War Zone: 5 Dead And At Least 25 Wounded Over The Weekend In Chicago Illinois Gun Battles

October 15, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – For the second time in her life, a South Side Chicago grandmother learned one of her grandsons was shot to death.

Florine Monroe said she received the call Saturday that her 17-year-old grandson, Richard Modell, was killed. The news came six months after Monroe buried another grandchild, who also was killed by gunfire.

“They’ve got to get these guns out of young people’s hands,” Monroe said, quietly crying.

Police said Modell and his 18-year-old friend were on their way to meet a friend around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when someone shot them in the 6300 block of South Rhodes Avenue. Authorities said Modell may have been targeted because of a fight between rival gangs.

“He was trying to get a scholarship for football,” Monroe said.

The 18-year-old with Modell was shot multiple times and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Police said they don’t believe he had any gang ties.

The teens were among the youngest shot over the weekend. Since Friday five people were killed and at least 25 people were wounded in separate shootings from Rogers Park to West Pullman neighborhoods.

Early Sunday, a 54-year-old woman was struck in the 700 block of East 79th Street in the Chatham neighborhood, police said. She was walking to a nearby store when someone opened fire. She was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where her condition stabilized.

In a separate incident, gunfire was exchanged around 12:30 a.m. Sunday in Rogers Park, police said, when a 21-year-old approached two men sitting in a van near Morse and Greeview avenues. The shooter was struck in the face and neck, and one of the men was shot in the back.

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Feds Investigating Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr’s Finances After His Mental Meltdown – Son Of Media Whore Jesse Jackson

October 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The snowballing troubles of Jesse Jackson Jr. took a new turn Friday with the revelation that federal investigators have launched a probe into “suspicious activity” in the South Shore congessman’s finances.

Focusing on a completely new area of scrutiny for the son of the famed civil rights leader, the investigation is not related to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat, a scandal that has ensnared Jackson in the past, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rather, the probe — based in the Washington, D.C., FBI field office —is focusing on “suspicious activity” involving the congressman’s finances related to his House seat and the possibility of inappropriate expenditures, the sources said.

The probe was active in the weeks prior to Jackson taking a leave from his U.S. House seat on June 10, a leave his office ultimately attributed to his need for treatment for bipolar disorder, the sources said.

It was unclear whether the investigation involved the congressman’s official House spending account or his campaign finance account. But one source said it was an account monitored by Congress.

All members of the U.S. House receive an allowance to operate offices in Washington and in their districts. The allowances for rank-and-file members ranged from $1.4 million to $2 million in 2010, according to the House website.

Jackson’s congressional spokesman Frank Watkins said he was unaware of any investigation, had no comment and had no immediate way to get a hold of the congressman.

One of Jackson’s attorney’s, Paul Langer, repeatedly said “no comment,” when asked whether Jackson was under investigation related to his finances.

When asked if he was still representing Jackson or if the congressman had retained another attorney, Langer said:

“I can’t even comment on that.”

News of the probe — first disclosed by the Sun-Times — comes as questions increasingly swirl around Jackson’s absence from not only his official duties in Washington, but the campaign trail as the Nov. 6 election nears.

Citing exhaustion, Jackson, 47, stopped working, according to his staff, on June 10. His staff did not make that known until two weeks later.

He went to a clinic in Arizona then to the Mayo Clinic, which released a statement saying he was being treated for a bipolar disorder. Jackson is up for re-election Nov. 6 but has not campaigned since he won the Democratic primary in March.

The Jacksons put their Washington, D.C., home on the market last month at a price of $2.5 million. A campaign spokesman said at the time that the home was put on the market to pay for mounting medical bills. They subsequently took it off the market, saying it was a security issue.

Jackson came under scrutiny after one of his campaign donors approached Blagojevich with a pay-to-play offer regarding the appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. Jackson has denied any wrongdoing, but that revelation sparked an investigation by a House ethics committee.

Jackson was first elected to Congress in 1995 and boasted of almost never missing a vote until he vanished from public view in June.

That’s when his office announced that he was taking off work to undergo medical treatment for “exhaustion.” Under pressure to reveal more details of his condition from even fellow politicians, Jackson’s office gradually dribbled out more extensive explanations over the course of the summer.

He finally surfaced nearly a month later when Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The clinic revealed Jackson was being treated for Bipolar II depression, “a treatable condition that affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive and is most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors.”

Jackson returned to his home in Washington, D.C., early last month, but he still has not returned to work. His wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), recently said he may not return until after the November election, when he is up for another two-year term in the U.S. House.

“I can’t speak to when that’s going to happen or how that’s going to happen,” she said. “I can only say that I will continue to rely on [doctors’] expertise. I would only ask for patience.”

The couple has been loathe to speak to the media.

During a fund-raising event last month, Sandi Jackson called reporters waiting to speak to her outside “jackals.” She went to great lengths to avoid the media that night, waiting inside the darkened, otherwise empty restaurant until the last camera departed before she would exit.

The congressman once was among the more extroverted Chicago politicians, but he has been far more reclusive since his name was first linked to the scandal surrounding Blagojevich almost four years ago.

Jackson friend and campaign contributor Raghuveer Nayak told authorities he approached the then-governor with a lucrative fund-raising offer that could have led to Blagojevich’s appointment of Jackson to Obama’s old Senate seat.

Jackson has denied that version of events, and he was never charged with wrongdoing.

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War Zone: Two Teens And 24 Others Wounded Overnight In Chicago Illinois Gun Battles

October 14, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Two teenagers were killed and 24 others were wounded during a city night filled with gun violence.

The youngest victim, Richard Modell, 17, died from his wounds after being shot along with a friend as the two went to meet a girl in the West Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side Saturday night.

Richard Modell, 17, may have been targeted due to a feud between two rival gangs, one of which police say he belonged to. He and the 18-year-old were on their way to meet a girl when someone walked up and opened fire in the 6300 block of South Rhodes Avenue just before 9:30 p.m., according to police.

Modell died after being taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in “extremely critical” condition with a gunshot wound to the chest. Modell lived about three blocks south of where he was killed, a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

The other teen, 18, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds; his condition was not available. Responding paramedics found both of them in the street.

Police said they don’t have any reason to think the older of the two affiliates with a gang and believe he may have been shot because he was with Modell.
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Bogus City Of Chicago Illinois Zoning Inspector’s Federal Bribery Conviction Overturned – Federal Prosecutors Used Overinflated Certificate Values To Meet $5,000 Minimum For Conviction Instead Of 2 Actual $600 Bribes

October 13, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A City of Chicago zoning inspector found guilty of taking bribes has had his conviction overturned — in part, because the bribes weren’t big enough.

Dominick Owens, 46, twice took bribes of $600 to issue certifications of occupancy for four newly constructed homes he hadn’t inspected, a jury found following a trial in November. Originally suspected of taking more than $20,000 in bribes in 2005 and 2006, he was sentenced in March by Judge Blanche M. Manning to a year and a day in federal prison.

But the sentence was reversed Thursday in a ruling issued by the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Justices ruled that Owens should not have been convicted because prosecutors didn’t prove the bribes he took were worth more than $5,000, as the law requires.

In their appeal, Owens’ attorneys did not dispute he took the two $600 bribes for homes on West 37th Place and on North Wolcott. Instead they argued that the certificates weren’t worth $5,000.

Circuit Judges William Bauer, Richard Posner and Diane Pamela Wood agreed.

In an opinion written by Bauer, they said that there were two ways to determine what the certificates were worth. There was the black market value of what someone was prepared to pay for one, which, at $600, was well below the $5,000 threshold, and there was what benefit the certificate would provide to the homeowners who greased his palm.

Prosecutors presented documents showing the homes were mortgaged from $200,000 to $600,000. But Bauer wrote that the certificates might have been issued later without a bribe, or after repairs had been made to the home, finding that the government had “failed to put forth any evidence linking the mortgages and the construction costs to the value of the issuance of the certificates.”

Owens’ attorney Michael Nash declared his client “delighted” with the ruling. He rejected the idea that Owens got off on a technicality, adding “it was because he was not guilty.”

Owens never served time for his conviction — he was allowed to remain free, pending his appeal.

He was one of 15 city employees netted as part of Operation Crooked Code, an undercover city-federal investigation into bribes for ignoring building code violations and speeding up paperwork. Other Crooked Code convictions are not believed to be threatened by the appellate court ruling.

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Retired Chicago Illinois Homicide Detective James Griffin Shoots And Kills His Son, Supposedly Mistaking Him For A Burglar

October 10, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A retired Chicago police officer accidentally shot and killed his son early Tuesday, after mistaking him for a burglar, the officer’s family said.

Michael Griffin, 48, was killed at his father’s home in the 5300 block of North Delphia Avenue. His family said Griffin’s father, retired Chicago Police Detective James Griffin, mistook Michael for a burglar. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Michael Griffin died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Tuesday was supposed to be moving day for James and Michael Griffin. Michael had lost his job and apartment, and James was helping him out, by letting him live at his home.

Michael’s brother Stephen said Michael was at home late Monday night with their father, at their father’s apartment near O’Hare International Airport.

Sometime late Monday night, or early Tuesday morning, Michael went out for a short time.

“My brother was staying there, and last I heard they were watching the Jay Leno Show, and my dad fell asleep,” Stephen Griffin said. “And I guess he assumed my brother was at home sleeping, and when someone came in the back door, he just naturally assumed it was an intruder.”

Police found Michael Griffin dead inside the condo at about 12:45 a.m.

Stephen Griffin said his father was a cop for 42 years, served as a homicide detective on the West Side, and retired in 1998.

He said “my brother was going through some hard times; lost his job, lost his apartment,” and had moved in to stay with his father.

Griffin’s neighbors said they didn’t hear a sound until police showed up.

“From what I heard, he shot him in the head. But I didn’t hear no noise,” neighbor Michael Mureibe said.

“No matter which way, accidentally or not accidentally, that’s terrible. Because the young man, I understand, is dead. That’s horrible. It’s terrible both sides,” said Steve Mayor, the maintenance man for the apartment building.

Mayor said he’s known the father for years, and that he couldn’t be a nicer guy. Now, his family is struggling as they try to explain this tragedy.

Stephen Griffin said he spoke with Michael’s 28-year-old daughter, who lives in Tennessee.

“It was kind of hard to talk with her,” he said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Area North detectives were investigating the shooting.

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Savage Black Beast Working At Chuck E. Cheese Stabbed Customer With Box Cutter After She Complained To Manager About Lousy Service

October 10, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A Chuck E. Cheese’s employee is accused of stabbing a woman with a box cutter after an argument about a salad plate, police said.

Shardonnae Pruitt, 19, of the 9600 block of South Merrion Avenue in Chicago, was charged with simple assault and battery after the incident late last month, police Officer Laura Kubiak said.

The 25-year-old customer told police that Pruitt stabbed her about 3:15 p.m. Sept. 30 at the restaurant at 5030 S. Kedzie Ave., Kubiak said.

The customer was with a 40-year-old man who became angry that Pruitt had taken away his salad plate and threw his utensils on the floor and demanded to see the manager, police said.

Pruitt returned with the manager, and the man asked to make a formal complaint against Pruitt, police said. When the manager stepped away, Pruitt threatened the man, pulled out the box cutter and stabbed the woman, police said.

Security guards at the restaurant detained Pruitt until police arrived.

The woman was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago, where she was treated and released.

A manager of the Chuck E. Cheese’s declined to comment Tuesday.

Pruitt is due back in court Nov. 14, according to court records.

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Broke: Cook County Illinois Board Considers “Violence” Tax” To Guns And Ammunition – 66% Of County’s $3 Billion Budget Already Funds Health Clinics, Hosptals, Criminal Justice System

October 9, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Drawing the ire of the gun lobby, Cook County Board President Preckwinkle is eyeing a violence tax on guns and ammunition sold in the city and suburbs, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Such a tax alone wouldn’t close a $115 million budget gap in 2013, but it could at least funnel money into the county’s $3 billion operation — where roughly two-thirds of the budget pays for both the county’s public health clinics and two hospitals along with the criminal justice system that includes the courts and jail.

“If we were to pursue a tax on something like guns and ammo, clearly that wouldn’t be popular with the [gun lobby] out there, and it may not generate $50 million, but … it is consistent with our commitment to pursuing violence reduction in the city and in the county,” Kurt Summers, Preckwinkle’s chief of staff, said on Monday.

The idea is to curb the number of guns in circulation, he said, citing a report issued last summer showing that nearly one-third of the guns recovered on Chicago’s streets were purchased in suburban gun shops. Other statistics are more dire: Murders in Chicago are up 25 percent this year, according to recent police statistics, and the county jail is filling up — with 9,000-plus inmates, nearing the 10,155 capacity.
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Pelkin Illinois Students Suspended For Eating Mints – “Trained Personnel” Unable To Tell The Difference Between The “Unmarked” Mints And Illegal Drugs

October 6, 2012

PEKIN, ILLINOIS – The father of a Pekin Community High School student says his son was unfairly suspended from school Wednesday along with three friends for eating energy mints that school staff suspected at the time might be illegal drugs.

Jason McMichael said his 17-year-old son has never been in trouble before, but the boy was suspended from school Thursday and Friday and barred from attending the weekend’s homecoming festivities after school personnel found the four students eating chewable energy mint tablets in school Wednesday afternoon. The mints contain caffeine and other ingredients typically found in standard energy drinks.

McMichael said he received a call that afternoon from the dean’s office and was told his son and some other students had been caught eating the mints, which look like unmarked pills, which staff thought could be illegal drugs. McMichael said he was told his son was being monitored by the school nurse and that the teen had an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure.

“He’s never been in trouble,” McMichael said Friday. “He was probably just nervous.”

McMichael said he was told to come and pick up his son and that his son needed to stay home from school until the school had the tablets tested to make sure they really were energy mints, as the teens had claimed. However, by the time McMichael arrived at the school, he said he was told his son had been sent home on the regular bus.

According to McMichael, he could not believe that if the school thought his son could be under the effects of a potentially dangerous substance they would just send him home on the bus and not send him to the hospital for treatment.

The next afternoon, McMichael said that somebody from the school called to say the teens’ story had been verified, but that the suspensions still were being upheld for gross misconduct for taking an unknown product, though McMichael said the school officials admitted to him that the teens had fully cooperated when confronted about the mints.

McMichael said his son is being punished just because the school staff could not identify an energy mint, though there is nothing wrong with having energy drinks on campus.

“Now they know nothing illegal happened, but they’re still pursuing the suspension,” McMichael said.

And if the students had been on drugs, McMichael said the school did not do a good job of handling a potentially dangerous situation by sending his son home when they believed he might have a harmful drug in his system.

District 303 Superintendant Paula Davis said she cannot legally discuss
individual disciplinary issues. However, she said that students
ingesting things that look like unmarked pills would definitely prompt
school personnel to take action.

As for ensuring student safety when dealing with a situation that
involves illegal substances, Davis said the school has trained personnel
to handle that.

Per district procedure, any student suspected to be under the influence
of a drug would be taken to the school nurse – a trained registered
nurse – to monitor the student’s vital health signs, like heart rate and
blood pressure. If any signs pointed to drug use, then the student’s
case would be referred to the school’s on-campus Pekin Police Department
liaison officer to be handled according to the department’s procedures.

McMichael said he is campaigning to clear his son’s name, and more
specifically, his son’s transcript. He wants the suspension for gross
misconduct wiped off his son’s school record.

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US Supreme Court To Decide If You Can Legally Resell Your Personal Possessions – Publisher John Wiley & Sons Thinks You Shouldn’t, Because They Want To Screw Americans With Higher Prices Than What They Charge Abroad

October 6, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s busy agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4.

At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products.

A Supreme Court case could limit the resale of goods made overseas but sold in America.

Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale.

Put simply, though Apple has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen does on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.

