, Tom Dart, who launched his gun team back in February when he first learned about the holes in the FOID revocation process.</p><p>&ldquo;If the system were to work completely the way it&rsquo;s set up to work, all we&rsquo;ve got is your card,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;We could care less about the fact you&rsquo;re sitting on an arsenal of guns, and you clearly shouldn&rsquo;t be within a million yards of a gun.&rdquo;</p><p>Dart and other critics say the whole process is set up to fail.</p><p>When the State Police initially revoke somebody&rsquo;s FOID card, they simply send a letter in the mail, requesting that it be returned, according to spokeswoman Monique Bond.</p><p>And that&rsquo;s usually it, says Mark Walsh, with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;re supposed to voluntarily surrender your FOID card,&rdquo; Walsh said. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s one of the problems that we have.&rdquo;</p><p>But if you read Illinois&rsquo; current laws, Walsh says everything looks fine on paper.</p><p>People who are judged to be mentally ill, who are convicted of a felony or have a restraining order against them are supposed to have their FOID cards revoked by the State Police.</p><p>But in practice, more than 60 percent of the revoked cards are still out there.</p><p>And it&rsquo;s impossible to know how many of those people still have their guns, because the state does not track individual firearms, Walsh said.</p><p>&ldquo;To say that it&rsquo;s keeping people safe - I would have to say no. I mean I&nbsp; think we really need to put the time and money into fixing the system,&rdquo; Walsh said.</p><h2><strong>A lack of money - and communication</strong></h2><p>Both the Cook County Sheriff and the Chicago Police Department now have special teams that hunt down revoked FOID cards as part of larger efforts to stop the flow of illegal guns.</p><p>Both agencies say they have unwritten agreements with the State Police that allows them to get notifications whenever a FOID is revoked.</p><p>But several other big law enforcement agencies in Illinois say they&rsquo;ve never even asked for information about revoked FOIDs, and the Illinois State Police don&rsquo;t offer it up.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody, including the chief, was kinda shocked that we have 187 outstanding,&rdquo; said Lt. Pat Hoey, with the Rockford Police Department, referring to the number of revoked FOID cards from his town that are still unaccounted for.</p><p>Hoey says that&rsquo;s the kind of data local law enforcement should know about.</p><p>&ldquo;If Alex Keefe&rsquo;s a badass, and now we realize, &lsquo;Oh my God, he&rsquo;s got a revoked FOID,&rsquo; which means he probably has guns, and if we suspect he&rsquo;s doing narcotics or gang crimes, well - that would be good intelligence information to know,&rdquo; Hoey said.</p><p>Law enforcement officials in Lake and McHenry Counties, as well as the cities of Rockford, Springfield and Aurora - where a total of 804 unaccounted FOIDs were last registered - say they do not get revocation lists from the state police.</p><p><em>(Other jurisdictions with the highest number of revocations, including Will and DuPage Counties, and the cities of Joliet, Peoria and Decatur, did not respond to calls for this story.)</em></p><p>But no law enforcement agency contacted by WBEZ blamed the Illinois State Police for failing to retrieve revoked FOID cards, even though the law says it&rsquo;s their responsibility.</p><p>There are just about 25 people working in the FOID office, which has an annual budget of just $1.5 million, according to Bond, the State Police spokeswoman. And they&rsquo;re dealing with a record number of applications in addition to the thousands of revoked cards.</p><p>WBEZ repeatedly requested interviews with the person in charge of FOID, and with Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. The agency refused those requests.</p><p>But Grau spoke briefly about the problems with FOID during a press conference with Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in January.</p><p>&ldquo;Our issue with the FOID unit is, quite frankly, funding,&rdquo; Grau said. &ldquo;We continue to experience retirements. We&rsquo;re, we&rsquo;re - manpower-wise, in our FOID unit, it&rsquo;s very, very low.&rdquo;</p><p>Bond later added that State Police sometimes notify local law enforcement of especially urgent FOID revocations - but not all of them.</p><p>And state troopers also work with federal agents to retrieve guns and revoked cards as part of their larger mission to collect illegal firearms, Bond said.</p><p>Together with the ATF, troopers seize an average of 200 guns a year, according to an ATF spokesman.</p><p>Still, advocates point to the danger posed by thousands of missing revoked cards to argue the FOID system needs an overhaul, especially as the state stares down an early June deadline to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-panel-advances-stricter-gun-carry-bill-107400" target="_blank">legalize the carrying of concealed weapons</a>.