WBEZ | Garry McCarthy http://www.wbez.org/tags/garry-mccarthy 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 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 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 McCarthy dismissive of crime research http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3567_Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Anita Alvarez_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the wake of a violent weekend Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is picking up an old talking point.</p><p>According to the Chicago police there were 26 shooting incidents this weekend, leaving 32 victims. Three people died from their wounds.</p><p>McCarthy says Illinois needs tougher gun laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for people caught carrying illegal guns.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had this conversation,&rdquo; McCarthy said at a press conference Monday. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been having this conversation since I got here.&rdquo;</p><p>Crime researchers say there&rsquo;s no evidence to suggest that mandatory minimums reduce gun violence,&nbsp; but they say there&rsquo;s evidence that additional police officers would bring down violence.</p><p>McCarthy&rsquo;s response: &ldquo;Research is research, right?&nbsp; And you can make an argument any which way you want to based on what data says.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s real simple.&nbsp; If you don&rsquo;t go to jail for gun possession you continue to carry guns.&nbsp; You continue to carry guns, people get shot.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel was unable to push the mandatory minimums bill through the legislature last year. The sponsor, Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Democrat,&nbsp; has said he plans to make another push,&nbsp; though there&rsquo;s no movement on the bill right now.</p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 Teens learning radio skills in Chicago police program http://www.wbez.org/news/teens-learning-radio-skills-chicago-police-program-109447 <p><p>A pair of police officers on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side are helping teens learn radio production in an effort to keep them off the streets and improve their views on cops.</p><p>The program in the Englewood neighborhood fits with a push by Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy to improve the relationship between police officers and the people they serve.</p><p>It is called the 7th District Youth Anti-Violence Media Program. It introduces teens to the ins and outs of radio production, and gives them a chance to get on the air.</p><p>The classes are held three days a week at Kennedy-King College. The broadcasting instructors there pitch in to teach the kids.</p><p>The program was started by Daliah Goree-Pruitt and Claudette Knight, both community policing (or CAPS) officers. The two started out as beat cops. Now they are in charge of neighborhood outreach, counseling crime victims, and running community meetings &nbsp;in a neighborhood struggling with some of the highest crime rates in the city.</p><p>The two had a lot to do already. Knight and Goree-Pruitt also do a weekly food give-away and hand out turkeys before Thanksgiving. On the Saturday before Christmas, they gave away toys at the station house located at 1438 W. 63rd Street.</p><p>But 7th District Deputy Chief Leo Schmitz came to them last spring with a new task.</p><p>&ldquo;He was like, &lsquo;Think of something that we can do for the kids,&rsquo;&rdquo; Goree-Pruitt said.</p><p>Schmitz was worried about the summer then coming up, when hot temperatures and idle teens could contribute to a spike in violent crime.</p><p>Knight said they wanted to do something new.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, something different, some other added activity because you always hear basketball, baseball, but not all kids are sports-inclined,&rdquo; Knight said.</p><p>They wanted to do a swim program, but they could not get the funding. Goree-Pruitt said the only thing the department had money for was t-shirts for the participants. So Goree-Pruitt and Knight needed partners.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CAPS%202%20%281%29.jpg" style="height: 272px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Jamar Houston of WKKC teaches Jermaine Robinson how to DJ. (WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></div><p>Kennedy-King College, about a mile west of the 7th District station, has a broadcasting department and its own radio station, WKKC. Knight said it was the &ldquo;perfect opportunity.&rdquo; They approached the college and got the OK.</p><p>So all they needed were students. This turned out to not be easy. The two went personally to high school principals in the area, asking them to recommend students for the program&hellip; and they got almost no response. Then they asked area pastors - again, nothing.</p><p>So Goree-Pruitt and Knight just started approaching random kids on the street and around the neighborhood.