WBEZ | Chicago Police http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-police Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en After detective’s acquittal in fatal shooting, prosecutors face criticism http://www.wbez.org/news/after-detective%E2%80%99s-acquittal-fatal-shooting-prosecutors-face-criticism-111907 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rekia-boyd-dante-servin-chicago-police-brutality-320x213.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Cleared of charges after fatally shooting an African American woman, a Chicago police detective says justice was served. But the woman&rsquo;s supporters say the detective deserved to go to prison. They are slamming the acquittal and the way the case was prosecuted.</p><p dir="ltr">Det. Dante Servin faced charges including involuntary manslaughter for the 2012 death of Rekia Boyd, 22. Before hearing the defense present its witnesses, Cook County Associate Judge Dennis J. Porter abruptly ended the trial Monday. He read a seven-page order that acquitted Servin on all counts.</p><p dir="ltr">To some folks in the courtroom, Porter seemed to be saying the trial might have ended differently if prosecutors had charged the detective with murder. And it&rsquo;s not just Boyd&rsquo;s friends and relatives questioning Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office. Some legal scholars are too.</p><p dir="ltr">Our story (listen above) explores whether the charges were appropriate through the eyes of the judge, Boyd&rsquo;s family, the detective, the state&rsquo;s attorney and an outside expert.</p><div><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a>. In the photo, Servin hears the judge acquit him on Monday (John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune).</em></div></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-detective%E2%80%99s-acquittal-fatal-shooting-prosecutors-face-criticism-111907 Chicago council approves $5M settlement in police shooting http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-council-approves-5m-settlement-police-shooting-111871 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council approved a $5 million settlement Wednesday with the family of a teenager who died after being shot by a police officer 16 times last October.</p><p>Federal and county prosecutors and the FBI are investigating the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who police said was wielding a knife.</p><p>Chicago Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton had recommended the settlement and told reporters that dashboard camera footage of the Oct. 20 shooting prompted the city&#39;s decision to settle with the family before a lawsuit was filed.</p><p>Aldermen voted Wednesday without seeing police dashboard camera video, saying they didn&#39;t need to view footage of the incident. Authorities have declined to release the video of the shooting as several other departments have done recently following dramatic confrontations involving police.</p><p>The family&#39;s attorney, Mike Robbins, has said a &quot;fair and prompt resolution&quot; was reached without the necessity of litigation.</p><p>The unidentified officer who shot McDonald has been stripped of his police powers and put on paid desk duty, according to a spokesman for Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.</p><p>An autopsy found McDonald had wounds to his chest, neck, back, arms and right leg.</p></p> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-council-approves-5m-settlement-police-shooting-111871 Former detainees file lawsuit over Homan Square police practices http://www.wbez.org/news/former-detainees-file-lawsuit-over-homan-square-police-practices-111745 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/homan square.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>John Vergara said in 2011 masked police suddenly rushed the Humboldt Park restaurant where he&rsquo;d stopped in for coffee. He and a few other men were cuffed and taken to Homan Square on the city&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>&ldquo;They insisted we knew something, but they just kept us there for hours, chained to the wall, to each other and to the wall. I still don&rsquo;t even know what I was there for,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>At the time, Vergara didn&rsquo;t know the other men with him in custody. He said police refused requests for legal counsel, bathroom facilities and food. He said the cops tried to coerce the men into false confession.</p><p>Eventually, one man in the group was officially arrested. Vergara said the situation changed when he mentioned attorney Blake Horwitz.</p><p>&ldquo;The whole demeanor of the police officers started to change. They started being a little more polite, and a little more scared about knowing that I knew Blake,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Vergara said he and the other men were eventually able to leave, but not before the police threatened them if they didn&rsquo;t keep quiet.</p><p>Vergara and two other men, Carlos Ruiz and Jose Garcia, came forward after a recent article in the <em><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site">The Guardian</a></em> questioning police actions at Homan Square. On behalf of these men, attorney Blake Horwitz filed a lawsuit against four police officers and the City of Chicago.</p><p>Horwitz said these practices could happen anywhere, but said there&rsquo;s something particular about Homan Square, where people are taken off the grid.