</p><h2><strong>With concealed carry, potential &lsquo;chaos&rsquo;</strong></h2><p>Dart is pushing bills in Springfield to give local law enforcement the power to seize guns from people who&rsquo;ve been revoked, instead of relying on the State Police.</p><p>The provision, which is currently folded into proposed concealed carry legislation, would also require that people turn in revoked FOID cards within 48 hours.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/al2.jpg" style="float: right; height: 197px; width: 350px;" title="The Cook County Sheriff's gun team spends a few days each week knocking on doors, looking for revoked FOIDs. Nearly 3,000 revoked FOID cards registered in Cook County haven't been returned. (WBEZ/Alex Keefe)" />&ldquo;Otherwise what you&rsquo;re gonna have, is you&rsquo;re gonna have individuals who have a concealed carry permit, in addition to their FOID card, that&rsquo;s been revoked, and no one&rsquo;s gettin&rsquo; those guns, either,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;And they&rsquo;re carrying them all around the streets, as well. So I mean this will be complete and total chaos.&rdquo;</p><p>Dart also wants people with revoked FOID cards to make a list of all guns they own - an idea that has concerned the National Rifle Association and other gun rights advocates.</p><p>A spokesman for the NRA in Illinois did not respond to interview requests.</p><p>Back in the suburbs last week, Dart&rsquo;s gun team has visited a handful of homes in a couple of hours. But they&rsquo;ve still had no luck getting any revoked FOID cards - or any guns.</p><p>Not from the guy who was revoked for child pornography. Or from another guy whose card was revoked for unlawful use of a weapon.</p><p>But then Sergeant Chris Imhof&rsquo;s radio starts to crackle.</p><p>&ldquo;You guys win! Number 100!&rdquo; said a voice on the other end of his walkie talkie.</p><p>It&rsquo;s from two other officers who are a few suburbs away, where they&rsquo;ve just retrieved their 100th gun from someone with a revoked FOID.</p><p>Imhof congratulates them over the radio, but he doesn&rsquo;t get too excited. There are still thousands of revoked FOID cards in Cook County, he explains, and who knows how many guns.</p><p><em>Alex Keefe is a political reporter at WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/akeefe" target="_blank">@akeefe</a>.</em></p><h2><strong><a name="map"></a>Map: Where are the revoked FOID cards?</strong></h2><p>Illinois takes away gun rights from criminals, the mentally ill and people who have restraining orders against them. But more than 6,700 revoked Firearm Owners Identification cards across the state are unaccounted for, potentially allowing their owners to still buy guns and ammunition. Here&rsquo;s a map of where the revoked FOIDs were last registered. <em>(<a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/144728510/Revoked-Illinois-FOID-cards-by-city" target="_blank">Data from the Illinois State Police</a>)&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="800" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col18+from+1kQNYd_P9dsbuagj34ugxRhyfRLiKjM0Fao40gVs&amp;viz=MAP&amp;h=false&amp;lat=39.60682880124687&amp;lng=-89.38320786329103&amp;t=1&amp;z=7&amp;l=col18&amp;y=2&amp;tmplt=2" width="620"></iframe></p><p><strong><a name="photos"></a>Photos:</strong></p><p><object height="465" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633816263418%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F8893866492%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633816263418%2Fwith%2F8893866492%2F&amp;set_id=72157633816263418&amp;jump_to=8893866492" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633816263418%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F8893866492%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633816263418%2Fwith%2F8893866492%2F&amp;set_id=72157633816263418&amp;jump_to=8893866492" height="465" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p></p> Thu, 30 May 2013 13:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-outrageously-insane-gun-license-loophole-107437 Police Board fires cops for conduct captured on gang video http://www.wbez.org/news/police-board-fires-cops-conduct-captured-gang-video-107131 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cop Video Capture.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Police Board has fired two officers for conduct captured on a 2011 gang video (above) discovered by WBEZ.</p><p>The board found patrol officers Susana La&nbsp;Casa, 49, and Luis Contreras, 44, guilty of numerous administrative charges and decided the fitting punishment was dismissal, according to James P. Lynch, the attorney who represented the police department in the case.