</p><p>That&rsquo;s how Genavie Clark heard about it.</p><p>&ldquo;One day [I was] sitting in Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts, and all the officers were sitting in Dunkin&rsquo; Donuts, and Officer Goree came up to my table and she told us about the radio program. So I signed up for it,&rdquo; Genavie said.</p><p>Ultimately, the two got 20 teens of high school age for that first summer class, and it went so well they did a smaller after-school version this fall.</p><p>The program gets by mostly on the power of Goree-Pruitt and Knight&rsquo;s charisma, which is considerable. But these two career cops know nothing about radio production, and they do not have any money to pay instructors.</p><p>So the students learn mostly by observing WKKC in action.</p><p>The kids are exposed to a lot of the skills that go into producing a radio show: hosting, logging tape, mixing audio - even DJ-ing.</p><p>Station manager Dennis Snipe comes in every once in awhile to talk to the students about diction and public speaking, the assistant program director lets them look over her shoulder while she logs tape, and the hosts give them pointers during music breaks.</p><p>The summer classes were from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so the students had to be fed. The owner of a shopping plaza across the street from the station donated Subway sandwiches.</p><p>So it&rsquo;s a nice story. But at first glance, none of it seems much like police work.</p><p>Knight disagrees.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about community interaction, because the youth especially, most of their interaction with the police is negative. So if you start introducing a positive interaction at a teenage level, then they start to view us in a different way,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>WBEZ ran a story on Dec. 23 about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/8000-chicago-cops-now-little-friendlier-109425">police legitimacy training: thousands of Chicago cops re-learning how to best interact with the people they serve.</a></p><p>Efforts such as the radio program and legitimacy training fit with Superintendent McCarthy&rsquo;s priority on what he calls a return to community policing.</p><p>A recent study by Yale criminologist Andrew Papachristos found that Chicago in 2013 has had its lowest violent-crime rate in the past three decades. McCarthy credits community policing with a decrease in crime.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt believes it&rsquo;s part of her job to connect with people.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel like I can help these kids. I may not help all of them, but the ones that I can help, they&rsquo;ll know the police department just don&rsquo;t lock kids up,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Besides teaching them how to produce a radio show and to like cops, the officers use the class as a way to help the students deal with their own issues. They talk to the students about resolving conflicts, safe sex, and staying out of trouble.</p><p>Before they start the radio lessons, the students gather around a round table in a small windowless room across from the WKKC studios.</p><p>One of the girls is talking to Goree-Pruitt about problems she is having with her stepmom. She says her dad is getting a divorce, and he blames her.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt councils her on being the mature one, even though her stepmom is the adult.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had the same issues, having two parents to living with just my mom, to my mom getting remarried, to my mom getting rid of all four of her daughters to be with this new husband, to my dad raising four daughters by himself. So I am no different from you all. Like I tell you all, because we&rsquo;re the police doesn&rsquo;t mean that we&rsquo;re not human,&rdquo; Goree-Pruitt told them.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt and Knight look tougher than they sound, and they both spent time on the beat, dealing with high-stress situations. But they also have families of their own, so maybe it is not surprising that they connect so well with teens.</p><p>&ldquo;When I come here it just, all my stress just goes away,&rdquo; freshman Wattsita Henley said.</p><p>The fall class, which ended earlier this month, was five high schoolers, three girls and two boys, and most did not seem like the types police really need to worry about.</p><p>Freshman James Cross Jr. said the closest he has ever gotten to drugs is seeing weed in a bag at school.</p><p>&ldquo;One of my friends showed me a bag, and I don&rsquo;t know why but I just started laughing,&rdquo; James &nbsp;told the group.</p><p>The other boy, Jermaine Robinson, has gotten into some trouble in the past.</p><p>He left Englewood to live with his grandmother in suburban Hazel Crest for a few years. &nbsp;He said he came back because it was just too quiet out there.</p><p>Robinson is about to start at Winnie Mandela, an alternative high school in the South Shore neighborhood.