That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

“It means that it’s harder for consumers to buy used products and harder for them to sell them,” said Jonathan Bland, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association for Research Libraries. “This has huge consumer impact on all consumer groups.”

Another likely result is that it would hit you financially because the copyright holder would now want a piece of that sale.

It could be your personal electronic devices or the family jewels that have been passed down from your great-grandparents who immigrated from Spain. It could be a book that was written by an American writer but printed and bound overseas or an Italian painter’s artwork.

It has implications for a variety of wide-ranging U.S. entities including libraries, musicians, museums and even resale juggernauts eBay and Craigslist. U.S. libraries, for example, carry some 200 million books from foreign publishers.

“It would be absurd to say anything manufactured abroad can’t be bought or sold here,” said Marvin Ammori, a First Amendment lawyer and Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation who specializes in technology issues.

The case stems from Supap Kirtsaeng’s college experience. A native of Thailand, Kirtsaeng came to the U.S. in 1997 to study at Cornell University. When he discovered that his textbooks, produced by Wiley, were substantially cheaper to buy in Thailand than they were in Ithaca, N.Y., he rallied his Thai relatives to buy the books and ship them to him in the U.S.

He then sold them on eBay, making upwards of $1.2 million, according to court documents.

Wiley, which admitted that it charged less for books sold abroad than it did in the U.S., sued him for copyright infringement. Kirtsaeng countered with the first-sale doctrine.

In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that anything that was manufactured overseas is not subject to the first-sale principle. Only American-made products or “copies manufactured domestically” were.

“That’s a non free-market capitalistic idea for something that’s pretty fundamental to our modern economy,” Ammori said.

 Both Ammori and Bland worry that a decision in favor of the lower court would lead to some strange, even absurd consequences.

For example, it could become an incentive for manufacturers to have everything produced overseas because they would be able to control every resale.

It could also become a weighty issue for auto trade-ins and resales, considering about 40% of most U.S.-made cars carry technology and parts that were made overseas.

This is a particularly important decision for the likes of eBay and Craigslist, whose very business platform relies on the secondary marketplace. If sellers had to get permission to peddle their wares on the sites, they likely wouldn’t do it.

Moreover, a major manufacturer would likely go to eBay to get it to pull a for-sale item off the site than to the individual seller, Ammori said.

In its friend-of-the-court brief, eBay noted that the Second Circuit’s rule “affords copyright owners the ability to control the downstream sales of goods for which they have already been paid.” What’s more, it “allows for significant adverse consequences for trade, e-commerce, secondary markets, small businesses, consumers and jobs in the United States.”

Ammori, for one, wonders what the impact would be to individual Supreme Court justices who may buy and sell things of their own.

“Sometimes it’s impossible to tell where things have been manufactured,” said Ammori, who once bought an antique desk from a Supreme Court justice. “Who doesn’t buy and sell things? Millions of Americans would be affected by this.”

If the Supreme Court does rule with the appellate court, it’s likely the matter would be brought to Congress to force a change in law. Until then, however, consumers would be stuck between a rock and a hard place when trying to resell their stuff.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case on Oct. 29

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US Attorney’s Office Lawsuit Charges Illinois Recreational Staff With Descrimination For Willfully Avoiding Epileptic’s Rectums – Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder Still Not Charged With Contempt Of Congress

October 5, 2012

ILLINOIS – The U.S. attorney’s office filed a discrimination lawsuit against a Crystal Lake-based group that provides activities for adults and children with disabilities, arguing it does not accommodate those with epilepsy.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday, claims the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing the administer an anti-seizure medication to those suffering tonic-clonic seizures, commonly known as grand mal seizures.

The suit was filed on behalf of a 17-year-old McHenry County girl and an 8-year-old Crystal Lake girl who have a history of suffering grand mal seizures, which can be life-threatening if untreated.

Prosecutors are asking for a court order that would require NISRA to administer the medication in the event of a seizure.

The medication, Diastat AcuDial, comes in a pre-filled syringe with a plastic tip and must be administered through a person’s rectum.

NISRA Executive Director Brian Shahinian said the group had no comment because it hadn’t received the filing.

NISRA is a group of 13 park districts and municipal recreation departments. The members are the Barrington, Cary, Crystal Lake, Dundee Township, Hampshire Township, Huntley, Marengo and Wauconda park districts, plus the communities of Elgin, Harvard, Lake in the Hills, McHenry and Woodstock.

The 17-year-old who is included in the lawsuit has suffered approximately 30 grand mal seizures over the last 10 years and has been prescribed a medication that is most effective when administered within five minutes of the onset of the seizure, according to the lawsuit.

The girl participated in NISRA’s summer camp in 2007 and 2008, and at that time the group agreed to administer the drug if needed, but it was never needed, according to the lawsuit. NISRA change its policy to no longer administer the drug after the 2008 camp, and its new policy is to follow the participant’s seizure plan as closely as possible but call 911 instead of administering the medication.

The lawsuit claims the policy results in a “dangerous delay.”

The 8-year-old Crystal Lake girl who is also mentioned in the suit was prescribed a treatment plan that includes promptly administering Diastat, but NISRA refused the request to have an aide be allowed to administer the medication if needed.

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President Of Chicago Branch Of NAACP Threatened By Obama Campaign For Not Supporting President

October 5, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — The President of the South Suburban Branch of the NAACP alleges a director of the re-election campaign of Barack Obama has threatened and intimidated him because he doesn’t support the president.

David Lowery says he believes he was threatened during a phone conversation with Louis Raymond, the Illinois political director for Obama for America.

Lowery says he doesn’t personally support the president because he’s not addressing issues important to the black community. He said he was explaining that to Raymond when the Obama campaign official told him, “You know what? I know everything about you.”

Lowery says Raymond added, “We’ve been watching you, and since you don’t support Obama, we’ll deal with you,” before hanging up.

Lowery filed a report with the Oak Forest police report, he says, “in case something happens.”

He says it was suggested the NAACP should automatically back the president. Lowery notes a non-profit cannot support a particular candidate.

He says it’s a clear signal the Obama campaign is concerned about the black vote.

Lowery hosts an internet radio program called “Let the Truth Be Told,” where he’s made no secret of his displeasure with the president.

Louis Raymond declined to comment. The Obama re-election campaign issued a written statement in response to Lowery’s claims.

“Unfortunately there seems to have been a miscommunication regarding this conversation and we have since discussed with the campaign staffer in an effort to clarify the matter. The President continues to support the mission and principles of the NAACP and the work they do,” the statement said.

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Chicago Illinois Lawmakers And Law Enforcement Throw In The Towel, Head To Twitter For Answers To City’s Gun Problems – Nearly Dead In Just 8 1/2 Months, Mostly From Gun Violence

September 30, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The City of Chicago is asking residents with ideas on how to get illegal guns off the streets to share their thoughts — in 140 characters or fewer on Twitter.

The initiative is part of Chicago Ideas Week, an annual forum for innovators, artists, scientists and others to share ideas and inspire action.

Those who think they know how to cut off the flow of illegal guns into Chicago are being asked to tweet them with the hashtag (hash)whatifchicago.

The best submitted ideas will be debated at an Oct. 11 panel discussion.

Chicago’s social media director, Kevin Hauswirth, says the effort is a great example of “the potential power that social media offers city government.”

According to police, 382 people have been killed so far this year, many by guns, as of the middle of September.

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Chicago Illinois Police Officer Nelson Stewart Arrested, Suspended, Charged After Sex With Prisoner He Promised To Release From Imprisonment

September 28, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A Chicago police officer is facing a number of felony charges after allegedly having sex with a prisoner he promised to release from a lockup.

The state’s attorney’s office says 59-year old Nelson Stewart is charged with custodial sexual misconduct, official misconduct and bribery.

Authorities say the incident took place in the lockup at the Harrison District police station in early June.

Stewart, who has been relieved of his powers and is off the streets, was accused of assisting someone being held in the jail at the West Side police station, at 3151 W. Harrison St., in return for sexual favors.

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Savage Black Beast Gang Member Says There Is No Solution To Chicago Illinois Violence Except “Killing, Killing Is The Solution” – Another Beast Sees Himself In A Mansion In 10 Years With Lots Of Cars And Women, If He’s Still Alive

September 28, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS –  Gangbangers in Chicago: What makes them tick, what are they thinking?

CBS 2’s Walter Jacobson sat down with gang members in Chicago’s troubled Englewood neighborhood to try to find some answers.

Some of the responses he received were not encouraging.

“There’s no solution to the violence,” one gang member tells him. “Killing, killing is the solution.”

Jacobson asked the young man if he would kill personally, if he had to.

“I’ve never killed before, but if I had a gun in my possession,” he said.

Jacobson says he has been walking the blocks for many years, but the state of despair never changes – poverty, sticks and stains.

The gang members do not like the state of affairs any more than anyone else.

“We’ve got to eat. We want to. We want money. We want to get fresh, we want fresh eggs almost every day. We want all that,” another young man said.

But where do they get the money they need? The young man answered bluntly.

“Rob, steal and kill. That’s the only way. We didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills. We don’t get it handed to us,” he said.

“We ain’t living in Hyde Park,” added a third young man. The home of the University of Chicago is only a couple of miles away from Englewood – geographically, at least.

But given the state of their impoverished Englewood neighborhood, where is the money they can get?

“Selling drugs,” a young man replied. “In our neighborhood, I ain’t going to lie to you. That’s where the money comes from.”

Some of the young men were brought into gangs as children. Isn’t that pretty young to play gang warfare?

A young man answered: “I chose the gang. I didn’t have to choose anything. I was only 10. My OG (old gangster) gave me everything. But I just went on my own and I chose to get in the gang. We was whipping everybody in the neighborhood. Respect. I was getting money.”

The gang members also said they are at war with the Chicago Police Department.

“The police hate us,” a young man said. “Every time they ride past us, they shoot us down and do all that. Do what you want to do, I don’t care about you all, keep riding. Who are you all? We’re not scare of you all. I’ll fight you too. Take that badge off.”

But he says the police cannot catch them or exact any consequences.

“I laugh at the police,” he said. “They’re a joke to me.”

And where would the young men like to be in 10 years?

One of them replied, “in a mansion, with a lot of cars, and a lot of women.”

Another said, “I just hope I’m still living.”

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War Zone: Virtual House Arrest, City-Wide Dress Code, Nazi-Style Checkpoints, Document Checks, Rounding Up Young Men, And Searches Ordered In East St. Louis Illinois As Savage Black Beasts Get Out Of Control In The 97.75% Black City

September 27, 2012

EAST ST. LOUIS, ILLINOIS – Angered by the recent murders of four young people, the mayor announced today that police are going to impose drastic new measurers to keep teens off the streets.

“There is something going on in the community at this point that we’ve got to safeguard them and keep them off the streets,” Mayor Alvin Parks said. “There are people shooting at each other for no reason whatsoever.”

Among the new rules:

**Minors are to be off the streets at ten o’clock on both weeknights and weekend nights.

**Minors on the street during school hours will be arrested on sight.

**Police will also perform I.D. checks on street corners and conduct gun searches, and Parks says he won’t hesitate to call in the National Guard if the spike in violence continues.

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks announcing crackdown on youth violence

“The loiterers will be arrested, not warned, but arrested. Those who are hanging out at 11th and Bond, 15th and Lynch, 38th and Waverly, wherever you happen to be, if you are loitering, you will be arrested.”

Surrounded by police, Parks announced they also plan to arrest adult males and young men wearing gang colors, amounting to a city-wide dress code.

“No royal blue, no bright red to be worn by our men or our boys in this community,” Parks said. “Why is that? Those colors have long been affiliated with gang kinds of affiliations”

Asked about Constitutional concerns, and the need for probable cause, Parks says the recent wave of crime is the probable cause and justifies the extreme new measures.

“Vehicles that are moving will be stopped and searched for guns, weapons, drugs, and open alcohol and any other violations that are taking place,” Parks later told KMOX’s Mark Reardon. “People who are walking, people who are bicycling, can be stopped and searched for the same and, when it comes to state IDs, we’re going to be confirming that state IDs are in place for everyone involved.”

Parks noted the legal questions surrounding his new policies but said “most importantly, we have to do something.”

“We have desperate times, they call for desperate measures and they call for extreme measures, things that we may not have done before, to get the desired results. You cannot grow as a city if your children are being wiped out and never given an opportunity to live.”

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Cook County Illinois Assistant State Attorney Sarah Naughton Arrested And Suspended After Drunken Incident In Sex Shop – Bit Clerk In The Leg When Told To Leave For Being Disruptive

September 27, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — A Cook County prosecutor has been charged with misdemeanor battery and criminal trespass for allegedly becoming disruptive at a Chicago adult store.

Cool Video Of This Intoxicated Lawyer And More Info Here

Sarah Naughton, a four-year assistant state’s attorney, is accused of biting a store worker in the leg Saturday when she was asked to leave.

Authorities say Naughton and a companion, both appearing to be intoxicated, were asked to leave shortly after they entered the store. However, Naughton became belligerent and bit a worker. According to authorities, her companion, Bradley Gould, shoved the worker and made “menacing gestures” to him.

The store owner took the clerk to a nearby hospital for treatment.

State’s attorney spokesman Andy Conklin says the 31-year-old Naughton has been placed on administrative leave.

It’s was not immediately known if Naughton and Gould obtained legal representation.

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Veteran Chicago Illinois Police Officer Harold Rodriguez Arrested And Suspended After Accepting Donut Bag Containing $5,000 Bribe To Fix Criminal Case

September 25, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Jermaine Jordan handed a veteran Chicago cop a doughnut bag stuffed with $5,000 in cash Tuesday morning at a busy fast-food restaurant near the Leighton Criminal Court Building, authorities say.

The bribe, prosecutors charged Wednesday, was to fix a criminal case that could have sent Jordan to prison for years.

Officer Harold Rodriguez took the money and assured Jordan that when it came time to testify, he would “not remember” why he had arrested him, authorities said.

But Jordan had tipped off authorities about the alleged bribe offer. The money had been marked by Internal Affairs investigators, and the entire transaction was monitored by detectives, prosecutors said. Moments after the alleged exchange, detectives swarmed the Popeyes chicken restaurant at 26th Street and California Avenue and arrested Rodriguez, an 18-year veteran assigned to train rookie police officers on how to patrol the streets.

Bail was set at $50,000 Wednesday for Rodriguez, 45, but he was not in court after his arrest because he reported chest pains and trouble breathing. He was taken to Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center on the Northwest Side. He is charged with bribery and official misconduct.

A police spokeswoman said Rodriguez was stripped of his police powers and suspended without pay.

In September 2011, Rodriguez pulled over Jordan’s 2005 Bentley coupe on a purported seat-belt violation, court records show. Rodriguez searched Jordan and found he was carrying more than $7,000 in cash. He then discovered Jordan’s license had been revoked in 2003 because of a reckless homicide conviction and that he had two previous arrests for driving without a valid license, according to records.

With his record, Jordan faced up to 15 years in prison for allegedly driving on a revoked license. He was free on bond on that case when Rodriguez allegedly pulled him over again Friday while the officer was training a recruit, according to the court records.

During the traffic stop, Rodriguez told Jordan that he “makes a lot of arrests” and “can forget about your case if you pay me $5,000,” according to the charges. Authorities did not know whether Rodriguez made the stop on purpose or by chance.

On Tuesday, as Internal Affairs detectives listened in, Jordan contacted Rodriguez to let him know he had the cash, according to the charges. The two met at the Popeyes about 10 a.m., and undercover detectives conducting surveillance at the restaurant witnessed Jordan pass the money to Rodriguez in a Dunkin’ Donuts bag, according to the charges.

City records show Rodriguez makes $84,756 a year as a field training officer. Sources said that at the time he met Jordan to collect the bribe, Rodriguez was earning overtime pay from the department while waiting to testify on an unrelated case at the courthouse.

The officer’s arrest also leaves the charges against Jordan in limbo, according to state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Sally Daly. Prosecutors intend to decide whether to move forward before the next scheduled hearing Oct. 10.