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a pattern that people experience where they&rsquo;re there for long periods of time and they&rsquo;re not given a right to an attorney,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Horwitz said it&rsquo;s not a matter of shutting down the facility, but that police practices need to change.</p><p>A statement from the Chicago Police Department said it abides by all laws and guidelines related to interviews of suspects and witnesses at Homan Square and any other CPD facility.</p><p>The city&rsquo;s law department said it&rsquo;s reviewing the lawsuit and intends to &ldquo;vigorously defend against it.&rdquo;</p><p>The department notes police recovered 180 grams of cocaine, along with cash, during the incident. It said the case should be dismissed on legal grounds.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-detainees-file-lawsuit-over-homan-square-police-practices-111745 Improviser finds purpose in Chicago police mental health crisis trainings http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141219 Clark Weber.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2004, the Chicago Police Department implemented a voluntary training program to deal with mental health emergencies.</p><p>Today, Chicago has the <a href="http://www.namichicago.org/documents/cit_advocacy_sheet.pdf" target="_blank">largest crisis intervention training program in the world</a>, according to Alexa James, Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)-Chicago.</p><p>Clark Weber is an essential part of the crisis intervention training. In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, Weber describes how he found himself in the greatest role of his life.</p><p>After moving to Chicago in the late 1980s, Weber studied improv at Second City. He loves acting, whether it&rsquo;s theater, television or film. But Weber struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies too. He was diagnosed as bipolar and spent four-and-a-half weeks at a state mental hospital before moving into a group home with Thresholds, a non-profit that assists people with mental illness.</p><p>&ldquo;When I came to Thresholds,&rdquo; Weber said, &ldquo;they had a theater arts program &ndash; which now unfortunately is defunct - and I was told that we have this opportunity to role play with Chicago police to make them aware and see what a real mental health crisis is like.&rdquo;</p><p>Weber soon found himself in the middle of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program, roleplaying as a person in distress.</p><p>The role-playing can be intense, Weber said. &ldquo;Officers have play weapons and a real Taser, which is non-functioning. And instead of using force, they try to talk us down. And we have total freedom to insult the police officers. We have total freedom to swear at them, to make it as real as possible.&rdquo;</p><p>If officers feel &ldquo;that the Taser needs to be used, they&rsquo;ll just point it towards us and say, &lsquo;Taser. Taser. Taser.&rsquo; So we&rsquo;re fake-Tased and then we discuss why the officer feels he or she had to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>Pastor Fred Kinsey is a member of ONE Northside, a group that this past year helped get police to increase the number of officers able to go through CIT training. &ldquo;If you have tools to recognize people in crisis, to know what kinds of medications people are on, that helps,&rdquo; Kinsey said. Chicago Police recently doubled the number of officers who are able to receive CIT training each year, Kinsey said. But that doubling of officers - from 200 to 400 officers each year &ndash; is small compared to the number of officers who don&rsquo;t take the training. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to see the majority, if not all, officers trained,&rdquo; Kinsey said. The biggest impediment to expanding the training program, he said, is not so much financial, but the time costs of taking officers off the street.</p><p>For Clark Weber, the experience has been transformative. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not saying every day&rsquo;s gonna be a good day, or every day&rsquo;s gonna be a great day. Being bipolar I do have my ups and downs. But I run into officers that I&rsquo;ve helped train or they&rsquo;ve been in a class and they&rsquo;ve watched the videos. And I&rsquo;ve had officers come up to me and said, &lsquo;Because of you I helped save this person&rsquo;s life. Or I helped this person get the treatment that they needed.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very empowering,&rdquo; Weber says. &ldquo;For the first time in my life, I feel I have a purpose. I have a place in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 Chicago police commander stripped of power, faces felony charges http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-commander-stripped-power-faces-felony-charges-110720 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated Aug. 28, 10 p.m.</em></p><p>Prosecutors say a veteran Chicago police commander accused of misconduct chased a suspect into an abandoned building, stuck a gun down his throat and held a stun gun to his groin.</p><p>Assistant Cook County State&#39;s Attorney Lauren Freeman says DNA found on the gun is a match for the suspect who alleges he was abused during a January 2013 arrest.</p><p>Commander Glenn Evans, 52, is facing felony charges related to an excessive-force complaint filed by the man arrested.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" 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 dir="ltr">Evans has been on the Chicago police force for 28 years. He climbed the ranks, earning awards for valor and merit while serving in some of the city&rsquo;s toughest neighborhoods. Evans also gained a reputation among the rank-and-file, and residents in the districts he served, as an aggressive, hard-working cop.