</p><p>He likes working with his hands, so he is trying to learn how to DJ.</p><p>His ultimate goal is to be a computer engineer.</p><p>&ldquo;Because like, when I was in 5th grade we did a program, and I earned a computer and I was taking it apart and putting it back together and stuff like that,&rdquo; Jermaine said.</p><p>Goree-Pruitt said she is not worried about what type of kids they are reaching, adding that she is just glad to be reaching any.</p><p>&ldquo; All I can say is that you touch one you reach another one, because they&rsquo;ll tell, they&rsquo;ll tell their friends.&rdquo;</p><p>The next radio class starts in January.</p><p>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</p></p> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/teens-learning-radio-skills-chicago-police-program-109447 8,000 Chicago cops now a little friendlier http://www.wbez.org/news/8000-chicago-cops-now-little-friendlier-109425 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Bruce Lipman.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>There&rsquo;s a video that&rsquo;s gone viral of a Baltimore police officer getting some kids in trouble for skateboarding. He puts a seemingly compliant 14-year-old in a headlock and pulls him to the ground. &ldquo;Sit down!&rdquo; the officer yells. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not a dude!&nbsp; When I&rsquo;m talking to you, you shut your mouth and you listen!&rdquo;</p><p>The officer is unhinged. The video is about three and a half minutes and there are several times when the confrontation seems to be over. The kids stand around looking down and shuffling their feet but then the cop turns around, comes back and kicks it off again.</p><p>&ldquo;Son, what is your problem?&nbsp; Do you go to school and give your teacher this kind of lip and back-talk your teacher?&nbsp; Now what makes you think you can do it to a police officer?&rdquo;</p><p>The teen, flabbergasted, says Duuuude.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Stop calling me dude!&rdquo; the officer yells. &ldquo;A dude is somebody who works on a ranch!&nbsp; I&rsquo;m not man, I&rsquo;m not dude, I am officer Rivieri.&rdquo;</p><p>It was probably helpful that Officer Rivieri identified himself on tape for future disciplinary proceedings. He was fired.</p><p>Cops are trained to take control, but Chicago police are being taught there&rsquo;s more than one way to do that. You don&rsquo;t always have to come on strong, yelling out commands. In fact, officers are learning that that approach can actually make policing much harder.</p><p><strong>McCarthy cites research</strong></p><p>The video with Officer Rivieri is being used in a class at the Chicago police academy in what NOT to do. The one-day training on something called police legitimacy, an idea based on academic research into effective policing. Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been pushing it since he came to Chicago. He often drops the names of researchers and academics Tracey Meares and Tom Tyler who have articulated and championed the twin ideas of procedural justice and police legitimacy.</p><p>McCarthy explained those ideas on WBEZ&rsquo;s Afternoon Shift in February of 2012.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not what you do, it&rsquo;s how you do it,&rdquo; said McCarthy. &quot;So you can stop somebody but when you explain to them why you stopped them, and when you leave them with a different taste in their mouths rather than saying now, get the hell off the corner, there&rsquo;s a whole different intention that people take away from that encounter.&rdquo;</p><p>So, let&rsquo;s say you get pulled over and get a ticket but the cop was really nice. The research finds that you could leave that interaction feeling good about police even though you got a ticket. On the flip side, let&rsquo;s say you don&rsquo;t get the ticket but the cop is a total&hellip; well, let&rsquo;s keep it clean for the kids and just say he&rsquo;s not nice. Even though you didn&rsquo;t get a ticket you&rsquo;ll likely leave that interaction with a negative view of police.</p><p>The point is, it&rsquo;s not just the outcome that matters. The process is important, hence the name: procedural justice. McCarthy explains. &ldquo;You explain to them why you stopped them, somebody got shot here, there&rsquo;s somebody with a gun around the corner, whatever the case might be, instead of just saying, &lsquo;Shut up.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll ask the questions.&rsquo;&nbsp; Whole different dynamic there, so that&rsquo;s a cultural change in policing that we have to infuse into the department-- of respect.&rdquo;</p><p>Since McCarthy made those comments almost two years ago the department has trained 8,000&nbsp; officers. McCarthy says this is a step towards repairing the legacy of mistrust between poor communities of color and the police.