Daly said prosecutors likely also would review other arrests made by Rodriguez.

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Veteran Chicago Illinois Police Officer Harold Rodriguez Suspended And Charged With Accepting $5,000 Bribe To Forget Traffic Stop – Also Assaulted Man During 2003 Traffic Stop, For Not Removing Mexican Flag From His Car

September 20, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A Chicago Police officer was charged Wednesday with soliciting and accepting a $5,000 bribe to let a driver off after a traffic stop.

Harold Rodriguez, 45, was charged with felony bribery and official misconduct, according to court documents.

Cook County Judge Edward Harmening ordered Rodriguez held on a $50,000 bond, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said. Rodriguez did not appear in court and has not yet been booked into the county jail, according to Simonton and a sheriff’s office spokesman.

He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. While the case is pending, he has been stripped of his police powers without pay, a police spokeswoman said.

Last Friday, Rodriguez performed a traffic stop on a vehicle and recognized the driver as a person he had arrested in 2011 for a felony traffic violation, according to court documents.

Rodriguez allegedly told the motorist he “makes a lot of arrests, I can forget about your case if you pay me $5,000,” the court documents said.

The officer then gave the motorist his cell phone number and told him to call over the weekend, according to court documents. Instead, the motorist called Chicago Police and the Internal Affairs Division began an investigation.

The motorist called Rodriguez on Tuesday and told the officer he had the money, according to court documents. Rodriguez agreed to meet at a restaurant near the Cook County Criminal Courthouse. The conversation was overheard by an Internal Affairs detective.

Internal Affairs provided the motorist with $5,000, which he gave Rodriguez in front of undercover detectives, court documents said. The officer then said he would not remember the ticket.

Rodriguez was arrested outside the restaurant, according to court documents.

Rodriguez, an 18-year Chicago Police veteran, worked in the Ogden District on the Southwest Side. He was once a defendant in a federal lawsuit alleging he assaulted a man during a 2003 traffic stop when the motorist refused to remove a Mexican flag from his car. The driver received a $17,500 settlement from the city.

Rodriguez was also the subject of a news story for helping an ailing man carry an air conditioner to his fourth-floor apartment on a warm summer day.

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War Zone: Six Wounded In Overnight Chicago Illinois Shootings Include 12 Year Old Boy

September 18, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Six people were wounded overnight during overnight shootings, including two people who were shot within minutes of each other early Friday in the Northwest Side Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

The first shooting in the Ukrainian Village happened about 1:25 a.m. in the 1000 block of North Damen Avenue when a 30-year-old woman was shot in the abdomen during the commission of a robbery, police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said. She was taken in critical condition to John H. Stroger Hr. Hospital of Cook County, according to Greer.

Just five minutes later and about two blocks away, 27-year-old man was robbed and shot in the face in the 2100 block of West Thomas Street, Greer said. He was taken to Stroger in “stable” condition. He told detectives he was walking home on Thomas Street when a male approached him from behind, demanded his money and took his backpack, according to Greer. The suspect then shot him in the face and ran off.

Detectives were trying to determine whether one person committed both robberies and shootings, Greer said, adding that no one was in custody early Friday.

In other shootings throughout the city:

A 12-year-old boy was outside in the 900 block of West 50th Street about 4:30 p.m. when he was shot by someone inside a dark-colored vehicle, Greer said. He was taken by a family member to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County where he was treated and release for a gunshot wound to the leg.

A 20-year-old man was in an alley in the 3400 block of West Ohio Street at 8:15 p.m. when he heard shots and felt pain, Greer said. He was taken in good condition to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County with a gunshot wound to the foot and graze wounds to both calves.

A 39-year-old man told police he’d been sitting on a porch in the 7000 block of South Yale Avenue when someone in a passing vehicle fired shots, Greer said. walked into John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County about 11:50 p.m. to be treated for a gunshot wound to the leg, police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said. He was listed in “stable” condition.

A 24-year-old man was in the 4800 block of South Bishop Avenue at 12:10 a.m. when he heard shots and felt pain, Greer said. He was taken in “stable” condition to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County with a gunshot wound to the foot.

No one is in custody for any of the shootings.

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Man Waiting For Bus Shot During Chicago Illinois Robbery Attempt By Two Savage Black Beasts

September 17, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -A man was shot Sunday night during an attempted robbery on a South Shore neighborhood street.

The man was walking in the 2100 block of East 79th Street at 9:44 p.m. when two men approached, produced a weapon and attempted to rob him, police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada said. Police initially stated the shooting occurred near 79th and Chappel Avenue at a CTA bus station.

The man, whose age was not immediately available, began running and was shot, sustaining a graze wound to his left ankle, police said. The suspects fled south on Clyde Avenue.

Paramedics took the man in good condition to Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, police said.

Both suspects were described as black and between 20-25. One was 6 feet with a light complexion, short black hair and wearing a white hooded sweatshirt. The second man was 5-foot-9 with a short black afro, wearing a shirt with black and white stripes on the front and a jacket.

Police have made no arrests as of Monday morning.

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War Zone: 5 Dead And At Least 23 Wounded Over Weekend In Chicago Illinois Gun Battles

September 16, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Five men have been killed and at least 23 people were wounded in gun violence on the city’s streets from Friday night to Sunday night.

The fatal shootings include one man who was fatally shot and two others that were wounded by police in two separate incidents this weekend.

Police shot at one man and killed another after they allegedly pointed handguns at officers responding to a Roseland neighborhood block party 9:30 p.m. Friday in the 200 block of West 110th Street, according to police.

Christopher McGowan, 22, of the 14900 block of Marshfield Avenue in Harvey, was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:49 p.m. Friday, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The second man who allegedly pointed a gun was found in a nearby yard and arrested without incident, the statement said. The third suspect was arrested at the scene.

No police officers were injured and two weapons were recovered, the statement said.

Alex J. Benison, 35, was shot and killed during a robbery about 8:45 p.m. Friday night, in the 12200 block of South Ada Street, two blocks away from his West Pullman neighborhood home on the Far South Side. Benison, of the 12100 block of South Ada Street, was pronounced dead at the scene at 9 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.

Brian Cherney, 22, was found dead on a sidewalk in the 4800 block of West George Street in the Northwest Side Belmont Cragin neighborhood at 2:20 a.m. Saturday, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. Cherney, of the 4800 block of West Wolfram Street, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.

Jerell Butler, 26, was killed and another hurt when a shooter on a bicycle opened fire about 1:10 a.m. Saturday in the 900 block of North Drake Avenue in the West Side Humboldt Park neighborhood. Butler was dead at the scene after he was shot in the head and the chest. The other man, 32, was shot in the upper right arm and taken in “stable” condition to Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center.

Devon Fields, 22, was shot at least twice in the head and once in the shoulder as he stood outside with a group of people gathered in a backyard in the 1300 block of North Latrobe Avenue about 3:30 a.m., authorities said. Fields, of the 5200 block of West Bloomingdale Avenue, was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he later died.

A 26-year-old woman was also injured in the shooting, police said. She was listed in good condition at West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park with a graze wound to her right calf.

In non-fatal shootings, police shot a 17-year-old boy after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers about 9:10 p.m. Saturday in the 7700 block of South Wolcott Avenue in the South Side Englewood neighborhood. He was taken in “stable” condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with a gunshot wound to the buttocks, said Fire Media Affairs Cmdr. Sean Flynn. No officers were injured and a weapon was recovered.

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Former Washington State Police Officer Jack McCullough Found Guilty Of Kidnapping And Murdering 7 Year Old Girl In 1957

September 15, 2012

SYCAMORE, ILLINOIS – A 72-year-old man was convicted Friday in the 1957 murder of a 7-year-old girl, with spectators letting out a deafening cheer as the verdict was announced in one of the oldest unsolved crimes to eventually get to court in the United States.

The sound of sobbing overtook the room as the cheers and applause faded after Judge James Hallock pronounced Jack McCullough guilty of murder, kidnapping and abduction in Maria Ridulph’s death.

McCullough was about 17 years old on the snowy night in December 1957 when the second-grader went missing in Sycamore, about 60 miles west of Chicago. McCullough later enlisted in the military, and ultimately settled in Seattle where he worked as a police officer in the state of Washington.

Maria’s playmate the night she disappeared, Kathy Chapman, was a star witness in the case. She testified that McCullough was the young man who approached the girls as they played, asking whether they liked dolls and whether they wanted piggyback rides.

“A weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said Chapman, 63, said outside on the courthouse steps. “Maria finally has the justice she deserves.”

It all happened in an era when child abductions, if not unheard of, rarely made headlines.

This one did.

President Dwight Eisenhower and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover asked to be kept apprised of the search for the girl, which lasted five months and ended when her decomposed body was found in a forest 120 miles from her hometown.

McCullough’s half sister told the court that their mother, Eileen Tessier, said on her death bed in 1994 that McCullough — whose name was then John Tessier — had killed Maria.

“She grabbed my wrist and said, ‘Those two little girls, the one that disappeared, John did it,'” Janet Tessier said.

Chapman said she was playing on a street corner with Maria on Dec. 3, 1957, when a young man calling himself “Johnny” approached and talked to them. Maria ran home to get a doll; Chapman went to get mittens. When Chapman returned, her friend and the man were gone.

She never saw Maria again.

A prosecutor laid out black-and-white photographs of similar-looking men, and Chapman pointed to one of McCullough, saying she was sure he was the man who called himself “Johnny.”

Irene Lau, a Seattle investigator who interviewed McCullough last year, said McCullough remembered Maria, calling her ‘stunningly beautiful.” But he maintained he had nothing to do with her disappearance or death.

McCullough was on a list of suspects in 1957. But he had an alibi, saying that he had traveled to Chicago that day to get a medical exam before enlisting in the Air Force.

The case was reopened after his old girlfriend contacted police with evidence calling his alibi into question — she had found his unused train ticket from Rockford to Chicago on the day Maria disappeared. He was arrested on July 1, 2011, in Washington state at a retirement home where he worked as a security guard.

McCullough waived his right for a jury trial and opted for a bench trial.

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War Zone: 17 Year Old Savage Black Beast Charged With Murder In Lansing Michigan After Shooting 15 Year Old Boy Twice In The Head With A Shotgun

September 14, 2012

MARKHAM, ILLINOIS – Bond was denied Friday for a 17-year-old south suburban boy charged with murder of a 15-year-old boy found in an alley early Wednesday with two shotgun wounds to his head.

At the Markham Courthouse, Judge Derron Bowden order Miguel Webster of Lansing held without bond and set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 10, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Andy Conklin.

Webster, of the 17000 block of Lorenz Avenue in Lansing, was charged with first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide, according to Lansing police.

Police found the body of Asonte Gutierrez in an alley in the 17000 block of Lorenz Avenue in Lansing at about 12:40 a.m. Wednesday after someone called to report a teen lying on the ground, a release from police said.

Gutierrez, of the 4700 block of West 185th Place in Country Club Hills, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. An autopsy showed he suffered two shotgun wounds to the head and his death was ruled a homicide.

An investigation by the Lansing police and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force led to a search warrant for a garage and home in the 17000 block of Lorenz, a release from police said.

Investigators recovered evidence, including the weapon, that directly linked Webster to the murder, the release said. Webster and Gutierrez were acquaintances and the killing did not appear to be a random act, police said.

The murder was the first in Lansing since 2010, police said.

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Broke: Chicago Illinois Set Up “Wellness Clinic” In Garbage Truck Garage – “Ethiopian Camps Out There Look Better Than This Thing”

September 13, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – City Streets and Sanitation workers say they were shocked when they walked into a garbage truck garage that had been converted into a temporary clinic for wellness screenings.

Streets and San employee Marty Zamora told WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller that, in his 29 years with the city, he’s seen a lot of garbage, but when he saw that a garbage truck garage at Ferdinand Street and Tripp Avenue had temporarily been converted to a wellness clinic – where blood was being drawn for cholesterol and triglyceride tests – he and his co-workers “thought it was something unreal. I mean, are we seeing this?”

“The floors and walls were all covered in dirt,” he said. “Maggots and rats tend to show up at night, so we decided not to take this test.”

He also said the garage “reeked of garbage and decay.”

Photos taken by a Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation worker show the stains on the floor of a garbage truck garage that was serving as a temporary clinic for wellness screenings. Workers said the floors and walls were covered in dirt, and the garage reeked of garbage.

“We were appalled, and disgusted, and felt there was no hygiene at all,” he said. “Ethiopian camps out there look better than this thing. I’ve never seen something so bad.”

The Department of Streets and Sanitation said it’s looking into the issue.

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Former Washington State Police Officer Jack McCullough On Trial For 1957 Kidnapping And Murder Of 7 Year Old Girl

September 11, 2012

SYCAMORE, ILLINOIS – The murder of a 7-year-old Illinois girl that haunted the nation more than 50 years ago went to trial Monday, starting with a prosecutor accusing the defendant of discarding the body like “a piece of garbage.”

Jack McCullough, 72 and a former Washington state police officer, has pleaded not guilty to the 1957 kidnapping and slaying of Maria Ridulph, of Sycamore. It’s one of the oldest cold-case murders brought to trial in the United States.

Maria’s friend, Kathy Sigman, told authorities that a young man calling himself “Johnny” had approached them while they were playing outside on Dec. 3, 1957, and offered to give the girls piggyback rides. Sigman left to get mittens and when she returned, Maria and the man were gone.

Prosecutors say McCullough, whose name was John Tessier in the 1950s, was “Johnny.”

“This ordinary night would end in horror,” said DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell. “It would end with this defendant dumping her body in the cold, dark woods like a piece of garbage.”

Ridulph’s abduction captured national attention, and even then-President Dwight Eisenhower asked to be kept up-to-date. Her badly decomposed body was found months later 120 miles away from Sycamore.

Forensics examinations indicate that Ridulph was stabbed at least three times in the throat and the chest, prosecutors said Monday.

The slain girl’s friend, now in her 60s, is expected to be called to the stand to identify McCullough, who was arrested last year in Seattle and brought to Illinois.

“The defendant thought he could get away with it,” Campbell said Monday. “What he couldn’t count on was that Kathy Sigman could never forget his face.”

Public defender Thomas McCulloch says there’s no evidence linking his client to the crime.

“Jack McCullough did not commit this murder,” he said. “The reality is it has not been solved by charging Jack McCullough.”

The girl’s older brother, Charles Ridulph, was the first witness for prosecutors Monday, describing his younger sister as a smart and outgoing girl.

The defense opted for a bench trial, meaning that the judge rather than a jury will assess the evidence and decide on a verdict.

McCullough lived a few block from the Ridulph family home and was on an early list of suspects. But he had an alibi, saying that on the day the girl vanished, he traveled to Chicago to get a medical exam before enlisting in the Air Force.

He later moved out of the area, served in the Armed Forces and ultimately worked as a police officer in Washington and a security guard at a retirement home – where he was arrested on July 1, 2011.

Investigators reopened the case several years ago, after McCullough’s former girlfriend told them she found his unused train ticket from Rockford to Chicago from Dec. 3, 1957, the day Maria vanished.

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Apx. 80% Of Chicago Illinois 8th Graders Not Proficient In Reading Or Math

September 10, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

Chicago public school teachers went on strike on Monday and one of the major issues behind the strike is a new system Chicago plans to use for evaluating public school teachers in which student improvement on standardized tests will count for 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Until now, the evaluations of Chicago public school teachers have been based on what a Chicago Sun Times editorial called a “meaningless checklist.”

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education administered National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in reading and math to students around the country, including in the Chicago Public Schools. The tests were scored on a scale of 0 to 500, with 500 being the best possible score. Based on their scores, the U.S. Department of Education rated students’ skills in reading and math as either “below basic,” “basic,” “proficient” or “advanced.”

