WBEZ | Chicago Police Department http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-police-department Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Mayor Emanuel's proposal to reduce gun violence stalls in Springfield http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuels-proposal-reduce-gun-violence-stalls-springfield-110200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP758722197507_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A proposed state law intended to help reduce gun violence in Chicago is being shelved in Springfield in favor of forming a new committee to investigate the issue.</p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy have prioritized longer prison sentences for gun crimes as a way to reduce the city&rsquo;s gun violence. The bill had called for increasing the mandatory prison sentence for unlawful use of a weapon to a minimum of three years in prison.</p><p>That measure saw some strong opposition from Illinois lawmakers who said it would add inmates to an already overcrowded prison system.</p><p>State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, wanted the longer prison sentences, but now says he&rsquo;s open to new compromises on several proposals to restructure sentencing guidelines. He referenced recent shootings in Chicago over the weekend as the reason he still&nbsp; supports the measure for mandatory prison sentences.</p><p>&ldquo;My guess is that many of those were committed by those who have no fear of our gun laws,&rdquo; Zalewski said. &ldquo;I tried to start the conversation with my bills earlier this year, but the conversations moved into a new direction and so I&rsquo;m hopeful that all that will come into play.&rdquo;</p><p>Zalewski is scheduled to ask a committee of House members Tuesday to create a small panel of Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate. That panel would lead discussions over the course of the year to negotiate sentencing guidelines.</p><p>&ldquo;If we can put a strategy in place that makes sure that the violent gun offenders are incarcerated and that (Supt. McCarthy) doesn&rsquo;t see them back out on the street in six months or four months or get a sentence like boot camp where they&rsquo;re back out in ten weeks, it makes his job a whole lot easier,&ldquo; Zalewski said.</p><p>Spokesmen for the mayor&rsquo;s office and the Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 19 May 2014 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-emanuels-proposal-reduce-gun-violence-stalls-springfield-110200 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