</p><p dir="ltr">Dozens of excessive-force complaints have been filed against Evans over the years, but none quite like those alleged &nbsp;in bond court Thursday.</p><p>Evans was on patrol in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, where he was serving as district commander at the time. He was responding to a report of shots fired in the area when he saw a man he believed to be armed. Evans announced his office and approached the man, who took off on foot. Evans pursued the suspect into an abandoned building--there, he found an unarmed Rickey Williams, 22, in a doorless closet.</p><p>As WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">first reported</a>, an Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) investigation alleges Evans proceeded to stick his .45 caliber, Smith and Wesson, semi-automatic pistol deep down the Williams&#39; throat while holding a taser to his groin.</p><p>Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney Freeman spoke in support of bond Thursday. She said as Evans allegedly held both weapons to the victim, he threatened to kill him if Williams did not tell him where the guns were. No guns were recovered at the scene, but Williams was charged with a misdemeanor reckless conduct offense, which was later dismissed.</p><p>Within three days of the incident, Williams had shared his story--and his DNA--with &nbsp;IPRA. The sample was to be compared to a swab of Evans&rsquo; gun, which was taken on February 1, 2013. It was a couple of months before the samples were sent off to the crime lab for analysis. According to Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez, the results did not come back until the following April.</p><p>&ldquo;As I always say, DNA results are not obtained in 30 minutes like you see on TV,&rdquo; Alvarez said.</p><p>After IPRA received the results, it turned over its findings to Alvarez&rsquo;s office for criminal investigation. It also recommended to the police department that Evans be stripped of his police powers. That didn&rsquo;t happen until Wednesday, when Evans was officially charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p>Evans did not speak at his bond hearing Thursday. But his attorney, Laura Morask, vehemently denied the allegations, calling the investigation &quot;incredibly flawed.&quot;</p><p>She says neither IPRA nor the state&rsquo;s attorney&rsquo;s office asked for Evans&rsquo; account of the incident in their respective investigations.</p><p>Asked whether her office had interviewed Evans, Alvarez said, &ldquo;I won&rsquo;t comment on any statements that were, or were not, made.&rdquo;</p><p>It&#39;s another blow to a department dogged by a reputation for misconduct. Evans is among more than 660 officers who, according to recently released police records, had at least 11 misconduct complaints during a recent five-year period. The records show Evans was not disciplined in any of the incidents.</p><p>Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who promoted Evans in 2012 and has praised him, vigorously defended him at a news conference Monday. Before the bond hearing Thursday, McCarthy issued a release saying that if the alleged actions are true they are &quot;unacceptable.&quot;</p><p>Evans left court without having to pay bail. Judge Laura Sullivan set a recognizance bond of $100,000, which means Evans doesn&rsquo;t have to post bail unless he fails to appear in court. He didn&rsquo;t have to speak with reporters either. The commander, and his attorneys, slipped out a back exit.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 00:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-commander-stripped-power-faces-felony-charges-110720 Congressman calls for removal of police commander accused of assault http://www.wbez.org/news/congressman-calls-removal-police-commander-accused-assault-110642 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Danny Davis AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Rep. Danny Davis says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration should remove a West Side police commander to help avert the sort of violence that has roiled a St. Louis suburb this week.</p><p>Davis (D-Chicago) said Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who is under criminal investigation for allegedly assaulting an arrested man, should be reassigned until the case is over.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s just find some other work right now for the commander to do,&rdquo; Davis said late Tuesday in his East Garfield Park office. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what I think would be in the best interests of promoting the kind of relationships between law enforcement and community&rdquo; that prevents rioting like what hit Ferguson, Missouri, after one of that suburb&rsquo;s police officers fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.</p><p>&ldquo;It has happened many, many times in Chicago,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;So I think an ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans last year allegedly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">jammed his pistol into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth and threatened his life</a>. After a lab test found the arrestee&rsquo;s DNA on that gun, the Independent Police Review Authority recommended in April that police Supt. Garry McCarthy relieve Evans of his police powers and &ldquo;evaluate&rdquo; the commander&rsquo;s assignment.