Nationally, public school 8th graders scored an average of 264 on the NAEP reading test. Statewide in Illinois, the 8th graders did a little better, scoring an average of 266. But in the Chicago Public Schools, 8th graders scored an average of only 253 in reading. That was lower even than the nationwide average of 255 among 8th graders in “large city” public schools.

With these NAEP test results, only 19 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders rated proficient in reading while another 2 percent rated advanced—for a total of 21 percent who rated proficient or better.

79 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in reading. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 43 percent who rated “basic” and 36 percent who rated “below basic.”

In the 8th grade math test, Chicago public school 8th graders scored an average of 270 out of 500, compared to an average of 274 for 8th graders in “large city” public schools, and 283 for 8th graders nationally as well as statewide in Illinois.

With these NAEP test results, only 17 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders rated proficient in math while another 3 percent rated advanced—for a total of 20 percent who rated proficient or better.

Thus, 80 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders were not grade-level proficient in math. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this included 40 percent who rated “basic” in math and 40 percent who rated “below basic.”

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Chicago Teachers Union Represents Highest Paid Teachers In US, Decideq To Strike After 16% Pay Increase Offer From City – Members Pay 3% Of Their Health Care Costs, And 71% Of Funds Spent On Education Go Towards Their Retirement

September 10, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The smartest parents in Chicago right now are those whose kids attend charter schools, private schools, or parochial schools. Those institutions don’t employ Chicago’s unionized public-school teachers, who went out on strike this morning for the first time in 25 years.

The coverage of the strike has obscured some basic facts. The money has continued to pour into Chicago’s failing public schools in recent years. Chicago teachers have the highest average salary of any city at $76,000 a year before benefits. The average family in the city only earns $47,000 a year. Yet the teachers rejected a 16 percent salary increase over four years at a time when most families are not getting any raises or are looking for work.

The city is being bled dry by the exorbitant benefits packages negotiated by previous elected officials. Teachers pay only 3 percent of their health-care costs and out of every new dollar set aside for public education in Illinois in the last five years, a full 71 cents has gone to teacher retirement costs.

But beyond the dollars, the fact is that Chicago schools need a fundamental shakeup — which of course the union is resisting. It is calling for changes in the teacher-evaluation system it just negotiated by making student performance less important.

Small wonder. Just 15 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading and only 56 percent of students who enter their freshman year of high school wind up graduating.

The showdown in Chicago will be a test of just how much clout the public-employee unions wield at a time when the budget pressures they’ve created threaten to break the budgets of America’s major cities.

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Federal Appeals Judge And Chicago Law Professor Richard A. Posner Calls Criminalization Of Marijuana “Really Absurd” And It’s Not “Sensible” To Apply Criminal Law To Solve Addiction Problems

September 9, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Judge Richard A. Posner, a Chicago law school professor and Reagan-appointed jurist on the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, said Thursday that the criminalization of marijuana is “really absurd,” explaining that he sees no difference between the currently-criminalized substance and cigarettes.

“I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have,” he said, speaking to an audience at Elmhurst College in Illinois. “I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana. I can’t see any difference between that and cigarettes.”

Posner added that he’s also “skeptical about the other drug laws,” saying it’s not “sensible” to apply criminal law to solve the problem of addiction.

Of course, the irony in Posner’s comments is that he was appointed by a president who went down as one of the nation’s most charasmatic drug warriors ever: President Ronald Reagan, who once declared that he was convinced “smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”

Later in his speech, a wide-ranging talk on the troubles posed by the interaction of capitalism and democracy, Posner went on to say that President Barack Obama’s auto-bailouts were “a very good thing” because they saved so many jobs, but added that the healthcare reform bill “probably impeded recovery” somewhat because it created uncertainty in the markets.

The respected conservative jurist made headlines recently when he declared to National Public Radio that he’d become “less conservative since the Republican Party started acting goofy.”

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Wishful Thinking: Chicago Illinois Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy Claims He’ll Be Ready To Deal With Masses Of Students On The Streets If Teachers Go On Strike

September 8, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The Chicago police superintendent says he’ll be ready if police have to deal with the sudden exodus of students from the classroom to the street – in case there’s a strike.

The Chicago Public Schools will have some schools open for half a day, if there’s a strike.

And that in itself is an issue for Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

“We do have concerns and we’re working with CPS to ensure that rival gang members are not put into the same places,” McCarthy said.

“The fact is, we just came out of the summer where those kids were not in school for the most part anyway,” he said. “So it’s really just going to extend exactly what we’re doing.”

He says he’s working with the Chicago Public Schools to make sure rival gang members aren’t placed in the same school.

McCarthy says police resources will be concentrated well into the early morning hours.

“If the kids aren’t in school, the likelihood is they’re going to be awake later and perhaps out on the street,” he said.

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Chicago Illinois School Bus Hit By Gunfire As It Was Picking Up Children

September 7, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A bus transporting students to a Far South Side parochial school was believed to have been hit by gunfire this morning as the vehicle was picking up children in the South Deering neighborhood, authorities said.

Neither the driver nor any of the approximately 25 students on the bus at the time were injured, police said.

Police were called to Our Lady of Guadalupe School, 9050 S. Burley Ave., about 7:40 a.m., following a report of criminal damage to a bus there, said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada. Police found that a gunshot appears to have entered one of the windows of the bus, traveled through a seat, then exited another window, in the incident in the 10600 block of South Calhoun Avenue, said News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak.

The bus was hit as it was picking up children about two miles away from the school, said Ryan Blackburn, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Officer of Catholic Schools.

“Gratefully none of the students were harmed, and this incident demonstrates why the school’s mission is so critical to its families,” Blackburn said in an emailed statement that also was being distributed to parents. “Teaching our students to learn well and live as disciples of Jesus Christ is what we do, and any action that threatens our children’s safety can not be tolerated.”

The driver of the bus told police on the scene that he originally thought the damage came from a paint gun, and so he drove the sutdents to school. The principal said he believed Our Lady of Gaudalupe kept the children on the bus from being harmed, but declined further comment.

Blackburn did not immediately know exactly how many students were on the bus at the time of the gunfire or exactly when the incident happened.

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Nutcase Former Bolingbrook Illinois Police Officer Sgt. Drew Peterson Found Guilty Of Murder In Case With Only Circumstantial And Heresay Evidence

September 6, 2012

JOLIET, ILLINOIS — Former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson on Thursday was found guilty of murder in the 2004 death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

A jury of seven men and five women had deliberated since 9:37 a.m. Wednesday morning before reaching a verdict around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Peterson, who has been jailed since May 2009, was stoic as the guilty verdict was read, but audible gasps could be heard in the courtroom. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 26 and faces a range of 20 years to 60 years in prison.

Peterson was charged with killing Savio in her bathtub on March 1, 2004, as they were going through a divorce. Initially, the Will County Coroner’s office ruled Savio’s death an accidental drowning. But her death was reclassified as a homicide after an exhumation and a new autopsy, following the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, in October 2007.

“Game over, Drew,” Cassandra Cales, sister of Stacy Peterson, told reporters after the verdict. “He can wipe the smirk off his face. It’s time to pay.”

Peterson’s defense team vowed to appeal. They had long criticized the prosecution’s use of hearsay evidence, which effectively allowed Stacy Peterson to speak from beyond the grave and incriminate her husband in Savio’s death. State lawmakers passed legislation that allowed the hearsay evidence at trial.

“You know what they say: A conviction is a first step in a successful appeal,” Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s lead defense attorney, said.

Brodsky said Peterson was philosophical when he talked with his client earlier Thursday. “Drew said to me, ‘Whatever the verdict, we did the greatest job we could,’” the attorney said.

Peterson’s attorneys conceded the former police sergeant was an unpopular figure.

Jurors said they would not talk with the media, but released a collective statement through a Will County sheriff’s spokesman.

“We would like to thank Judge Burmila, the bailiffs and the Will County Sheriff’s Department for the duration of this trial,” the statement said. “We have taken the responsibility bestowed upon us by the court with a great deal of solemnity and diligence. After much deliberation, we have reached a decision we believe was just.”

Family members of Savio were emotional but elated at the verdict, outside the Will County Courthouse.

“I’ll never have my sister again — I still have to visit her at the cemetery — but at least I know she got justice,” Nick Savio, Kathleen Savio’s half-brother, told reporters.

Investigators believe Stacy Peterson is dead, and have named Drew Peterson as a person of interest in her disappearance. He has not been charged with a crime in that case.

Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for Stacy Peterson’s family, said a second prosecution is coming.

“Stacy’s case is right around the corner — I truly believe that,” said Bosco, who thanked the jury members for their decision.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s office prosecuted the case with no physical evidence linking Peterson to Savio’s death, instead building a heavily circumstantial case that relies on “hearsay” statements that Peterson threatened to kill Savio.

As the courtroom filled for the reading of the verdict, Burmila told attendees to respect decorum.

“This is a courtroom, court is in session, there won’t be any reaction one way or another … if for no other reason than to respect the deceased,” the judge said.

Appeared Here

Days After Begging For Federal Help To Combat Wave Of Violence, Chicago Illinois Sends 50 Police Officers To Democratic National Convention With Instructions Not To Talk To Reporters About Their Out-Of-Town Assignment

September 3, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Only days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for federal agents and U.S. Marshals to help combat the city’s wave of violence, about 50 Chicago police officers have arrived in Charlotte to work perimeter security details for a week at the Democratic National Convention.

The Chicago officers, in their distinctive uniforms and checkerboard-brimmed hats, said they had been instructed not to talk with reporters about their out-of-town assignment.

A Charlotte police department spokesperson confirmed that “roughly 50 officers from Chicago” were on duty at the convention.

“These are officers on their days off and were specially trained as mobile field force officers for the recent NATO summit in Chicago,” said a spokesperson for the Chicago police department, Melissa Stratton.

“These are offices on their days off and were specially trained as mobile field force officers for the recent NATO summit in Chicago,” said a spokesperson for the Chicago police department, Melissa Stratton.

Monday morning some of the Chicago officers were stationed near security screening posts where delegates enter the Charlotte Convention Center.

“I would love to know the logic behind that decision to send them there given all that is happening here in Chicago,” the Rev. Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Chicago told ABC News Monday.

“It’s a state of emergency here in Chicago,” Rev. Acree told the Wall Street Journal last week.

Chicago police union officials also questioned the use of officers in Charlotte.

“We had two homicides and dozens of shootings this weekend, and we’re sending offices out of the city?” said Pat Camden, a spokesperson for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. “I think the average person would shake his head over that.”

Last Friday, Mayor Emanuel and Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy publicly asked for federal help in targeting neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the city’s wave of violence.

“The help comes in the form of additional agents to target guns, gangs and drugs,” Superintendent McCarthy said at a news conference.

Chicago’s homicide rate is about 31 percent higher than last year, with 346 reported killings as of August 19, according to figures provided by the Chicago police.

Officials said the Chicago officers were sent to Charlotte to reciprocate for police sent by Charlotte to help during the recent NATO summit held in Chicago.

“They are there on their days off and were not pulled off the street,” said Stratton.

She said the officers sent to Charlotte will be paid through a special federal grant of $50 million for convention security. “No funds from the city of Chicago are involved,” Stratton said.

“We had a very successful outcome at the NATO convention in Chicago,” said Stratton, praising the training of the officers to handle large gatherings.

There was no request for the Chicago officers to assist in security at the GOP convention last week in Tampa, she added.

The police union has been critical of Mayor Emmanuel, a prominent figure in the Democratic party and former White House chief of staff, for substantial reductions in the police budget.

 “We’ve had about a thousand officers retire over the last two years and only about 200 have been hired to replace them,” said Camden, the Fraternal Order of Police spokesperson.

“We’ve had a collective failure of all institutions to address the violence and I don’t give the President a pass either,” said the Chicago pastor, Rev. Acree.

A spokesperson for Charlotte police chief Rodney Monroe said, “Chief Monroe is grateful to have the assistance of these officers for this monumental event.”

Appeared Here

Obama Was Pioneering Contributor To US Subprime Real Estate Bubble – Only 19 Of 186 Blacks Still Own Homes With Clean Credit After Obama And Others Pushed Banks To Finance Poor Risky Applicants

September 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama was a pioneering contributor to the national subprime real estate bubble, and roughly half of the 186 African-American clients in his landmark 1995 mortgage discrimination lawsuit against Citibank have since gone bankrupt or received foreclosure notices.

As few as 19 of those 186 clients still own homes with clean credit ratings, following a decade in which Obama and other progressives pushed banks to provide mortgages to poor African Americans.

The startling failure rate among Obama’s private sector clients was discovered during The Daily Caller’s review of previously unpublished court information from the lawsuit that a young Obama helmed as the lead plaintiff’s attorney. [RELATED: Learn about the 186 class action plaintiffs]

Since the mortgage bubble burst, some of his former clients are calling for a policy reversal.

“If you see some people don’t make enough money to afford the mortgage, why would you give them a loan?” asked Obama client John Buchanan. “There should be some type of regulation against giving people loans they can’t afford.”

Banks “were too eager to lend to many who didn’t qualify,” said Don Byas, another client who saw banks lurch from caution to bubble-inflating recklessness. [RELATED: Obama’s Citibank plaintiffs hit hard when housing bubble burst]

“I don’t care what race you are. … You need to keep financial wisdom [separate] from trying to help your people,” said Byas, an autoworker.

Nonetheless, Obama has pursued the same top-down mortgage lending policies in the White House.

Obama’s lawsuit was one element of a national “anti-redlining” campaign led by Chicago’s progressive groups, who argued that banks unfairly refused to lend money to people living within so-called “redlines” around African-American communities. The campaign was powered by progressives’ moral claim that their expertise could boost home ownership among the United States’ most disadvantaged minority, African-Americans. [RELATED: Obama’s African-American clients got coupons, not cash]

Progressive activists’ ambition instead contributed greatly to a housing bubble that burst in 2007, crashed the nation’s economy in 2008, wiped out at least $4 trillion in equity, kept unemployment above 8 percent for four years, and damaged the intended beneficiaries of looser mortgage lending standards.

In the White House, Obama has continued to intensify regulatory pressure on banks to provide more risky loans to African-Americans and Latinos. He has used lawsuits to fund his allies. And taxpayers are now unwittingly contributing to a re-inflation of housing prices.

Meanwhile, the president has blamed the housing bubble on supposed GOP deregulation, even though President George W. Bush expanded the regulation-expanding, anti-redlining policies established by progressives during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“Governor Romney’s plan would… roll back regulations on big banks,” Obama says of his Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a 2012 TV ad titled “The Choice.”

“But you know what? We tried that top-down approach. It’s what caused the mess in the first place.”

The Lawsuit

Fay Clayton, a Chicago progressive activist, initiated the discrimination lawsuit in 1994. Obama’s employer, a lawyer named Judson Miner, allied with Clayton to file a class-action lawsuit a year later.

Obama appeared at Clayton’s office “saying he was the new associate on the case,” Clayton said in a statement to The Daily Caller. “I remember Barack arriving — he was industrious, he enjoyed the work, he was clearly smart and dedicated.”

The suit named three African-American plaintiffs, but later added 183 whom Citibank or its subsidiaries had allegedly rejected for mortgages in 1993 and 1994.

Some of the plaintiffs told TheDC about their rejections by Citibank.

Citibank’s lending agent “told me that I needed to put thousands of dollars down [to increase equity]… I was so upset at that, I said ‘’Do I look like I have ‘stupid’ on my forehead?’” said Maudestine McLeary.

Byas said he had a Citibank mortgage on his property in Austin, a West Side Chicago neighborhood, but was rejected when he sought a mortgage to buy a house in the troubled Maywood district.

“Chicago had been redlining people for years and years … [and] you knew this kind of crap happened,” said Dale Freeman, an operations manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He quickly got a loan from another bank to buy a house in the wealthy South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park, where he and his family still live.