</p><p><strong>At the police academy</strong></p><p>By seven on a fall morning, Mike Reischl is getting a couple dozen officers settled in a class room at the Chicago Police Academy on the city&rsquo;s West Side. He tells the officers there&rsquo;s coffee in the back and asks them to contribute 50 cents. He clarifies that all the money goes to purchasing the coffee and drinks at the back. I guess it&rsquo;s just in case you think someone might be skimming a couple quarters here and there.</p><p>&ldquo;Police legitimacy, it&rsquo;s got a lousy name doesn&rsquo;t it?&nbsp; It does!&rdquo; Reischl tells the class. &ldquo;Somewhere along the line you get the connotation that somehow you&rsquo;re illegitimate, right?&nbsp; So you got to come here and be legitimate.&rdquo;</p><p>Reischl tells the officers that they&rsquo;re not here because something went wrong, or because someone filed a lawsuit.</p><p>Like the other instructors Reischl wears a shirt and tie and there&rsquo;s a gun on his hip. Police officers sit in plainclothes at desks pushed together into groups of four. Half the lights are off in the room so it&rsquo;s easier to see the powerpoint presentation on the screen. Reischl casts a shadow on the screen as he moves around the front of the classroom and lays out a scenario.</p><p>&ldquo;You got four gangbangers up against the car,&rdquo; Reischl says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s Friday night in the summertime, it&rsquo;s a real hot night.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s going to be rocking and rolling all night long and all weekend long.&nbsp; So you start your tour of duty, you want to find out what&rsquo;s going on, what&rsquo;s the conflicts?&nbsp; What&rsquo;s the problems I&rsquo;m going to have to manage?&nbsp; So you see the usuals on the corner and you throw &lsquo;em up against the car and you start going through &lsquo;em. You want that intelligence, okay, you build that rapport. All of a sudden they start talking to you. Yeah, Junebug&rsquo;s mad at Mookie.&nbsp; Mookie&rsquo;s mad at Junebug, all that kind of nonsense. Alright?&nbsp; But there&rsquo;s four of them and there&rsquo;s two of you. Good officer safety technique, hey get another unit over there. Go on the radio get back-up. The gangbangers, they start giving you the information you need. All weekend long you&rsquo;re going to need this information. All of a sudden your back-up shows up, car pulls up, all of a sudden copper hops out of the car, starts walking toward those kids, every one of those kids shut up because they realize who&rsquo;s walking towards them. All of a sudden all of that intel goes out the window.&nbsp; Why did they shut up when that one officer shows up on the scene?&nbsp; Didn&rsquo;t treat them fairly and respectfully, and now guess what?&nbsp; You don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s going on on your beat.&rdquo;</p><p>I can&rsquo;t help but think that if there are any cops in this room who have used bull-headed techniques in the past, they might be shrinking in their chairs at the thought that their brothers and sisters in blue might view their tactics as moronic. Reischl goes on to tell his students they need to listen to the citizens they&rsquo;re serving.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t give anybody a voice and you don&rsquo;t listen, the people on the other end get irritated and get mad.&nbsp; How many coppers, &lsquo;sit down, shut up.&rsquo;&nbsp; &lsquo;I didn&rsquo;t even tell you why I&hellip;.&rsquo; &lsquo;Sit down and shut up!&rsquo;&nbsp; Well, I didn&rsquo;t even tell you why i called you&hellip;.&rsquo;&nbsp; &lsquo; SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP I&rsquo;M THE POLICE I&rsquo;LL LOCK YOU UP!&rsquo;&nbsp; Coppers do that, right?&nbsp; They don&rsquo;t give em the voice,&rdquo; says&nbsp; Reischl.</p><p>All this training is based on research measuring how citizens engage with police. But Reischl knows his audience and he and the other instructors sometimes poke fun at the &ldquo;pointy headed&rdquo; researchers and academics who come up with the phrases like, &ldquo;giving voice.&rdquo; But one instructor tells the cops that even the best batters in the major leagues take advice on their swing from people who can&rsquo;t hit a ball but know the physics of hitting the sweet spot on the bat.</p><p>And the instructors appeal to the officers&rsquo; self-interest.</p><p><strong>Chill out.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ll be less stressed.</strong></p><p>Reischl asks each pod of four officers to write down their goals on a large white sheet of paper that&rsquo;s taped to the wall. Each group comes up with essentially the same list. The officers want to make it home safe each night, make it to retirement and avoid lawsuits or getting sent to prison themselves.</p><p>Instructors then talk about how treating citizens with respect is a way to get more trust and compliance from citizens. Compliance means less stress and less physical contact and that means cops get to go home safe.</p><p>For Officer Nicholas Gould, a lot of this is just common sense. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a good day if you don&rsquo;t throw down.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t need to come to work and get hurt.