</p><p>The guilty charges, Lynch said, included unlawfully restraining a youth, transporting him without a valid police purpose to the turf of a gang that would threaten him, and making a false statement about the incident to an Internal Affairs detective.</p><p>La Casa and Contreras arrived March&nbsp;19, 2011, on a Logan Square block to assist two officers who had handcuffed a gang member named Miguel &ldquo;Mikey&rdquo; Castillo. The youth ended up in the backseat of the SUV that La&nbsp;Casa and Contreras were driving. They drove him to a block of nearby Humboldt Park that a rival gang claimed as its territory.</p><p>A 90-second amateur video shot there shows La&nbsp;Casa and Contreras outside the SUV, a Chevrolet Tahoe with standard police markings. Three of the doors are open as onlookers converge, peer in on Castillo, taunt him and flash their gang&rsquo;s hand signal. As Castillo tries to cover his face, La&nbsp;Casa tells him, &ldquo;Put your fucking hand down.&rdquo;</p><p>The video appeared briefly on YouTube, where WBEZ spotted it. The department quickly stripped La&nbsp;Casa and Contreras of their police powers and began an investigation. Interim police Supt. Terry Hillard called the incident &ldquo;not professional&rdquo; and said &ldquo;scared straight&rdquo; tactics were always inappropriate.</p><p>Supt. Garry McCarthy, Hillard&rsquo;s successor,&nbsp;recommended last September that the board dismiss the officers. At the board&rsquo;s evidentiary hearing, which lasted two days in February, La&nbsp;Casa and Contreras insisted they were just trying to give the young man a ride home and he never faced danger.</p><p>La&nbsp;Casa declined to comment about the dismissal.&nbsp;Contreras and attorney William N. Fahy, who represented the officers,&nbsp;did not return calls.</p><p>Neighborhood reactions varied. Eric Hudson, a homeowner who worked with La&nbsp;Casa and Contreras against Logan Square gang activity, said the dismissal stemmed from a police department culture &ldquo;weighted to Irish male cops.&rdquo;</p><p>Hudson called La&nbsp;Casa, an Illinois-licensed clinical counselor, a hard worker who did not deserve to be branded as abusive. &ldquo;This woman is a social worker, not Jon Burge,&rdquo; Hudson said, referring to the notorious Chicago detective imprisoned in connection to police torture cases.</p><p>But Rev. Kenny Ruiz, the former head of a gang-intervention program at the McCormick Tribune YMCA, hopes the dismissal sends a message to other officers. &ldquo;Do what the side of the police car says: &lsquo;Serve and Protect.&rsquo; That means everyone,&rdquo; Ruiz said. &ldquo;They can be the conduit for something positive for the young people and the challenges that they face.&rdquo;</p><p>The board, a nine-member panel appointed by the mayor, does not usually dismiss officers recommended for that punishment. During this year&rsquo;s first three months, the board fired just three of 13 officers that either the police department or the Independent Police Review Authority had recommended for discharge. In eight of those cases, the board ruled that the fitting punishment was a suspension or reprimand. In another case, the respondent resigned. In another, the department withdrew the charges.</p><p>Under Illinois law, officers can appeal their dismissals to Cook County Circuit Court.</p><p>Castillo, who did not suffer physical harm, received $33,000 from the city as part of a settlement in a civil suit over the incident, according to an attorney representing him. The suit, filed in federal court, alleged false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress.</p><p>State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office reviewed the incident but declined to bring a criminal case.</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> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 11 May 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/police-board-fires-cops-conduct-captured-gang-video-107131 Emanuel: ‘No threat to Chicago,’ marathon will go on http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-%E2%80%98no-threat-chicago%E2%80%99-marathon-will-go-106680 <p><p>Chicago City Hall was quiet on Tuesday as Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that &ldquo;there is no threat to (the city).&rdquo; Security officials around the city and at its two major airports, however, remain on alert following deadly twin bomb blasts at <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/boston-bombs-said-be-made-pressure-cookers-106656">yesterday&rsquo;s Boston Marathon</a>.<br /><br />Even though Emanuel reiterated there is no &ldquo;credible threat&rdquo; to the city, he urged Chicagoans to keep their eyes open for anything suspicious. The mayor said he met this morning at City Hall with his top cabinet officials in the police and fire departments, as well as the head of the city&rsquo;s emergency communications center.