Citibank defended the cautious way it loaned out its shareholders’ money, saying that “the underwriting criteria were racially neutral on their face … [and] that each of the named defendants was denied the home loans he or she requested due to his or her lack of financial qualifications,” according to a June 1995 summary by the judge who heard Obama’s discrimination case.

Citibank had a significant amount of data to back up its case.

For example, when the 186 clients submitted their names for compensation in 1998, it turned out that least 19 had bankrupted or received foreclosure notices even before December 1997. Another 18 of the 186 clients would go under within three years because of financial pressures. [RELATED: Plaintiffs in 1995 Obama-led Citibank lawsuit submitted class action claims

Yet Citibank settled the case in December 1997.

That settlement came as Citibank’s top executives sat down with leading progressives in Bill Clinton’s government to bargain for their future. Their future was at stake because of a successful campaign by Obama’s allies in Chicago.

Their “anti-redlining” political campaign began in the 1960s, when new federal housing laws and federal financing laws helped African Americans in overcrowded city blocks buy houses in Chicago’s white, middle-class neighborhoods.

This resulting migration accelerated white flight to the suburbs and was dubbed “block-busting.” That’s because many previously white neighborhoods transformed into all-black neighborhoods, and many later suffered from blight once buyers proved unable to pay their mortgages.

Yet the Chicago housing activists sought to shield their own neighborhoods — such as Austin and Oak Park — by pressuring banks to fund many more mortgages inside the so-called redlines that marked African-American neighborhoods.

The anti-redlining campaign scored repeated courtroom victories, and also drove Congress to pass the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977.

Congress repeatedly expanded the law, and in combination with a 1994 “Joint Statement” by Clinton’s regulators, effectively gave progressives in government the power to paralyze — and atrophy — any bank’s business if it did not increase mortgages inside the redlines.

Citibank felt that power in April 1998, when it sought federal approval for a merger with Travelers Group. It only got approval from the Clinton administration progressives after it promised in May to provide $115 billion for anti-redlining loans.

Executives at numerous other merging banks were also submitting to the progressives’ top-down terms. Their anti-redlining promises added up to $600 billion between 1993 and 1998, according to a 2000 Treasury Department report.

Before striking its deal with the federal government progressives, Citibank got rid of the Chicago lawsuit by paying off the Chicago lawyers.

While the settlement provided $950,000 for the lawyers, it provided $20,000 for each of the three named plaintiffs, and $360,000 in benefits to be divided among the 183 other clients.

Obama’s Role

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1998 that Obama claimed $23,000 in billable hours for his role in the lawsuit. That role was limited, partly because he was networking his way toward his 1996 election to the Illinois Senate. But he stayed with the firm until 2004, and it was his lawsuit.

Obama also won massive campaign donations from the mortgage industry, including at least $126,349 between 1989 and 2004.

He sought public credit for the lawsuit: His employer submitted a docket to the court that listed him as the lead attorney for two of the three named plaintiffs in the case. The docket bound Obama’s name to the lawsuit — and to the 186 clients who would soon follow.

Obama also used his courtroom work to win a keynote speaking slot at an important conference of Chicago housing groups in 1996. Friends said “‘he’s really thoughtful, [and] he’s done some work as an attorney in these communities,’” Joel Bookman, director of programs for the influential Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which organized the event, told TheDC.

Obama endorsed the national subprime policy, telling a Wall Street audience in September 2007 that “subprime lending started off as a good idea: Helping Americans buy homes who couldn’t previously afford to.”

But by then, the disastrous impact of the top-down subprime policy was obvious, so Obama so tried to push the blame on the banks. “They began to lower their standards. … Most everyone knew that some of these deals were just too good to be true,” he told his Wall Street audience, “but all that money flowing in made it tempting to look the other way.”

The Downsides

To meet their anti-redlining promises, executives ditched their caution. Street-level officers soon began offering loans to people with little chance of repaying, including many of Obama’s eventual clients.

Banks were “financing people who had no jobs. … [T]he pendulum swung the other way,” Renee Brooks, an accountant and one of the three named plaintiffs, told TheDC.

“They didn’t check out certain people, and they got loans and they couldn’t afford them in the first place,” Juanita Malone, another Obama client, told TheDC. “I think that really was, to me … not professional.”

In the late 1990s “money became available to everybody … everybody and their brother-in-law,” said Freeman. “Individuals who get money easily and who don’t have a good background and or a good education would expect to suffer the consequences.”

Their judgment is shared by Mark Zandi, an Obama supporter and the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Too-easy credit and millions of bad loans made during the U.S. housing crisis paved the way for the financial calamity and [the] Great Recession that followed,” he wrote in an Aug. 25 column for the Washington Post.

Bank standards fell so fast that by 2006, Citigroup and other banks were offering favorable mortgages to many legal and illegal immigrants who did not have assets or stable incomes – and with the full support of “compassionate conservative” President George W. Bush.

Another downside was that the extra money inflated house prices. Buyers used their easy mortgages to bid against each other for nice houses, and the resulting property bubble ensured that many African-Americans — and by 2007, many Hispanics in the Southwest — faced unaffordable monthly payments.

“When they made the loan, they were able to take care of it,” said Samuel Wilson, who owns a hardware store in Chicago’s Englewood district. “But work began to slow down and they weren’t able to keep up.”

Even before the 2007 crisis, at least 48 of Obama’s 186 African-American clients bankrupted or received foreclosure notices.

Another giant downside became visible in 2008, when Wall Street crashed because many of those risky mortgages were being used as collateral for high-tech, high-profit stock trades.

The banks had sold the mortgages to Wall Street because they exist to earn profits for their shareholders — not to store risky mortgages for progressives.

Once the economy slowed in 2007, the risky mortgages began foreclosing. Stock prices quickly tumbled, confidence cracked and prestigious Wall Street companies collapsed.

The stalled economy was exacerbated by the Wall Street crash, and by July 2012, Obama’s 186 clients had received at least 188 bankruptcy and foreclosure notices.

Obama’s Clients

The Daily Caller obtained the previously unpublished records for all of Obama’s 186 clients after reporting on Obama’s pioneering Chicago role in the national real estate bubble.

TheDC verified the real estate history of all clients using public databases provided by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, the Cook County Assessor’s Office, the Illinois bankruptcy court, the federal court system and Zillow, a real estate firm.

TheDC talked with 18 of Obama’s former clients but was rebuffed by several others, including lead plaintiff Selma Buycks. After the case, she bankrupted twice and received a foreclosure notice in 2008.

None of the 186 clients, except for Buycks, knew that Obama was marked as a lead lawyer in their class-action case. Some joined the lawsuit while it was in court, others joined once they were notified of their eligibility after the settlement was signed.

The lawyers who brought the suit did not express any interest in the plaintiffs’ subsequent financial circumstances. Clayton and Miner said they had not been in contact with them. TheDC’s emails to the White House were not answered.

The banks’ post-lawsuit loans to the plaintiffs were “absolutely not counterproductive — each of these loans… was a good loan,” Fay Clayton told TheDC. “These were people the banks should have been courting in the first place,” she insisted.


At least 46 of Obama’s 186 clients have declared bankruptcy since 1996, often multiple times.

That’s a far higher bankruptcy rate than the rate for all Americans, for Chicagoans and even for African-Americans in Chicago.

In a 2011 report, the left-of-center Woodstock Institute reported that just 4.25 percent of African-Americans living in Chicago’s mostly black neighborhoods went bankrupt between 2006 and 2010.

By contrast, 11 of Obama’s 186 clients — or 6.6 percent — went bankrupt during the same five-year period.

That bankruptcy is 50 percent higher than the rate among Cook County’s African-American population, and almost three times the bankruptcy rate of all Cook county residents, according to data in the Woodstock report, titled “Bridging the Gap II.”


At least 55 of Obama’s 186 clients received foreclosure notices after 1998 — many of them multiple times. Foreclosures were finalized for at least 39 homeowners, or 20 percent.

That’s at least 20 times the rate at which prime loans foreclose over their lifetimes, and roughly three times the lifetime foreclosure rate of subprime loans.

Ten more of the 55 foreclosures are in process according to PACER, the federal government’s judicial records database.

The number of foreclosures may be near 70. That’s because the court database shows foreclosures by 16 people who share full names with his clients, including Donald Young and James E. Jones.

The clients’ foreclosure rate was far higher than that of other homeowners. In 2009, for example, at least seven of Obama’s former clients got foreclosure notices. That’s roughly twice the rate of completed 2009 foreclosures in Chicago’s minority neighborhoods, according to a 2010 report by the left-wing housing activist group National People’s Action.

That 2009 rate is also roughly eight times the nation’s post-bubble foreclosure rate of 0.5 percent per year, according to a report by the government’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

2009 wasn’t an aberration: Obama’s client list had averaged 5.3 foreclosure notices a year during the 1990s.

The foreclosures temporarily halted in 2010, but are expected to accelerate following a 2012 federal government deal with several major banks.

Nationwide, another 5 million home owners are expected to get new notices between 2012 and the end of 2015, according to Moody Analytics. In May, 1.5 million homes were 90 days or more behind in payments.

More of Obama’s clients likely will be on that list.

“[I have] been paying the mortgage with no problems since 1969, until about [the] last two months, when I had taken ill and wasn’t able to work and take care of the business,” Samuel Wilson told TheDC. He’s also behind on his state taxes, he said. Wilson runs a hardware shop and a laundromat and also rents apartments, but his Englewood neighborhood is poor and crime-wracked, he said.

Homeownership Rates

There were 186 client-enrollees in Obama’s class-action lawsuit. Of those, at least 88 got foreclosure notices or went bankrupt.

As few as 19 of the 98 remaining clients own homes today.

City records show that 29 of the 98 do not hold mortgages, and at least four are deceased. As many as 16 may have foreclosure records.

The progressives’ anti-redlining claims were intended to boost African-Americans’ rates of homeownership. But by 2011, the rate had dropped 2 points below the 1990 level of 45.2 percent.

Moreover, TheDC’s count of 19 homeowners among Obama’s 186 clients may be too large. That’s because the lawsuit included people who bought houses years earlier.

Marcella and Arthur Wilson, a U.S. Marshall who was one of Princeton University’s first African-American graduates, used a Citibank mortgage to buy a house in 1954 for $17,500.

Other clients said they never had problems getting housing loans.

Citibank “didn’t turn me down,” said John Geoghegan, a 68-year-old retiree who expects to pay off his mortgage in several years. “I really have never been turned down for a loan.”


The current value of many clients’ houses is far below their bubble-inflated mortgage loans.

TheDC compared Cook County’s mortgage data with Zillow’s real estate assessments and concluded that 31 of Obama’s clients in the mortgage lawsuit likely borrowed more than the current value of the houses they lived in at the time.

Those 31, all now likely underwater, includes clients who are still paying mortgages and some who have sold their houses during the last four years. It does not include people who have had foreclosures or bankruptcies.

TheDC can’t determine if Obama’s home-owning clients are further underwater than other Chicagoans, partly because the city databases don’t show how much the clients still owe on their mortgage.

But Zillow’s data does show that Chicago has one of the highest underwater mortgage rates in the country, with some ZIP codes showing a higher rate of underwater houses than Las Vegas’ 71 percent or Detroit’s 56 percent.

Many of Obama’s clients lived just a few miles south of the president’s own $345,000 house in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Seventeen clients lived in ZIP code 60619, where 43 percent of homes are now underwater, according to Zillow’s “negative equity” map. Another 15 clients lived in 60628, where 46 percent of owners are underwater. Eleven lived in 60649, where 61 percent of homes are underwater.

Nationwide, roughly 24 percent of home mortgages, or 11 million homes, are underwater by an average of roughly $60,000, according to an August 2012 report by Corelogic, a real estate analysis firm. Homes owned by mid- and low-income people are twice as likely to be underwater as high-income homes.

The current average values of homes in Chicago’s 60619, 60628 and 60649 ZIP codes are only $106,800, $88,000 and $83,100 respectively, according to Zillow.

The underwater, bankrupt or foreclosed clients also likely have little or no wealth for their retirement.

Foreclosures also damage borrowers’ credit records and make it difficult for them to get subsequent loans, homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance, or even to meet employers’ hiring requirements, says Chi Chi Wu, a lawyer at the progressive National Consumer Law Center law firm.

The overall loss of wealth among Obama’s African-American clients likely exceeds the nationwide average for African Americans.

And because of the housing bubble, “[f]rom 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by … 53 percent among black households, compared with just 16 percent among white households,” according to a July 2011 report by the Pew Research Center.

In 2005, half of all African-American families had wealth greater than $12,124. By 2009, the families’ median wealth had plummeted to $5,677.

Chicago’s housing values only started to recover in July 2012. “I don’t want to depress myself … [but] I know that the value of this house is nowhere where it was four, five, six years ago,” Renee Brooks told TheDC.

Costs Imposed on Other Americans

Each client’s wealth losses have been shared with other Americans through declining neighborhood-wide property values.

In Marcella Wilson’s neighborhood, nearby home values have dropped, she said, because “crooks [in banks] were giving people money they couldn’t afford.”

“My neighborhood is so-so.” she said. “Fifty years ago, when we moved in, it was a very lovely place.”

Seventeen of Obama’s clients lived in her 60619 ZIP code.

Each foreclosure cost neighbors, most of whom are African-Americans, up to $220,000 in lost property value, according to a study of Chicago foreclosures in 2003 and 2004 by the left-of-center Homeownership Preservation Foundation.

A single foreclosure can also “impose up to $34,000 in direct costs on local government agencies, including inspections, court actions, police and fire department efforts, potential demolition, unpaid water and sewage, and trash removal,” read the study, titled “The Municipal Cost of Foreclosures: A Chicago Case Study.”

At least 55 of Obama’s 186 clients received foreclosure notices, likely costing the city taxpayers roughly $12.5 million, according to the study’s methodology.

Nationwide, taxpayers are paying roughly $124 billion to prop up the two quasi-government corporations that effectively paid banks to offer high-risk loans to poor people, including poor Chicagoans. Progressive leaders at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought many of the banks’ high-risk loans and then sold them to Wall Street investors.

Pension funds and other shareholders that invested in the banks also paid some of the cost imposed by the progressive-inspired loan crisis.

For example, Citigroup’s value doubled from $250 to $500 per share in 2007, after Citibank’s executives made their 1998 deal with the progressives. But company shareholders’ wealth was slashed by 90 percent during the collapse, wiping out roughly $800 billion in wealth held by investors, including union members’ pension funds.

Societal Costs

Progressives’ top-down bubble hit the nation, but Chicago was walloped unusually hard.

With the foreclosure crisis came a rapid rise in Chicago’s unemployment, especially among minorities. By 2011, the city’s unemployment was the third-highest in the nation, after Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Housing crises tend to boost local crime rates, according to left-wing housing experts Dan Immergluck and Geoff Smith. A 1 percent increase in the city’s foreclosure rate generated a 2.33 percent increase in crime during the early 2000s, said their study, published in the November 2006 issues of the journal “Housing Studies.”

That experience was repeated after 2007 when the city’s murder rate stopped falling, and jumped 36 percent in the first six months of 2012.

When the body count reached 283, the city’s mayor asked the Nation of Islam to serve as neighborhood watchmen.

The mayor’s selection of the hardline African-American group underlined the fact that a vast majority of the mayhem took place in the non-white communities hit hardest by the real estate crash. In 2011, for example, 75 percent of murder victims were African American, and 20 percent were Hispanic, according to a city police report.

Child abuse rates also climbed statewide.

Nationally, violence against children rose in line with rising rates of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosure from 2006 onwards, warned a July 2012 study in the peer-reviewed journal “Pediatrics.”

“Between 2000 and 2009, rates of physical abuse and high-risk [traumatic brain injury] admissions increased by 0.79 percent and 3.1 percent per year, respectively,” in line with foreclosures rates, read the study. The data came from 43 hospitals in 17 of the top 20 metropolitan areas. “These results suggest that housing concerns were a significant source of stress within communities and a harbinger for community [child] maltreatment rates,” the report continued.