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t need broken bones or skinned knees or, what&rsquo;s the one rule?&nbsp; To go home safely,&rdquo; Gould says.</p><p>Gould is 6&rsquo;1&rdquo; and more than 300 pounds and in this classroom he kind of looks like an adult sitting in a child-sized desk. We chat during a break and he tells me perhaps because of his size, he rarely needs to put his hands on people to get them to comply ,but he also says he&rsquo;s respectful and able to keep his cool even in heated situations.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m able to, I don&rsquo;t know how you say this, like, just calm people.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m very good at that,&rdquo; he says..</p><p><strong>Does it work?</strong></p><p>A couple officers I talk to make fun of this class. One who is a couple months from retirement says it&rsquo;s a little bit late.&nbsp; But most of the officers say it&rsquo;s a good reminder. That&rsquo;s what Lt. Bruce Lipman hoped when he developed the training.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a fairly nasty part of society that police see,&rdquo; Lipman says during the lunch break of the legitimacy training. &ldquo;We very seldom get called to a house and asked, &lsquo;Hey listen, you want to come over and have tea and coffee?&rsquo; Even people who are, you know, just victimized, we feel bad for those victims. Just over time, just starts to make officers cynical and they start to kind of lose their way a little bit about why they started on the job.&nbsp; Most of the officers, 99 percent of the time, I mean really, and the statistics bear this out, do the right thing. They&rsquo;ve learned this is the way to do it but this is more like a refresher for them.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>More research</strong></p><p>Lipman says the police department isn&rsquo;t just hoping that this training has an impact. They&rsquo;re measuring it with help from Wesley Skogan at Northwestern University. Lipman says thousands of officers have been surveyed, some before taking the training and some after. They were asked to rate statements like &ldquo;listening and talking to people is a good way to take charge of situations.&rdquo; Officers who filled out the survey after the training gave that statement significantly more importance than officers who hadn&rsquo;t yet had the training.</p></p> Sat, 21 Dec 2013 23:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/8000-chicago-cops-now-little-friendlier-109425 Chicago Police: 6,500 guns seized so far this year http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-6500-guns-seized-so-far-year-109337 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP758722197507.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Police say they have seized more than 6,500 illegal firearms this year.</p><p>The department routinely leads the nation in the number of guns seized by a wide margin. The latest totals put the force on pace to confiscate about 7,000 illegal guns for the year.</p><p>Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has said that the seizure of illegal firearms is part of a crime fighting effort that has resulted in a significant drop in the number of homicides and shootings this year. In 2012 the city&#39;s violence &mdash; and a total of more than 500 homicides &mdash; caught the attention of the national media.</p><p>In a news release, McCarthy reiterated his contention that even tougher state and federal gun laws are needed to reduce those numbers.</p></p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-6500-guns-seized-so-far-year-109337 Heroin: It's cheap, it's available and it's dangerous business http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-its-cheap-its-available-and-its-dangerous-business-109304 <p><p>Chicago is a major trafficking route for <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-impact-cartels-dispatch-agents-deep-inside-us" target="_blank">Mexican cartels</a> and has become a hub for the distribution of heroin across the Midwest. The dangerous result has been an increase in heroin overdose deaths in Illinois.</p><p>That has WBEZ and the <em><a href="http://chicagoreader.com/heroin%20" target="_blank">Chicago Reader</a></em> digging into how so much heroin gets here, how it&rsquo;s distributed and who gets hurt. Those stories will unfold over the next two weeks.</p><p>But let&rsquo;s begin with some background:</p><p>Heroin is purer, the street price has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-its-cheap-its-available-and-its-dangerous-business-109304#price">significantly dropped</a> and the growing cohort of users is white suburban young people.</p><p>Jack Riley is the no-nonsense agent who runs the Chicago division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He&rsquo;s made it a goal to dismantle one Mexican cartel&rsquo;s grip.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really clear to us that Sinaloa really controls 70-80 percent of the narcotics in and out of Chicago and thus the Midwest,&rdquo; Riley said.