<br /><br />Emanuel added he called Boston Mayor Thomas Menino yesterday to offer his support, following the bombings that have killed three people and injured more than 170 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.<br /><br />&ldquo;While it was a horrific event, it showed the best of this country,&rdquo; Emanuel said, adding: &ldquo;I think everybody was heartfelt for the residents of the city of Boston, so I wanted to make sure that they knew that our resources were available if they needed them.&rdquo;<br /><br />Security at Chicago&rsquo;s City Hall didn&rsquo;t seem stricter than normal Tuesday, save for the presence of two Chicago cops on horseback who were stationed on LaSalle Street. The Chicago Police Department did not immediately offer details as to what additional security measures might be in place.</p><p>Emanuel also insisted the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, set for October 13, will go ahead as planned. In a statement Tuesday, Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski said race organizers have been in contact with the city&rsquo;s public safety agencies since yesterday&rsquo;s bombings.</p><p>&ldquo;As our top priority, we work in lockstep with these agencies to ensure the safest possible event for everyone involved. As we do each year and throughout the year, we will sit down with these agencies and conduct a comprehensive security review as part of the planning process for this year&rsquo;s event,&rdquo; the statement reads.</p><p>Meanwhile, security adjustments at area airports were more overt.<br /><br />&ldquo;Passengers traveling through Chicago&rsquo;s airports today may notice a more visible presence of Chicago police officers, canine units and aviation security officers,&rdquo; Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham explained.<br /><br />Cunningham said the department would continue to work closely with local and federal agencies on safety and security matters.<br /><br />The Department of Homeland Security said it would continue to keep in place enhanced security measures at transportation hubs. Meanwhile the Transportation Security Administration is set to allow airline passengers to carry small folding knives on planes later this month.<br /><br />The policy change is the first shift of its kind since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.</p><p><em>Al Keefe is a WBEZ reporter. Follow him at <a href="http://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>. </em></p></p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 17:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-%E2%80%98no-threat-chicago%E2%80%99-marathon-will-go-106680 Chicago police official: Congress Theater 'untruthful' on night of underage drinking http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/chicago-police-official-congress-theater-untruthful-night-underage <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/congress%20theater_flickr_ian%20friemuth_0.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px; " title="The Congress Theater, located at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave., has been charged with five drug-related violations by the Chicago Liquor Control Commission. (Flickr/Ian Freimuth)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">A Chicago Police Department official has accused the Congress Theater of failing to cooperate with officers during an investigation into underage drinking at the venue.</div><p>Sgt. Joseph Giambrone testified that Congress staffers lied about serving alcohol when his unit arrived to investigate suspicions of underage drinking during a DJ Rusko set in the early hours of May 6, 2012.</p><p>Giambrone&rsquo;s testimony came during a disciplinary hearing at City Hall Tuesday morning, the second conducted by Chicago&rsquo;s Liquor Control Commission looking into alleged illegal activities at the Congress.</p><p>During his testimony, Giambrone described a call from the emergency room of Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in Wicker Park that reported several concertgoers &ldquo;of various ages&rdquo; arriving from the Congress Theater via private ambulance with symptoms of extreme intoxication, many of them &ldquo;barely breathing.&rdquo;</p><p>Giambrone said that when officers arrived on the scene, Congress managers Atieh Abdelhadi and Ahmad Mahidi met him outside the venue and denied serving alcohol during the show.</p><p>Next, Giambrone said he observed Mahidi talking on his radio in &ldquo;a language that wasn&rsquo;t English,&rdquo; and then witnessed Abdelhadi running ahead to unscrew taps in the lobby bar and place cups upside down over the spigots as officers entered the venue.</p><p>Once inside, Giambrone claimed to see employees &ldquo;activating tap devices&rdquo; and serving &ldquo;amber-hued&rdquo; liquid to patrons by the stage.