Chicago’s health care office declined to supply TheDC with child abuse statistics. Child abuse reports climbed 5 percent statewide in 2012, however, according to a June 2012 report by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Amid the cascading disasters, the city’s population shrank between 2000 and 2010.

Chicago on the Potomac

President Obama’s Chicago lawsuit now may become a national harbinger as he applies his Chicago-era policies to the entire nation. The president is reviving the “redlining” suits as so-called “disparate impact” lawsuits against banks, even when there is no evidence of discriminatory intent.

For example, Richard Cordray, his controversial recess appointee to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Board, said during an April meeting that regulators will sue when they can find significant differences in loans offered to — and accepted by — “African-American or female borrowers … [versus] similarly situated white or male borrowers.”

In July the Department of Justice pressured Wells Fargo to sign a $125 million settlement after it charged that the bank allowed its loan officers in 2004-2007 to charge many African-American and Hispanic borrowers more than they charged many white borrowers.

However, the settlement, jointly signed by the DOJ and Wells Fargo, said the bank “has not been advised by the Department of Justice that the department alleges that any employee … discriminated intentionally.”

“Wells Fargo’s borrower data proves that its subprime borrowers had significantly weaker credit characteristics than its prime borrowers,” read the joint settlement.

Obama administration officials are also trying to revive the 1997 Community Reinvestment Act, which allowed progressives to threaten the banks: “Some have argued that the Community Reinvestment Act is responsible for the mortgage crisis,” Cordray told the April meeting of progressives from Chicago and other cities. “We disagree,” he said.

And Obama is leveraging lawsuits to force banks to fund his progressive allies.

In February 2012, the DOJ pressured several large banks to sign a $25 billion settlement for their bubble-era “robo-signing” practice, a low-quality loan origination tactic adopted by the banks and their outsourced mortgage-agents amid federal government pressure to lower their lending standards.

At least $1.1 billion of the $25 billion settlement will be given to Democratic attorneys general for distribution to housing groups and allied activists. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office, for instance, will get $110 million for “remediating the effects of historical levels of foreclosures … [and for] legal aid services, housing counselors, guidance counselors, outreach to buyers, funds to community revitalization initiatives,” deputy press secretary Maura Possley told TheDC.

The $25 billion payment seems large, but banks can “pay” most of it by promising not to collect mortgage-debts that homeowners can’t repay, even when those mortgages are owned by other investors, said Edward Pinto, an executive vice president and chief credit officer for Fannie Mae until the late 1980s.

Obama is using federal funding to build the nation’s dominant mortgage firm. The government — meaning U.S. citizens — has already bought roughly $854 billion of bubble-era home mortgages since 2008, said Nicole Gelinas, a financial analyst and a columnist at the conservative Manhattan Institute. Officials are now trying to inflate the value of those mortgages with tactics that may spur inflation that would further drain everyone’s bank balance or create another real estate bubble, she added.

For example, Obama is pushing a proposal that would allow many homeowners to refinance their risky mortgages at a lower interest rate. That could help the homeowners, but it could also leave taxpayers with expensive but worthless debt, she said, if inflation rises or the economy stalls.

Obama is also using federal financial power to pump up lending to poor areas via the Federal Housing Administration.

“They’re making a lot of loans … to people with 640, 630, 620 [credit] scores” who have a 25 percent chance of foreclosing, said Pinto.

Chicago is getting some of those bad federal loans, including via Latino mortgage sellers who fraudulently portray several family members’ earnings as income from one or two jobs, said Byas. “It is still happening today… I see Latinos signing up loans for Latinos, and they can’t afford it.”

Additionally, Obama is using his regulatory power to boost the “regulatory equity movement” that tries to tax the suburbs to aid poor cities, said Stanley Kurtz, author of the new book, “Spreading the Wealth.”

“These are policies that Obama generally keeps under the radar… so they don’t receive too much scrutiny,” said Kurtz, whose book shows how Obama is boosting the controversial movement.

Even as he is repeating and extending the top-down policies that created the disaster, Obama is working hard to blame the banks, Wall Street and the GOP for the damage he and other progressives caused.

The 2012 Election

Obama’s previously unrecognized contribution to the nation’s subprime disaster will likely be highlighted in the 2012 election season, partly because many voters are still angry about the nation’s damaged real estate market, and are seeking political fixes.

In an Aug. 13 Florida stump speech, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared that “8.5 million homes foreclosed — a record level — is not success, Mr. President. We need to help the people in Florida with housing policies and get housing prices up again and let people stay in their homes.”

Obama’s record as a private sector lawyer also contrasts with the former Massachusetts governor’s record as a private sector investor.

Romney’s supporters say he used his investment skills to create more than 100,000 jobs and expand investment capital for his partners through his work at Bain Capital.

Romney also provided a $50,500 mortgage to a Texas couple for 15 years after a five-house real estate investment went awry. “The money they borrowed from him to buy their home in 1997 was life-changing,” read a New York Times’ Aug. 9 article describing Romney’s private sector foray into real estate.

Romney’s detractors, including Obama, say Romney pursued profits and oversaw layoffs and outsourcing.

But Obama’s work as a subprime pioneer put most of his 186 clients on a path to foreclosures, bankruptcies and inflated debts, according to court records.

White House officials have not responded to repeated emails from The Daily Caller seeking Obama’s assessment of his lawsuit record.

Nor have they provided any information about his financial gains from his work at Miner’s firm. Obama has not released his tax records from 1998 or 1999 — when he was paid for the 1994 subprime case.

But the economy still hasn’t recovered from the property bubble.

“People can’t afford to pay their mortgage,” said Samuel Wilson, owner of the hardware shop. “They were able to do it, but the economy started pulling them in different angles and they didn’t have anything to live with.”

“I weathered it … [but] the younger people are not able to keep up,” said Maudestine McLeary — one Obama’s lawsuit’s plaintiffs.

And Marcella Wilson — no relation to Samuel Wilson — recently took out a mortgage on her paid-off home to help her struggling son and daughter. “I needed some money … [because they] are in kind of bad straits,” said the 80-year-old African-American widow.

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War Zone: Second Shooting Within A Week Just A Couple Of Blocks Of Obama’s Heavily Guarded Street In Chicago Illinois

August 31, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A teenage boy was shot about a block from President Obama’s home, in the second such incident in the past week.

The 17-year-old boy was shot in the leg and buttock in the 5000 block of South Woodlawn Avenue about 4:20 a.m., police said.

The shooting scene is about a block east of the heavily guarded street where the Obamas have a home in the Kenwood neighborhood.

He was taken in “stable” condition to an unidentified hospital, according to police.

Last weekend, another shooting a few blocks from President Barack Obama’s Chicago home turned out to be fatal.

“Three blocks over, that’s it. Three blocks. He’s right there,” said Freeman Richmond, who lives on the next block on Drexel Boulevard.

Stephin Williams and his girlfriend were in their car around 2:30 a.m. in the 4900 block of South Drexel Boulevard, in the Kenwood neighborhood about three blocks northwest of Obama’s Chicago home on Greenwood Avenue. Two men walked up with a handgun and announced a robbery, police said.

When Williams attempted to fight, one of the males shot him multiple times.

Williams, 23, of the 4000 block of South Lake Park Avenue, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m., according to Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Richmond was driving home when he saw police swarming to the scene.

“When I came around the block, the kid was laying face down right there. He wasn’t moving,” Richmond told CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli. “I paused for a minute and looked at him, and they finally picked him up and put him in the ambulance, and I drove on away.”

Even with the proximity to the heavily-guarded presidential residence, violence is not new to the area, Richmond said.

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Pedophile McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Gregory M. Pyle Arrested And Charged With Child Molestation And Producing Child Pornography

August 31, 2012

MCHENRY COUNTY, ILLINOIS – A McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested on August 14, and charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child and producing child pornography by the sexual exploitation of a child. The defendant, Gregory M. Pyle, age 36, of Crest Hills, IL formerly of Crystal Lake, IL, was charged in a criminal complaint.

According to court documents, an individual under investigation for child pornography identified the usernames of other individuals with whom he had traded child pornography over the internet. Pyle was allegedly identified as the person using two of those usernames. The complaint alleges that Pyle transmitted sexually explicit images via the internet under those usernames including depictions of a minor child. During a later interview, the minor stated that Pyle had sexually abused him on multiple occasions, including on a trip to Wisconsin. The complaint alleges that in December 2008 Pyle traveled to Wisconsin with the child, then 10 years of age, with the intent to engage in a sexual act with the child, and to produce child pornography that was then transmitted via the internet.

Pyle appeared before U.S. Magistrate P. Michael Mahoney in U.S. District court and was ordered to remain in federal custody without bond pending a detention hearing at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 17, 2012.

The charges were announced by the acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Gary Shapiro, and Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Grant. The Illinois State Police and the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce assisted in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Love. Crossing a state line to engage in a sexual act with a minor under 12 carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison. Sexual exploitation of a child under 12 years of age for the purpose of producing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison and both counts carry a $250,000 maximum fine. If convicted, the actual sentence will be determined by a United States District Court Judge, guided by the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

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War Zone: At Least 17 Shot Overnight In Chicago Illinois

August 26, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A man was killed and at least 16 others were shot across the city Saturday evening and this morning, continuing a streak of violence that has left dozens wounded in recent days.

In the fatal shooting, a 28-year-old man was found shot multiple times, including in the chest, inside an SUV parked near the corner of 91st Street and South East End Avenue in the Calumet Heights neighborhood on the South Side at about 3 a.m., police said.

The man was identified as Rashad Pratt, 28, of the 9000 block of South Ridgeland Ave., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He was declared dead on the scene after paramedics were unable to revive him, authorities said.

Additional details weren’t available as district officers and Area South detectives remained on the scene this morning.

At least five people have been shot in the city since 4 a.m., police said:

A 24-year-old man was shot about 4 a.m. in the 4900 block of West Ferdinand Street after attending a party in the area, police said. The man got into an argument without someone outside the party, and the other person took out a gun and shot him, police said. The man, who has gang affiliation, was not cooperating with investigators. His condition had been stabilized at John H. Stroger Hospital.

A 33-year-old man was shot in the leg in the 3600 block of West Diversey Avenue about 5:08 a.m. No details were available.

A 46-year-old woman was shot in the leg about 5:09 a.m. in the 8000 block of South Manistee Avenue, said Police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak. Two men drove by in a vehicle and began shooting at her. She was being treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

A 23-year-old man was in good condition at Mount Sinai Hospital after being shot about 5:45 a.m. in the 1900 block of South Marshall Boulevard, police said.

A 28-year-old woman was shot in the 1100 block of North Pulaski Road about 6:13 a.m. She was being treated in good condition at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center.

In other shootings Saturday night and this morning:

About 2 a.m., a man believed to be in his 30s suffered a non-serious graze wound to his back in the 2300 block of South Rockwell Street in the Little Village neighborhood, police said.

At about 12:15 a.m., a 37-year-old man suffered a non-serious gunshot wound in the 7800 block of South Paulina Street, authorities said, after originally saying he may have been shot on Marshfield Avenue nearby. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in good condition.

About 6 p.m. Saturday, a 22-year-old man was shot in the 2300 block of South Washtenaw Avenue while walking north from 24th Street, police said. The victim has a criminal history, police said.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the leg about 8 p.m. in the 7900 block of South Prairie Avenue, and taken to Comer Children’s Hospital good condition.

A 15-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the leg in the 1600 block of North Keystone Avenue in the city’s Hermosa neighborhood just after 9 p.m. Saturday, police said. The teen was taken to Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in good condition, police said. The boy was riding his bike when a small car approached him, and a front-seat passenger shot him in the knee, police said.

A 16-year-old boy suffered a graze wound to the neck in the 6000 block of South Racine Avenue in the Englewood neighborhood at about 9:48 p.m., police said. The boy was taken to St. Bernard Hospital in good condition, said Officer Ronald Gaines, a police spokesman. The boy was in a park, arguing with another boy or man about a girl when the other person shot him, police said.

A 17-year-old boy was wounded in the forearm in the 10600 block of South Yates Boulevard at about 5:50 p.m., police said. The teen, who was being treated at an area hospital in good condition, told police he heard a gunshot and felt pain. An attacker came out of a gangway and shot him as he was walking home, police said.

A 41-year-old man was shot about 9 p.m. in the 2000 block of South Loomis Street, and his condition was stabilized at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. The man was approached on foot by his attacker, and after the shooting the man flagged down someone who drove him to the hospital, Kubiak said.

Two men, ages 20 and 23, were shot in the 8300 block of South Wood Street just after 7:30 p.m., police said. Both men were taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park. The 23-year-old man, who was shot in the back, had his condition stabilized, while the younger man was listed in good condition with a gunshot wound to the hand, police said.

A 22-year-old man was in good condition after being shot while driving in the 2700 block of West 24th Street about 2 a.m. today, a.m., Kubiak said. The man was driving in the area when someone threw a bottle at his car, then someone started shooting at it, shattering the man’s rear and passenger-side windows, police said. The man was in good condition at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Authorities suspected most of the shootings of being gang-related, though investigators were still working to establish the motive. No arrests have been made in any of the shootings.

At an afternoon news conference announcing the arrests of a dozen reputed gang members, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said that closing open-air drug markets and busting the street gang members who run them was a critical part of stopping the violence.

McCarthy planned to discuss the results of a three-day drug crackdown on the South and West sides at a news conference scheduled for Sunday morning.

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Savages Turning Chicago Illinois Into A War Zone – 19 People Shot In 8 Hours, 13 Within A Single 30 Minute Period

August 24, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Nineteen people were shot in attacks across the South and West sides between about 5:20 p.m. Thursday and 1:30 a.m. Friday – including 13 people during a single 30-minute period – according to the Chicago Police Department.

The shootings peaked between about 9:15 and 9:45 p.m. Thursday when 13 people were shot, including eight in a single incident at 79th Street and Essex Avenue about 9:30 p.m.

Police are still trying to sort out that shooting, the second of three incidents that left multiple people wounded since 8 p.m.

As of 4 a.m., none of the 19 people shot had died.

The first reported shooting Thursday afternoon left four people wounded in the Little Village neighborhood about 5:20 p.m.

Two more were wounded in the Ida B. Wells / Darrow Homes neighborhood about 8:10 p.m., police said. Two men – 27 and 33 – were shot in the 600 block of East 37th Street and taken to the University of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines said. The younger man was shot in the head and the other in the right arm, Gaines said.

The eight people shot at 79th Street and Essex Avenue were wounded in a drive-by about 9:15 p.m., police said. The ages of the people shot ranged from 14 to 28. Seven were male.

About 9:30, two men were shot in their arms in the 2900 block of West 39th Place in the Brighton Park neighborhood. It’s not clear what hospital they were taken to, Gaines said. They were wounded in a drive-by attack, police said.

And about 15 minutes later, a 24-year-old man was shot in the leg and taken to Jackson Park Hospital from the 7200 block of South Jeffery Boulevard, Gaines said. He was treated and released. The man told police he was talking on his phone when he heard a single shot and realized he was wounded.

Just after midnight, a 17-year-old was shot in the back and taken to Stroger Hospital in serious condition, police said. He was walking in the 7100 block of South Vincennes Avenue in the Englewood neighborhood when someone inside a passing vehicle opened fire, police said.

Another 17-year-old was shot after 1:30 a.m. Friday in the 3500 block of West Grenshaw Street in the Homan Square neighborhood. He’s in good condition at Mount Sinai Hospital. Someone walked to him and started shooting, police said.

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Columbia Illinois Police Fall For Kid’s “Pervert In A Van” Story That Was Hatched By Adults

August 21, 2012

COLUMBIA, ILLINOIS – Columbia police determined Monday morning that an attempted abduction of a 11-year-old boy Friday night never occurred.

Police will forward juveniles charges to Monroe County prosecutors for their review.