</p><blockquote><p><strong>By the numbers</strong></p></blockquote><blockquote><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-its-cheap-its-available-and-its-dangerous-business-109304#seizures">Heroin seizures in the Chicago area</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-its-cheap-its-available-and-its-dangerous-business-109304#ervisits">Heroin-related ER visits by city</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-its-cheap-its-available-and-its-dangerous-business-109304#price">U.S. retail price of heroin&nbsp;</a></strong></li></ul></blockquote><p>The leader of the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/magazine/how-a-mexican-drug-cartel-makes-its-billions.html?_r=0" target="_blank">Sinaloa</a> cartel is <a href="http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tf1817.aspx" target="_blank">El Chapo Guzman</a>. He&rsquo;s considered the world&rsquo;s most powerful drug trafficker and is designated &ldquo;Public Enemy Number 1&rdquo; in Chicago. And, by the way, Riley says Guzman once put a bounty on his head.</p><p>&ldquo;Chapo Guzman is a logistical genius. He&rsquo;s been on top of the game for 25 years. He has an unlimited amount of revenue. He has the ability to corrupt, obviously to kill. And I think he&rsquo;s relentless in his control of the Midwest and heroin market,&rdquo; Riley said.</p><p>Riley previously worked DEA investigations in the border city of El Paso, Texas.</p><p>He said the cartel&rsquo;s focus on heroin is a market decision, based on Sinaloa&rsquo;s ability to produce and continue to supply the drug, with the cooperation of Colombian producers.</p><p>&ldquo;If you look into Mexico, you&rsquo;re seeing them really fortify their ability to produce high-quality poppies and in turn produce heroin on their own. That&rsquo;s something we hadn&rsquo;t seen up until the last few years. The majority of it was being produced by the Colombians. We&rsquo;re seeing the migration of two producers come together to serve one market,&rdquo; Riley said.</p><p>And that is contributing to the heroin problem in Chicago, its suburbs and the Midwest, because the drug is more accessible these days at cheaper prices.</p><p>The Sinaloa cartel&rsquo;s impact is currently playing out in a smattering of <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/October-2013/Sinaloa-Cartel/" target="_blank">federal</a>&nbsp;court <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/drug-trafficking-case-deal-flores-twins-witnesses/Content?oid=11463514" target="_blank">cases</a> in Chicago.</p><p><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/Heroin seizures_1.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" name="seizures" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Heroin%20seizures_1.jpg" style="float: left; width: 375px; height: 401px;" title="Click to enlarge (WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></a></p><p><a name="seizures"></a>Heroin dealing stretches throughout the Chicago region and collar counties.</p><p>However, the most visible aspect of drug trafficking is typically open-air drug markets in low-income areas of the city.</p><blockquote><p><strong>RELATED: <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/heroin-arrests-sales-dealers-west-side-economics/Content?oid=11722393" target="_blank">The <em>Chicago Reader</em>&#39;s Mick Dumke on the business of drugs: The West Side&rsquo;s main employer&nbsp;</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>And that face tends to be young black males on the corner. This group is also disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. &nbsp;And they&rsquo;re there for narcotics violations. Open-air drug markets disrupt quality of life and often invite violence in many Chicago communities. But they are just part of the heroin story.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of drug selling that occurs that isn&rsquo;t open air. We don&rsquo;t see that, so there&rsquo;s that hidden part,&rdquo; said Kathleen Kane-Willis. She is the director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University&mdash;and a former heroin user.</p><p>Kane-Willis said people of all races struggle with substance abuse.</p><p>&ldquo;The drug markets tend to reinforce existing beliefs about who uses and who sells drugs. So we tend to think of African-American males as users and sellers of drugs. As we start to look outside of that framework we can see that&rsquo;s not the case,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Experts say the upward trend of heroin use started in 2004. In fact, Metro Chicago now leads the nation in emergency room visits for heroin overdoses.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/insert-images/Heroin related ER visits_1.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" name="ervisits" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Heroin%20related%20ER%20visits_1.jpg" style="float: right; width: 400px; height: 386px;" title="Click to enlarge (WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></a></div><p><a name="ervisits"></a>Kate Mahoney is the executive director of Peer Services, a suburban-focused treatment program based in Evanston. People trickle in for counseling and methadone, which treats heroin addiction, one weekday morning.