</p><p>The agency also referred the case to State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office.</p><p>The investigation follows at least 45 excessive-force complaints against Evans between 1988 and 2008, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">according to a report detailed last week by WBEZ</a>. Authorities responsible for looking into the complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action.</p><p>McCarthy has credited Evans, a 28-year department veteran, for a drop in shootings in a South Side district he commanded until March.</p><p>Davis, who has campaigned against police brutality in the past, said Evans may be a great police officer but the department should still reassign him &ldquo;until this is cleaned up, so that there are no misunderstandings of what the department believes ought to be the approach to policing.&rdquo;</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans">Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a></strong></p><div>&ldquo;If there is a cloud right now, relative to his use of force and how he might be training officers,&rdquo; said Davis, whose district includes nearly all of Evans&rsquo; district, &ldquo;I would think he not be in the command position.&rdquo;</div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Neither McCarthy nor Emanuel have answered questions about the decision to leave Evans in his post as the investigation continues.</p><p>Reached Tuesday evening about Davis&rsquo;s statements, Emanuel&rsquo;s office did not comment.</p><p>A McCarthy spokesman wrote that the police department takes &ldquo;any allegations seriously but, as is always the case, we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Some rank-and-file officers and community members&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/despite-excessive-force-complaints-police-commander-maintains-support-110618">have spoken up for Evans</a>, calling him an attentive and hard-working crime fighter.</p><p>Evans has declined to comment about the investigation.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1 </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769/posts">Google+</a> and<a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1"> LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/congressman-calls-removal-police-commander-accused-assault-110642 New vigor in Chicago for the war on drugs http://www.wbez.org/news/new-vigor-chicago-war-drugs-110343 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Heroin Operation map.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Drug enforcement officials are singing an old tune with renewed vigor as they fight the war on drugs.</p><p>&ldquo;Hey, it&rsquo;s another great day for the good guys in Chicago,&rdquo; said Jack Riley, standing at a podium surrounded by federal and local officials Thursday.</p><p>He was announcing the arrest of 27 people in connection with a heroin operation on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Authorities say the heroin ring operated in a 12-block area just off the Eisenhower expressway near Douglas Park.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a popular location for kids from the western suburbs because they can buy heroin and then hop back on the highway.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-moves-chicago-suburbs-small-amounts-through-users-109326">How heroin moves to Chicago&#39;s suburbs</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Riley says a new strike force with federal and local authorities sharing information gives him hope that they can make some headway in the decades old war on drugs.</p><p>&ldquo;And to the bad guys out there, hey, we&rsquo;re coming,&rdquo; said Riley. &ldquo;This is a marathon, not a sprint, we&rsquo;re in it for the long haul. We&rsquo;re gonna continue this fight, we&rsquo;re not going to let anybody down and it really makes a difference in the communities when we do things like this.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago police say they&rsquo;ll continue to do undercover buys in the 12-block area even though many of the dealers in that area were arrested this week.</p><p>Al Wysinger is the first deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and the top guy while Superintendent Garry McCarthy is on medical leave recovering from his heart attack.</p><p>He said they&rsquo;ll now saturate the area with officers and continue to make undercover drug buys, &ldquo;to ensure that,&nbsp; A, this gang doesn&rsquo;t come back and try to take over and B, that a new gang doesn&rsquo;t come in and try to take over and they try to start a turf war over this very same territory.&rdquo;</p><p>U.S. attorney Zach Fardon says no one in this case is charged with violence but he says these arrests are an important tool for reducing violence in Chicago.</p><p>He says shutting down this drug operation is going to improve life for the people living in the neighborhood.</p></p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-vigor-chicago-war-drugs-110343 Cook County paying costs when CPD fails to register sex offenders http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-paying-costs-when-cpd-fails-register-sex-offenders-110262 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Amy-Campanelli.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some Cook County public defenders say they&rsquo;re having to try cases in which sex offenders are charged with failure to register, even though they&rsquo;ve tried to do so. It means overburdened attorneys in an overburdened court system are having to deal with cases that shouldn&rsquo;t have been brought in the first place.