“We are extremely happy to learn that this incident did not occur in our community,” Police Chief Joe Edwards said. “We are very disappointed that anyone would fabricate an incident of this magnitude.”

This hoax follows a similar one that was reported in East Carondelet.

An 11-year-old girl falsely claimed Sunday night that a man attempted to kidnap her while she was with her 19-year-old sister at an East Carondelet park, Police Chief Michael Dennis said.

Two adults who persuaded the girl to make the report were charged Monday with felonies, East Carondelet Mayor Herb Simmons said.

Marlona J. Pollard, 19, of 1206 State St. in East Carondelet, and her boyfriend, Tony M. Johnson, 23, of 4118 Michigan Ave. in St. Louis, each face single counts of disorderly conduct for filing the false reports, Simmons said. Johnson was being held on $40,000 bail and Pollard on $20,000 bail.

“Why people do this? I have no idea,” Simmons said. “I’m glad it’s put to rest.”

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has been contacted in regard to the girl, Simmons said.

Columbia police had received a report from the 11-year-old boy and his older sister at about 8 p.m. Friday that a man attempted to abduct the boy near West Locust and North Main Street.

Police drew up a sketch of the suspect based on the boy’s detailed description of the man. Media and area police departments were alerted in an attempt to identify the suspect.

“The Columbia Police Department made this investigation our highest priority. We have been working around the clock since Friday night to identify the suspect,” Edwards said.

But after the leads failed to identify the suspect, police re-interviewed the brother and sister. The older sister admitted to not being with her brother at the incident. Following another interview with the boy Monday morning, police determined the abduction did not occur.

In the East Carondelet case, police originally received a report that a man grabbed the girl and attempted to take her at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday from a park on Seventh Street. She escaped and the man fled east toward Dupo, police were told.

But after interviewing the girl and Pollard, the only other witness, police realized it was a false report.

The abduction report and a description of the suspect were broadcast over ISPERN (Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network) before East Carondelet police realized the report was a hoax.

Meanwhile, Monroe County authorities do have confidence in the three separate reports they received in July and early August of a suspicious man who was spotted watching or following children in the Waterloo and Hecker areas.

“There is nothing to lead us to believe that these aren’t true accounts,” Waterloo Police Chief Jim Trantham said.

In all three cases, the witnesses provided a similar description of the man and of his behavior, Trantham said.

The subject is described as a white male with a scruffy beard, who was in his 30s or 40s. He was driving a white Chevrolet Silverado pickup with a tool box and, in one report, a dog in the bed.

So far, the man has not touched the children, Monroe County Sheriff Dan Kelley said.

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Chicago Illinois City Employee Arrested And Charged With Stealing Copper Wire From Airport Runway

August 17, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS  — A City Of Chicago worker stands accused of stealing 500 feet of copper wire from Midway Airport.

According to Cook County prosecutors, David Coates worked at Midway Airport where he pumped gas.

On Tuesday, Coates was captured on video leaving his work site in his truck to cut pieces of runway copper wire.

Chicago Police investigated the thefts and found that he had taken approximately 500 feet of wire since Aug. 12, prosecutors said.

Coates allegedly had taken the wire, valued at nearly $700, and sold it at a scrap yard.

Investigators also recovered a pair of wire cutters from the defendant when they confronted him about the thefts.

Coates, 57, of Chicago was charged with one count of theft and is facing up to five years in prison if convicted. Bond was set at $25,000.

The Department of Aviation was quick to say that none of the thefts impacted airport operations.

Department spokesperson Karen Pride said that the suspect worked for the city’s Fleet and Facilities Management department at Midway, pumping gas, and had been assigned to Midway for some time.

Pride said the wire was in storage at a Midway maintenance facility.

Bond for Coates has been set at $25,000.

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11,000+ Illegal Immigrants Show Up For “Dream Relief” In Chicago Illinois – Wetbacks Spring From The Woodwork For Rewards In Obama Amnesty Program That Will Cost US Taxpayers Billions

August 16, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The turnout for Wednesday’s Dream Relief workshop in Chicago was so strong that organizers began turning people away.

Locals know the venue as Navy Pier, but Rep. Luis Gutierrez called it something different.

“Navy Pier is today’s Ellis Island. And while they saw New York City, today, they see Chicago,” Gutierrez said.

The line of undocumented students wrapped around Navy Pier and at one point across the Chicago River to apply for deferred action to allow them, at least in the short-term, not to worry about deportation. Organizers estimated the turnout at more than 11,000 young people.

“This is what America’s about. This is what their parents came to this country for,” said Laurence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights.

Following a major immigration policy change about two months ago, the Dream Relief workshop helps children who were illegally brought into the United States apply for a work permit and even a driver’s license.

Five thousand people initially signed up for the workshop, and as the 9 a.m. start time came and went, the crowds kept filing toward the lake. Organizers said they would be able to provide full services for 1,500 people today and partial services to another 6,000.

“This shows that a lot of us actually want to get ahead in life. It’s just that for a couple numbers, Social Security card, we can’t do anything,” said one applicant who didn’t want to be named because of her undocumented status.

The new policy announced by President Barack Obama this summer took effect Wednesday and will allow more than 75,000 young undocumented immigrants in Illinois and 1.7 million across the country the temporary right to live and work openly in the United States.

“It’s an opportunity that we’ve been waiting for basically for a really long time,” said applicant Edalid Miranda, “and finally it’s here.”

The program is open to applicants ages 15 to 31 who came to the country before they were 16 years old and have lived in the U.S. for the past five years.

Registrants were required to bring a proof of identity, as well as documentation of enrollment in school or honorable discharge from the Armed Forces. Registrants must not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanor offenses. Full details and restrictions are listed at dreamrelief.org.

“A lot of dreams are going to be accomplished by this,” said Christian Lopez.

The day was also a big one for Sen. Dick Durbin and Gutierrez, who have championed this cause in Washington, and also Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stopped by to announce $250,000 in private funding for the DREAM Relief program, mostly leftover from NATO.

“Many of us who were born here take it for granted that we’re going to be citizens. They are willing to stand and wait all night just for the chance,” said Durbin.

Workshops will be held each month through January, and because of the huge turnout, more workshops could be added.

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Veteran Chicago Illinois Police Officer Hits 4 Year Old Girl With His Motorcycle, Shoots And Kills Her Father

August 15, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – An off-duty Chicago Police officer whose motorcycle struck a 4-year-old girl in Maywood, shot and killed the girl’s father after the father and another man attacked the officer after the accident, officials said.

The officer — a 43-year-old, eight-year veteran of the force — was headed home about Saturday evening when the incident began, Fraternal Order of Police Spokesman Pat Camden said.

He was riding northbound on First Avenue in Maywood near Madison Street when he saw a girl suddenly dart into the street. To avoid striking the girl, the officer purposely ditched his motorcycle, putting it down on its side on the pavement, according to a statement from Maywood village spokesman Larry Shapiro.

But it skidded and flipped, striking the girl as well as her 18-year-old cousin, John Passley, who had run into the street to help her. When the officer tried to help the girl, her father, Christopher Middleton, 26, came out of a nearby restaurant and approached the officer angrily, shouting, according to authorities.

The officer told Middleton he was a police officer, but Middleton struck the officer in the face, knocked him to the ground and continued to hit him, according to Shapiro.

Passley joined in and kicked the officer, Shapiro said. The officer then drew his gun and shot Middleton once.

“He was about to lose consciousness to people beating him,” said Camden, defending the actions of the officer, who works in a West Side police district. “He fired in defense of his life.”

Middleton was pronounced dead at 10:14 p.m. at Loyola University Medical Center.

Middleton’s sister, Tina Middleton, said her brother lived in Elgin with the mother of his daughter and was visiting relatives in Maywood, where he grew up. “He was a good person,” she said. “I know for sure he wasn’t out to harm the man. My brother would never harm anybody. I could understand him [the officer] being upset, but two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Middleton was due to be married Aug. 18th, his sister said. Besides his daughter who was injured, Middleton also had a 6-year-old son and an unborn child, his sister said.

Middleton’s daughter suffered contusions and abrasions and was hospitalized overnight for observation.

The officer is expected to recover from his injuries but was left with contusions to his head and body from the attack and a possible broken leg and broken shoulder from the crash, Camden said.

Passley was being held by Maywood police for questioning, Shapiro said.

The Independent Police Review Authority — which examines all Chicago police-involved shootings — is investigating the incident, said IPRA spokesman Larry Merritt.

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10 Wounded By Gunfire In Robberies And Attacks In Chicago Illinois Over Just 2 Days

August 12, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Ten people were wounded by gunfire in a handful of robberies and other attacks across the South and West sides on Friday and Saturday, police said.

An 18-year-old was shot in the chest during a driveby shooting in the Pilsen neighborhood on the West Side and is in critical condition atJohn H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, police said. Police were called about 3:10 a.m. to the scene in the 1900 block of South Morgan Street after receiving a report of a person being shot and found a crowd surrounding the victim who was laying on the sidewalk.

Witnesses on the scene told police they observed a red Ford Explorer driving southbound on Morgan with approximately 4-5 people inside. Witnesses heard gunshots coming from the vehicle, which fled westbound on Cullerton Street. Witnesses told police they heard someone inside the Explorer shouting gang slogans. The victim doesn’t have any documented gang affiliations, police said.

The boy pushed the handgun away and struggled with the man before he was shot in his left upper leg. The shooter fled in an unknown direction and the boy was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital by a friend, where he was in stable condition. Police were unable to find a crime scene where the boy said he was shot and he lives 7 miles away in Englewood.

A person was shot in the 4400 block of South Union Avenue in the Canaryville neighborhood about 1:45 a.m., Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak said. He was in a car heading south on Union when a known gang member opened fire from the street, Kubiak said. He was taken to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.

Two 27-year-old men were shot in the 800 block of East 88th Street in the Burnside neighborhood just before midnight, Kubiak said. Both men identify with the same gang. One was shot in the hand and is in good condition at Advocate Trinity Hospital and the other was shot in the side of his back and is in stable condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

A man with a bag of money meeting someone to buy a car in the 300 block of South Artesian Avenue in the near West Side neighborhood was shot by two men with handguns about 10:45 p.m., police said. The 24-year-old was shot in the neck, bicep and hand. He tried to meet someone to purchase a car and was told when he arrived the man he was to meet wasn’t there. Two others emerged, both with handguns, and opened fire. He dropped the money and ran but was shot, police said. He’s in stable condition at Stroger hospital.

A 27-year-old who had been arrested 63 times was shot in the buttocks about 7:20 p.m. near the intersection of 63rd Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the West Woodlawn neighborhood, police said. He’s in stable condition at Stroger hospital.

About a half hour before that shooting, a 25-year-old man was taken to Holy Cross Hospital after getting shot in the 7200 block of South Artesian Avenue in the Marquette Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side. The 25-year-old was on a porch with friends when someone approached and opened fire, police said.

About 12:25 p.m. Saturday, a 26-year-old was shot in the arm in the 4700 block of South St. Lawrence Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side. He is in good condition at Stroger hospital. He was in a car with his girlfriend when someone he knew ran up and shot him, police said. His girlfriend drove him to the hospital.

About three hours earlier, a man was shot in front of a home in the 2700 block of South Keeler Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood. He was hit in the elbow and back and taken to Stroger hospital.

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Psychiatrist Treating Colorado Movie Theater Shooter Contacted Police Before Rampage

August 7, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The psychiatrist who treated suspected movie-theater shooter James Holmes made contact with a University of Colorado police officer to express concerns about her patient’s behavior several weeks before Holmes’ alleged rampage, sources told ABC News.

The sources did not know what the officer approached by Dr. Lynne Fenton did with the information she passed along. They said, however, that the officer was recently interviewed, with an attorney present, by the Aurora Police Department as a part of the ongoing investigation of the shooting.

Fenton would have had to have serious concerns to break confidentiality with her patient to reach out to the police officer or others, the sources said. Under Colorado law, a psychiatrist can legally breach a pledge of confidentiality with a patient if he or she becomes aware of a serious and imminent threat that their patient might cause harm to others. Psychiatrists can also breach confidentiality if a court has ordered them to do so.

“For any physician to break doctor-patient confidentiality there would have to be an extremely good reason,” said Dr. Carol Bernstein, a psychiatrist at NYU Langone Medical Center and past president of the American Psychiatric Association.

Bernstein has no specific knowledge of the Holmes case and spoke in general terms.

“Confidentiality is a key part of the doctor-patient relationship,” she said. “It is central to everything we do.”

ABC News and affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver first reported Wednesday that Fenton had contacted other members of the university’s threat-assessment team about her concerns. The university-wide, threat-assessment team reportedly never met to discuss Holmes after he announced his intent to withdraw from the University nearly six weeks before the July 20 shooting that left 12 dead and 58 injured.

University of Colorado spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery declined to comment on what, if anything, the university police officer might have done with information provided by Fenton, citing a court-issued gag order preventing her from confirming or denying any information related to Fenton or the investigation.

In a written statement to ABC News, however, the university said campus police officers are “frequently involved” in meetings of the university’s Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment (BETA) team.

The statement went on to say that police involvement with threat assessment “could include security matters, badge access, background checks, wellness checks, criminal investigations and referrals and outreach to other law enforcement agencies.”

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Illinois Education Spending Is Less Than It Spends Funding Pension Liabilities

August 6, 2012

ILLINOIS – The state of Illinois faces at least $83 billion in unfunded liability between its five pension systems, and is on track to spend more on its government pensions than on education by 2016, a new study released by Governor Pat Quinn’s office says.

The state budget office conducted the study based on a “district-by-district analysis” if the state does not enact comprehensive pension reform, the governor said in a statement. Governor Quinn released the study a few days after calling a special session dedicated to pension reform on August 17.

Illinois faces severe underfunding in its pension system. It reported a funded ratio of 43.4%, way below the 80% considered healthy. Based on fiscal 2010 data, Illinois had the lowest funded ratio of any state, according to a June 2012 report by the Pew Center on the States.

Among states, Illinois stands out for setting aside a huge 12% of its annual budget just for its chronically underfunded pension.

Credit rating agencies have threatened to lower the state’s rating unless lawmakers ease the strain on the budget.

Illinois’ structural deficit along with its huge unfunded pension liability have led to credit downgrades, with Illinois rated in the low one-letter A grades by Moody’s Investors Service, the lowest level among states it rates.

Meanwhile, Illinois joins New York, California and Maryland in having the highest state tax rates in the country. Illinois was dinged last year for boosting its taxes 67%.

Pension reform is a hot button issue, with government workers receiving far more than the private sector in retiree benefits, numerous studies have shown.

Ideas for Illinois pension reform include capping abuses of government workers retiring as early as 55 and collecting nearly full pay every year; raising the age of benefits eligibility to a normal retirement age; and reducing the cost of living increases to pension payouts by one percentage point.

Meanwhile, Illinois government workers are entitled to solid state retirement health benefits. Illinois’s gaping credit-default-swap spreads suggest market fears that the state will face an inability to service its bond debt.

“Under current actuarial assumptions, required state pension contributions will rise to over $6 billion in the next few years if no comprehensive pension reform is enacted, which will continue to result in significant cuts to education,” the governor said in a statement, adding “fast-rising pension costs will cost downstate and suburban school districts far more than assuming the responsibility to pay for their compensation decisions over time.”

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Macon County Illinois Deputy Sheriff Brian Duff Arrested For Reckless Driving After Hitting Man And Truck With Patrol Car – His Victim Lost Both Legs

August 5, 2012

DECATUR, ILLINOIS — A Macon County Sheriff’s deputy who allegedly struck a Decatur man with his squad car has been arrested.

Decatur police arrested deputy Brian Duff, 41, Tuesday afternoon on a charge of aggravated reckless driving for allegedly hitting Tom Lennox, 55, as well as the S-10 pickup truck Lennox had been riding in. Lennox was hit around 10:39 p.m. June 29 as he was placing a mattress and box springs back in the bed of the pickup truck.