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m shocked that I&rsquo;ve been doing this work for 30 years and in 1983 when I started working in addiction treatment, a bag of heroin cost about $50. And today in 2013, you can purchase a bag of heroin (for) between $5-10,&rdquo; Mahoney said.</p><p>That makes the drug more accessible. And people don&rsquo;t have to use needles anymore. Heroin can be snorted and is regarded in some circles as a recreational drug. Law enforcement officials say it arrives from Mexico 90 percent pure and is sold at a purity of nine to 12 percent on the street after being cut and pumped with additives.</p><p>Mahoney says decades ago, heroin was an end-of-the-line drug after people had been abusing 10 to 12 other drugs. But it&rsquo;s not always the case.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a number of parents on the North Shore who can&rsquo;t see or believe that their child has a problem. We&rsquo;ve seen young people die because they don&rsquo;t understand that it could be their child&mdash;who&rsquo;s going to a top high school and achieving well and simultaneously looking at college applications and prepping for the ACT or SAT&mdash;might also be using heroin,&rdquo; Mahoney said.</p><p>Chicago is uniquely positioned as a major heroin hub because of its centralized location and ample transportation that can help people deliver and disperse narcotics across the Midwest.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department is trying to curb the street violence that accompanies the drug trade. The police narcotics strategy is to erase open-air drug markets and turn those blocks back over to the community by coordinating city services and clean up.</p><p>But doesn&rsquo;t that mean drug dealing will move to another corner?</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think that law enforcement is going to fix the narcotics problem in this country. And many people would say that&rsquo;s blasphemy, but I think it&rsquo;s reality,&rdquo; Supt. Garry McCarthy said. &ldquo;The fact is what&rsquo;s our baseline issue: reducing crime and violence in the city. What I&rsquo;m trying to do is stop getting people killed on the street corners in the city of Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>But as long as the demand for drugs is high, the supply will be there<a name="price"></a>.<span id="cke_bm_227E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_226E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_248E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_247E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_246E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_245E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_244E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_243E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_242E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_241E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_240E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_239E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_238E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_237E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_236E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_235E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_234E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_233E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_232E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_231E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_230E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_229E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_228E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_227E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_226E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_225E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AluraWM750W7dDhWUGxSM2VPY0NKY0R6elVRcE9RalE&transpose=1&headers=0&range=A1%3AAE100&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"animation":{"duration":0},"width":620,"hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Inflation-adjusted prices (in 2011 dollars) for purchases of 1 gram or less. Source: U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.","minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":null,"viewWindow":null,"maxValue":null},"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Heroin's U.S. retail price per pure gram","height":364,"legend":"none","focusTarget":"series","useFirstColumnAsDomain":true,"isStacked":false,"tooltip":{}},"state":{},"view":{"columns":[{"calc":"stringify","type":"string","sourceColumn":0},1]},"isDefaultVisualization":false,"chartType":"ColumnChart","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script><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> Wed, 04 Dec 2013 18:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-its-cheap-its-available-and-its-dangerous-business-109304