</p><p>As WBEZ has been reporting, the criminal registration office at the Chicago Police Department is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798">regularly turning away people who are trying to register as sex offenders</a>&nbsp;because the office is too busy. Police records show the department&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236">turned men away 601 times in just the first three months of this year</a>.</p><p>Meaning those men can be arrested for failure to register, which results in incarceration costs, and court costs.</p><p>Amy Campanelli with the Cook County Public Defender&rsquo;s Office says the office has had to take a number of those cases to trial.</p><p>&ldquo;We have had successful jury trials and successful bench trials and sometimes we&rsquo;ve had success at convincing the prosecutor to drop the charges when we can prove that they actually did try to register and it wasn&rsquo;t a willful failure to register on the defendant&rsquo;s part,&rdquo; said Campanelli.</p><p>A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said there are plans to expand the criminal registration office and construction should be completed by August.</p></p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 08:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-paying-costs-when-cpd-fails-register-sex-offenders-110262 Police records show Chicago man tried to register before he was arrested for failing to register http://www.wbez.org/news/police-records-show-chicago-man-tried-register-he-was-arrested-failing-register-110248 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Williams house.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">On February 18th of this year, a man named Byron Williams went to Chicago police headquarters to register as a sex offender, as the law requires. He was turned away because the registration office was too busy that day. Ten days later he was arrested for failing to register.</p><p dir="ltr">According to police records reviewed by WBEZ, Chicago police turned away registrants 601 times in just the first three months of this year. It&rsquo;s an issue WBEZ has been reporting on and you can read our previous stories <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236">here</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798">here</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Back to Byron Williams, I met him in mid-February outside police headquarters where he was nervously waiting to get into the criminal registration office to register as a sex offender. I had spent several days in the line reporting on the strange process people in Chicago have to navigate as they try to register. They spend hours in line at CPD headquarters and then are regularly turned away because police are too busy.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This is like my seventh or eighth day coming trying to register, and each day I come, and then they cut the line off and tell us you got to come back another day and I work every day and I can&rsquo;t make it here early in the morning,&rdquo; said Williams, as he shifted back and forth on his feet trying to stay warm (This was February and the almost exclusively male registrants had waited outside for hours and hours).</p><p dir="ltr">Williams told me he worked as a security guard from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, which made it impossible to get to the registration office.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t do it on the weekends so you can&rsquo;t come on the weekends, and I actually just changed my work schedule, I switched it just so I can be able to make sure I make my registration, but I still can&rsquo;t register!&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">One day, when I waited with sex offenders trying to register, an officer came out and told everyone to line up against the wall. I moved to the wall along with the rest of the group. The officer told the men that the police wouldn&rsquo;t be able to register them. I asked her what the issue was. Angrily, she said she didn&rsquo;t have time to explain it to me.</p><p dir="ltr">She wrote down the names of the men who were in line on a criminal registration log but she told them they could still be arrested. After writing down a few names she looked at me apologetically, and seemingly exasperated, perhaps overworked, she told me that the office was at capacity and that&rsquo;s why everyone would have to come back another day.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ has reviewed the criminal registration logs kept by police and found the department turned men away 601 times in the first three months of this year. It means the police don&rsquo;t know where the sex offenders are until they come back to register, if they bother coming back at all.</p><p dir="ltr">Williams says his boss allowed him to switch shifts with someone else so he could register, but he says he keeps getting turned away, &ldquo;and my boss is like okay you need to make something happen but everytime 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, but he&rsquo;s understanding but he&rsquo;s not understanding and I&rsquo;m like at risk of losing my job and you know how hard it is for a sex offender to find a job? Are you kidding me?&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p dir="ltr">Police records show that Williams was at the registry office on February 18th and 19th and turned away both days. On February 23rd the sticker on his license plate expired. On February 28th he was pulled over by police because of the expired sticker. (He also had a cover on his license plate obscuring it and was driving on a suspended driver&rsquo;s license.)