</p><p>Giambrone said he was also present at the Congress on the night of April 13, 2012, when his unit responded to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-22/city-congress-theater-clean-your-act-97549">a large fight</a> during a Chief Keef show. The venue did not call 911 to report this incident; defense attorney Harlan C. Powell hypothesized that venue staffers may have tried to call out to police officers already on the scene.</p><p>Powell questioned the credibility of the city&rsquo;s investigation, calling the allegations against his client &ldquo;grossly prejudicial.&rdquo;</p><p>To support his claim, Powell brought up a meeting that took place between Giambrone and the Congress Theater following these incidents. Powell said that during the meeting, venue personnel said they understood that any calls made to the police by the Congress would not be brought up in disciplinary actions.</p><p>However, Deputy Hearings Commissioner Robert Nolan rejected Powell&rsquo;s argument, stating that the events at issue occurred before any alleged conversations took place.</p><p>Tuesday&rsquo;s hearing was originally scheduled for March 6. But Powell &ndash; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/congress-theater-liquor-hearing-rescheduled-105941">the third attorney</a> to represent venue owner Erineo &ldquo;Eddie&rdquo; Carranza since his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-22/city-congress-theater-clean-your-act-97549">troubles with city agencies</a> began in March of 2012 &ndash; requested more time to review the case from Deputy Commissioner Nolan.</p><p>The next hearing is scheduled for April 30.</p><p><em>Prior reporting by Jim DeRogatis. Research assistance by Jennifer Grandy.</em></p><p><strong><u>Earlier reports about Carranza, the Congress and the Portage, from Jim DeRogatis:</u></strong></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/fate-portage-theater-remains-mystery-105970">March 8: The fate of the Portage remains a messy mystery</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-03/congress-theater-liquor-hearing-rescheduled-105941">March 6: Congress Theater hearing rescheduled</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-02/congress-theater-restoration-underway-it%E2%80%99s-got-long-way-go-105685">Feb. 22: Congress Theater restoration underway, but it&rsquo;s got a long way to go</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2013-01/congress-theater-liquor-hearings-begin-undercover-cops-testimony-104950">Jan. 16: Congress Theater liquor hearings begin with undercover cop&rsquo;s testimony</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-12/rally-save-portage-theater-we-know-it-104169">Dec. 3, 2012: A rally to save the Portage Theater &lsquo;as we know it&rsquo;</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/portage-theater-uses-graham-elliot%E2%80%99s-name-vain-104089">Nov. 28, 2012: The Portage Theater uses Graham Elliot&rsquo;s name in vain</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-11/congress-theaters-new-security-chief-ex-cop-troubled-past-103611">Nov. 2, 2012: Congress Theater&rsquo;s new security chief: An ex-cop with a troubled past</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-10/congress-theater-police-calls-rank-soldier-field-united-center-103569">Oct. 31, 2012: Congress Theater police calls rank with Soldier Field, United Center</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/how-did-things-turn-so-bad-so-fast-portage-theater-102606">Sept. 23, 2012: How did things turn so bad so fast at the Portage Theater?</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/new-owner-portage-theater-moves-evict-current-operators-102602">Sept. 22, 2012: New Owner of the Portage Theater moves to evict current operators</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/congress-theater-splits-development-partner-102451">Sept. 16, 2012: Congress Theater splits with development partner</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/portage-theater-what%E2%80%99s-eddie-102350">Sept. 11, 2012: The Portage Theater: What&rsquo;s Eddie up to?</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/congress-theater-partners-up%E2%80%A6-and-looks-expand-101199">July 26, 2012: Congress Theater partners up&hellip; and looks to expand</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/more-trouble-congress-theater-98249">April 14, 2012: More trouble at the Congress Theater</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-28/critical-congress-security-headliner-brings-his-own-97696">March 28, 2012: Critical of Congress security, headliner brings his own</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-25/congress-theater-responds-complaints-97597">March 25, 2012: Congress Theater responds to complaints</a></u></p><p><u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-22/city-congress-theater-clean-your-act-97549">March 22, 2012: City to Congress Theater: Clean up your act!</a></u></p><p><em>Leah Pickett blogs about pop culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/chicago-police-official-congress-theater-untruthful-night-underage