Lennox was pinned between both Duff’s squad car and the pickup and suffered a head injury and injuries to both legs. He was treated at Decatur Memorial Hospital before being transferred to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where he underwent amputation of both lower legs.

Lennox, who is still in the hospital, was listed in fair condition Tuesday afternoon.

Duff and two other occupants of the pickup truck Lennox was riding in were transported to local hospitals, where they were treated and released after the accident, Decatur Deputy Police Chief James Chervinko said earlier this month.

Decatur Police Chief Todd Walker said his department has been investigating the accident since it occurred late last month. He noted that the extensive investigation, conducted by the Decatur police traffic investigators and members of the department’s Fatal Accident Investigation Team, included several interviews and an accident reconstruction to ascertain the events leading up to the accident.

Walker said the two-week investigation indicated that Duff, who was on duty June 29, was operating his squad car recklessly at the time of the accident.

“The facts of the investigation demonstrated to us that deputy Duff’s driving actions, or a lack of actions, were clearly reckless and unsafe,” Walker said. “In addition, Mr. Lennox suffered great bodily harm and permanent disfigurement, which elevates the reckless driving charge to a preliminary charge of aggravated reckless driving.”

Walker said preliminary tests conducted at the Illinois State Police Crime Lab did not indicate Duff was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

He noted that due to the ongoing investigation, he could not comment on whether Duff was distracted at the time of the accident.

Decatur police responded to the accident, which occurred in the 2700 block of North Jasper Street, at 10:39 p.m.

According to Walker, a Chevy S-10 pickup truck, driven by Lloyd Dial, was hauling a mattress and other items when the mattress and box springs fell out of the truck bed.

Dial pulled over to the east curb of the street, activated his emergency hazard lights and put the car in park, while Lennox exited the vehicle to retrieve the mattress and box springs.

As Lennox was placing and adjusting the items in the truck bed, both he and the rear end of the truck were suddenly struck by Duff, Walker said.

“The impact between the sheriff’s (deputy’s) vehicle and the S-10 was significant enough that the squad car lifted the rear of the pickup off the pavement, advancing it forward for a distance and pinning Mr. Lennox between the two vehicles,” Walker said.

Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider said his thoughts are with Lennox and his family.

“My heart goes out to those who were injured in the accident,” he said, adding that his thoughts are also with Duff and his family. “This outcome is something we never like to see, but the Decatur Police Department did a very thorough and professional job with this investigation, and now it’s up to us to make sure our internal investigation is conducted professionally and with integrity.”

Walker echoed Schneider’s sentiments.

“Our thoughts go out to Mr. Lennox and his family during this difficult and challenging recovery period, and to be frank, to all parties involved,” Walker said. “We understand this incident has altered the lives of all involved. We do not take any arrest situation lightly and recognize that this may potentially impact Mr. Duff’s career in law enforcement.”

Walker said the findings of his department’s investigation were handed over to the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office, which concurred with the investigation and probable cause findings toward Duff.

Schneider said disciplinary action toward Duff will hinge on what is discovered through both the Decatur Police Department’s accident investigation and his office’s internal investigation.

Walker said police will not be taking any action with regard Dial or Lennox.

Duff, a seven-year veteran of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, is currently being held in the Macon County Jail.

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Its Now Illegal In Illinois For Employers To Demand Job Applicant’s Passwords To Their Online Profiles – Second Of 2 States To Protect Residents Privacy

August 2, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — Seeking to guard the privacy rights of the social networking generation, Illinois is making it illegal for employers to ask job applicants for passwords to their online profiles.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law Wednesday at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where several students lamented that online snooping by bosses has caused some to lose out on jobs and forced others to temporarily deactivate their online profiles.

Illinois is only the second state to have such a law on the books, and it leaves no exceptions — even for openings that require thorough background checks.

In their efforts to vet job applicants, some companies and government agencies have started asking for passwords to log in to a prospective employee’s accounts on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Civil liberties groups, social media users and others have criticized the practice as a serious invasion of privacy, likening it to handing over the keys to your house.

“Especially in times like this when there are not a lot of jobs, that puts a lot of pressure on you. It’s hard to resist,” said Pegah Shabehpour, a 22-year-old architecture student browsing the Internet at the ITT campus library.

“I’ve heard of some friends deactivating their accounts when they are applying for jobs and once they get a job, reactivating them,” she said, though she’s never been asked for her passwords.

The governor said it was important to ensure privacy laws keep pace with technology.

“We’re dealing with 21st-century issues,” Quinn said. “… Privacy is a fundamental right. I believe that and I think we need to fight for that.”

The law protects both current employees and prospective hires. But the legislation, which takes effect Jan. 1, does not stop bosses from viewing information that isn’t restricted by privacy settings on a website. Employers are also free to set workplace policies on the use of the Internet, social networking sites and email.

Penalties in any successful civil suit would start at between $100 and $300 and could end up costing employers more, said bill sponsor Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat.

Maryland currently has a similar law, and several other states are considering bans, including Washington, Delaware and New Jersey. Two U.S. senators have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to review whether such password requests from employers are legal.

Lori Andrews, a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, said some research has shown that 75 percent of employers require their human resources departments to look at online profiles before offering an applicant a job, and that a third of employers have turned down applicants based on those searches.

“Some of this is very improper,” she said at Wednesday’s event.

It is especially problematic because it opens the door to discrimination, Andrews said, noting that online profiles can contain information about a person’s religious beliefs, political affiliations and sexual preference.

Chemical engineering student Kimberly Douglas, 19, said she had heard of employers rejecting applicants who refused to grant access to their online profiles on the assumption that they must be hiding something.

Not only is it unfair, she said, but she also wondered what you can learn about a person’s job performance from poking around their photos and online presence.

“You post things about music, quotes, stuff you like, but it’s not

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Drew Peterson Trial Judge Pissed Off After Second Major Blunder By Prosecution Puts Trial In Jeopardy – Prosecutors Don’t Have Any Evidence, Police Botched Investigation, And State Is Relying On Heresay, Imagination, And Rumors To Prove Murder

August 2, 2012

JOLIET, ILLINOIS – A visibly angry judge said Wednesday he will consider declaring a mistrial at Drew Peterson’s murder trial after a second major blunder by prosecutors in as many days, once again illustrating how the high-profile case has been beset by problems from the outset.

Judge Edward Burmila’s blistering rebuke came after prosecutors’ second witness suggested Peterson may have put a .38-caliber bullet in his driveway to intimidate him, which prompted Burmila to worry aloud in court whether the former police officer could get a fair trial.

The 58-year-old Peterson is charged with first-degree murder in 2004 death of his third wife, 40-year-old Kathleen Savio.

“What is the purpose of you trying to tell the jury that this man (Peterson) put a bullet on the driveway?” the judge said, his voice booming, after sending jurors out of the courtroom. “This is completely troubling … it makes no sense whatsoever.”

Later, before announcing he would only rule on a defense motion for a mistrial Thursday, Burmila added, “The testimony (prosecutors) presented was a low blow in this case.”

It was the latest twist in a case plagued by problems for years — including a botched initial investigation that left prosecutors with no physical evidence and forced them to hang their case on hearsay evidence, which is typically barred.

The mistrial decision comes before prosecutors could even present the most delicate of hearsay evidence: “From the grave” statements, as attorneys for the state described them, that Savio allegedly made to others about Peterson threatening to kill her well before her body was found in her bathtub.

Peterson’s attorneys will surely challenge those statements, as well as some made by Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, before she vanished in 2007. She also allegedly told friends and relatives that her husband said he could kill her and make it look like an accident.

But Burmila has ordered the prosecution to stay away from some of those hearsay statements, including a pastor’s claim that Stacy Peterson told him Drew Peterson admitted he killed Savio. If the pastor says that on the stand, it would certainly prompt defense attorneys to again ask for a mistrial.

On Thursday, Burmila must decide if he will wipe out the testimony of one of Peterson’s neighbors, Thomas Pontarelli, and then let the trial go on — something he said he could possibly do as an alternative to effectively cancelling the trial.

Prosecutors’ first blunder came barely 10 minutes into their opening statement Tuesday, when Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow began to tell jurors that Peterson once allegedly offered $25,000 to someone to kill Kathleen Savio.

Burmila told prosecutors Tuesday that they had no business introducing an allegation for which there was no proof and which could taint jurors’ view of other evidence.

Glasgow looked shaken Tuesday after his misstep. And after the legal drama Wednesday, he tried to sound upbeat, saying to reporters outside court, “We’re confident that the trial will resume tomorrow morning.”

But whether that’s good for what is the highest-profile case of his career — maybe in the history of Will County — remains to be seen.

Legal experts say what has unfolded before the jury so far certainly has damaged the case.

“It’s bad news if a judge is chastising prosecutors so much, because it tells the jury, ‘I don’t trust this prosecutor, I don’t approve of this prosecutor,’ ” said Marcia Clark, Los Angeles’ lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. “It’s a scary place to be as prosecutor.”

In that light, Joe Tacopina, a prominent defense attorney in New York, said the best thing that might happen for Peterson’s defense team is for the judge to order the trial to continue.

He said if the judge declares a mistrial, the message to the general public will be that prosecutors are either incompetent or had been “playing dirty.”

That very point was made in the defense’s mistrial motion filed Wednesday.

“This is intentionally bringing before the jury evidence (that this court) had excluded,” Steve Greenberg said, citing testimony about the bullet, hinting at a hit man and other incidents. “It can’t be reckless. It is intentional.”

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World War II Veteran Attacked And Robbed By 3 Savage Black Beasts In West Englewood Illinois While Walking Home From Corner Store

July 31, 2012

WEST ENGLEWOOD, ILLINOIS – An 87-year-old World War II veteran was walking from a corner store in West Englewood after buying lottery tickets when he was attacked by three people who smashed his glasses, knocked out his hearing aid and broke his dentures, then went through his pockets and fled with his wallet, according to his family and police.

Two delivery men who witnessed the attack Monday afternoon followed the robbers in their truck and helped police track them down, authorities said. Three suspects — ages 15, 17 and 20 — were taken into custody not far from where Porter B. Cross was beaten.

“He’s just a sweet guy,” said Cross’ daughter, Cynthia Steward-Jones, this morning. “Chicago has bruised my heart with this.”

She said her dad, who will turn 88 on Thursday, was returning home from his weekly walk to the store to buy lottery tickets. “It’s the one day of the week he goes out and gets his exercise,” said Steward-Jones, who lives with her father.

The three jumped him just blocks from his home. “They broke his glasses in his face and his dentures in his mouth,” she said. “They knocked his hearing aid out and his face is really swollen.”

The three took his wallet, which contained money, his Social Security card, his state ID, driver’s license and credit cards. But he was able to hold onto the lottery tickets, she said.

Cross suffered a bruised left eye, a laceration under his right eye and was treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said.

Steward-Jones said her father served in World War II. “He was a seaman,” she said. After the war, he worked for 36 years for the U.S. Postal Service before retiring. They moved to the West Englewood neighborhood about two years ago.

“We thought this neighborhood would be good for a single person but apparently it’s not,” she said.

Steward-Jones said the robbery has also left her father “disappointed.”

“He said: ‘I’m just so disappointed. I’ve served this country and I’ve done all the right things. I’ve lived my life like I was supposed to and this younger generation is just something else. … They’re just losing their mind.’ “

Steward-Jones said the family is touched by the kindness of the people who came to her father’s aid.

“If it had not been for the two gentlemen … they might not have been caught,” she said. “They could have killed my father. I am just so grateful to them. I just want to say thank you and my whole family says thank you.

“At least there’s someone who still cares.”

One of those Good Samaritans was Dennis Weekly, who was making a meat delivery on the Southwest Side when he saw Cross on the ground near 71st Street and Claremont Avenue and three men going through his pockets. When the muggers ran away, he and his partner followed them in their rented truck.

“I saw the man lying on the ground and three males standing over him, going through his pockets,” said Weekly, 29. “Once I saw it was an old man on the ground, I called the ambulance and I told them they needed to call the police.

“He could barely move or talk. He was in so much pain,” Weekly said. “He didn’t deserve this. They didn’t need to do this to him. It hurt my heart to see him lying on the ground like that.”

Weekly said he and his partner decided to follow the robbers.

“I followed them about four blocks until police got there,” Weekly said, careful not to get too close. “I kept my distance so they wouldn’t know. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Aiman Samad was driving the truck. “We tracked down the culprits,” Samad said. “We flagged down the cops.”

Police say Rashon Williams, 20, of the 1400 block of Lincoln Avenue in Calumet City, was charged with robbery of a senior citizen, and Michael Protho, 17, of the 3000 block of Woodworth Place in Hazel Crest, was charged with robbery of a senior citizen and reckless conduct.

Juvenile authorities will take over in the case of the 15-year-old, who was also charged with robbery of a senior, police said.

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11 Year Old Savage Black Beast Found Wandering Chicago Streets With Molotov Cocktail Bomb And A Lighter

July 31, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Chicago Police Bomb and Arson officers responded to a call Monday night about a boy who was allegedly holding a Molotov Cocktail in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Police questioned the 11-year-old boy around 9:50 p.m. after someone allegedly saw him holding a 12-ounce beer bottle filled with what police suspected to be gasoline, behind a home in the 6800 block of North Ridge Boulevard., the police told the Chicago Tribune.

The boy was also allegedly holding a lighter while another person nearby held a gas can, police said.

A witness saw the boy holding the bottle and called police, according to reports. The boy reportedly noticed he was being watched, dropped the bottle and fled the scene. Police were able to track him down later.

The Molotov cocktail was recovered, no one was injured and no charges have been filed.

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Pack Of Savage Black Beasts Robbed Chicago Illinois Clothing Store That Stocked Exclusive And Expensive Jeans – Police Took 30 Minutes To Respond To 911 Call And Made No Arrests

July 30, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A mob of more than 20 teenagers descended on a trendy Wicker Park shop on Saturday and made off with more than $3,000 worth of jeans.

CBS 2′s Derrick Blakley reports the incident was caught on store surveillance cameras, and the owner posted the video on YouTube.

Luke Cho said he hopes the images help police find the robbers, or maybe even shame the parents of the teens enough that they’ll turn the kids in.

From the moment the teens started flooding in the door at Mildblend Supply Co. on Milwaukee Avenue around 6:40 p.m. Saturday, Cho knew something wasn’t right.

“You see a group a group of teenagers walking in – or marching in – one-by-one. As you can see, it looks like it’s some kind of procession,” Cho said while reviewing the surveillance video on Sunday.

To Cho, it looked like a flash mob was about to rob the store, so he immediately locked the door.

“At least I think I kind of maybe stopped the flow a little bit, but I quickly realized something bad’s about to happen, and I alerted my staff to call 911,” Cho said.

Most of the group flocked to an corner of the store right beneath a security camera, and appeared to know exactly what they were looking for: an exclusive, expensive brand of jeans called Nudie Jeans, which average about $200 a pair.

“We happen to be one of the few that sell Nudie Jeans in the city,” Cho said.

The teens tried to get out of store, but not before doing more shopping, stuffing their backpacks with merchandise, while other teens outside tried to get in.

“At the time when I locked the door, they’re banging on the door,” Cho said.

Eventually, the teens figured out how to unlock the door themselves, and rushed into the streets, which were packed with crowds from the Wicker Park Fest, making it easier to blend in.

Now, Cho wonders whether the flash mob phenomenon is deserting downtown for the neighborhoods.

“I think if they zero in on a product they want to steal, they’re going to go anywhere, and basically organize, and plan it to hit what they want,” Cho said.

Cho said it took police 30 minutes to reach his store after the 911 call went out about 6:45 p.m. on Saturday. He said officers told him they were delayed by the many street closures for Wicker Park Fest.

Cho called the incident organized looting, pure and simple. Police confirmed they’re investigating the robbery, but have made no arrests as of Sunday afternoon.

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