</p><p dir="ltr">Police ran his name. According to the arrest report the name check revealed that Williams was quote, &ldquo;a registered sex offender who was overdue in registering.&rdquo; Since then Williams has been in the Cook County Jail, where it costs taxpayers $52,000 a year to house each inmate.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What are they expected to do? Come back the next day and stand in line again? &nbsp;People can&rsquo;t go every day of their life and await the same fate!&rdquo; said Herb Goldberg, the attorney representing Williams in his case. He says Williams is looking at a long sentence.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s basically facing possibly six years to thirty years for failing to register in a situation where, I believe, he did make valid three attempts to register and was turned away,&rdquo; said Goldberg. &ldquo;And filling the penitentiary up with more people for these types of violations isn&rsquo;t doing anybody any good.&rdquo;</p><p>For months, WBEZ has been seeking an interview with Police Supt. Garry McCarthy to discuss the issues with the criminal registration office. For months McCarthy has refused, and there&rsquo;s been no explanation as to why the media-savvy police chief can&rsquo;t discuss this with WBEZ. In an emailed statement CPD spokesman Adam Collins says the department is planning an expansion of the criminal registration office and construction should be done by August, which should increase efficiency. We&rsquo;d like to talk to McCarthy about that as well, but he continues to refuse.</p></p> Wed, 28 May 2014 20:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/police-records-show-chicago-man-tried-register-he-was-arrested-failing-register-110248 Chicago police fail to register sex offenders 601 times in just three months http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Sex Registry Line_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated June 6, 6 p.m.</em></p><p>On February 13 of this year, Bruce Harley went to the Chicago Police Department Headquarters to register as a sex offender. He was one of 22 people who were turned away that day because the office was simply too busy. That&rsquo;s according to police records. A month later, on March 21, Bruce Harley was approached by Chicago police officers on the West Side of Chicago.</p><p>According to an arrest report, Harley wasn&rsquo;t doing anything illegal but was &ldquo;loitering in an area known for narcotic activity.&rdquo; Officers ran Harley&rsquo;s name and found he had failed to register. Harley told the officers he had tried to register on February 13 but had been turned away. He was arrested anyway and is now in the Cook County Jail, where it costs taxpayers $52,000 a year to house him.</p><p>I first heard about sex offenders being prevented from registering a few months ago.<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798"> I spent several days waiting in line with offenders</a> outside the criminal registration office at Chicago police headquarters. I couldn&rsquo;t believe it when officers came out of the office and told dozens of men who had been waiting for hours that they might as well go home because the office was too busy to register them all. Then the officers warned the men that they could be arrested for failing to register even though they&rsquo;d just waited for hours in line to do just that.</p><p>I went back several times and saw the same scenario play out.</p><p><strong>&#39;Setting people up to be violated&#39;</strong></p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like they&rsquo;re purposely setting people up to be violated to go back to jail.&nbsp; You can&rsquo;t conclude nothing else but that,&rdquo; said Reggie White as he tried to help his brother register back in February.</p><p>Another frustrated man who just gave his name as Terry said, &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;</p><p><strong>Police records detail the failure</strong></p><p>As officers turned offenders away, they wrote down the names of the offenders who had shown up. Using the Freedom of Information Act, WBEZ got copies of those lists. The lists have fields for name, date, time, several other things and then one space for &ldquo;reason for being turned away.&rdquo; In the first three months of this year the office turned people away 601 times, and in that space for the reason it put &ldquo;capacity.&rdquo;</p><p>In the first three months of this year the office turned people away 601 times and in that space for the reason it said, &ldquo;capacity.&rdquo; On some days, like January 14th for example, no one was turned away. But on February 14, 31 people were turned away because the office was at &ldquo;capacity.&rdquo; On March 4, 34 people were turned away; on&nbsp; the 5th, 27 people; on the 6th, 26 people.</p><p><strong>A semi-reluctant advocate</strong></p><p>&ldquo;These registrants try and follow the law. They try and report and register and fulfill their duties but the police department doesn&rsquo;t let them and the police department isn&rsquo;t fulfilling their responsibility to the public,&rdquo; said attorney Patrick Morrissey in a recent interview in the lobby of the Cook County criminal court building at 26th and California. He had just come from a hearing where he was representing a sex offender who is currently in the Cook County Jail for failing to register.</p><p>A year and a half ago Morrissey was in his law office when he got a call from a sex offender who was having trouble registering with the Chicago Police Department. Morrissey was outraged, though his boss, who happens to also be his dad, was not too interested in getting involved in the issue. Morrissey pushed ahead anyway.</p><p>&ldquo;By the City of Chicago refusing to register people and causing them to walk the streets unregistered subject to arrest, is unconscionable,&rdquo; said Morrissey. &ldquo;You know it doesn&rsquo;t only harm these people who have to register and who are subject to arrest, but it harms the public because it detracts from what this law is about, about keeping track of people.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s also costly, not for the police department, but for the taxpayers who have to fund the county jail where it costs $52,000 a year to house inmates. Morrissey has a client who went to the Chicago police registration office and was turned away and then later arrested for failing to register.</p><p>&ldquo;He was in the Cook County Jail from about July of 2011 until April of 2014,&rdquo; said Morrissey. &ldquo;I think there&rsquo;s a lot of people who are currently in the Cook County Jail on a failure to register charge.&rdquo;</p><p>Morrissey is right. According to the Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s office, on April 25 of this year, there were 190 people in the jail on failure to register charges.</p><p>One of them was Bruce Harley, the guy I mentioned at the top of the story, who wasn&rsquo;t doing anything illegal but was approached by police, and when they ran his name they found he had failed to register even though he&rsquo;d tried to register.</p><p>In another example of penny wise but pound foolish, on January 22, police records show that Jerome Sanders, a homeless man, was turned away from the registration office because, not surprisingly, he didn&rsquo;t have the hundred dollar fee sex offenders have to pay once a year. He was arrested less than two weeks later, February 3, for failure to register and is in the county jail, where he&rsquo;s costing taxpayers $143 a day.</p><p>Or take Larry Hill. He went to police headquarters March 4, 5, 6 and 7. The records show that each time the Chicago police refused to register him because they were too busy. Finally on March 10 he made it into the office and he was arrested because something called an investigative alert had been issued for him. The Chicago police had been looking for this guy and for a week he&rsquo;d been standing in a line outside CPD headquarters.</p><p><em>In the original version of this story we had one more example here of a man named Robert Mitchell who was turned away from the registration office because he was deaf and needed sign language assistance. According to Cook County records a Robert Mitchell was in jail in late April. WBEZ identified two dozen cases in which men who were turned away from CPD&rsquo;s registration office and later turned up in jail. WBEZ brought all those cases to CPD and repeatedly asked before our story aired for information and reaction to those cases, &nbsp;but got no information on the cases until several days after our story was published. The Chicago Police Department provided documents on only three cases. It did provide records showing that there are two Robert Mitchells and the one who was deaf, who was indeed turned away from the registration office, has not been arrested. He returned to the registration office and successfully registered. We regret the error. Over the last few months CPD has provided little information to WBEZ &nbsp;as we have sought to report on this story. &nbsp;CPD spokesperson Adam Collins has now promised an interview with the deputy chief in charge of the registration office.</em></p><p><strong>Little information and some misinformation from Chicago Police</strong></p><p>For several months WBEZ has repeatedly requested an interview with Police Supt. Garry McCarthy to have a substantive and thoughtful discussion about this complicated issue and for several months, he has refused, and he continues to refuse. Instead of insightful conversations we&rsquo;ve gotten dismissive emails. We&rsquo;ve also gotten written statements containing misleading information that minimizes the extent of the problem.</p><p>For example, in February, department spokesman Adam Collins sent us a 14-sentence statement saying the police department proactively sends the names of registrants who were turned away to the &ldquo;Illinois State Police so they know the individual came in to register and he or she should not be subject to arrest.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Tracie Newton with the Illinois State Police, which maintains the sex offender registration, that list from CPD is absolutely useless. Newton says CPD just started sending lists over one day without any discussion or explanation and there&rsquo;s nothing in the statutes that allows the state police to do anything with the lists.</p><p>This past week, Collins sent another email statement saying the department is expanding the registration office and construction should be done by August. Collins provided no details about how much the project will cost or whether there will be additional officers detailed to that section. He also provided no explanation for the hundreds of men that have been turned away from the registration office and have been arrested or are subject to arrest.</p></p> Wed, 28 May 2014 05:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-fail-register-sex-offenders-601-times-just-three-months-110236