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Public Pension & Law Enforcement Advocate; Law Enforcement News; Officer Down Memorials; Public Corruption News

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ere the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:
Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:

Officer Down

Monday, May 31, 2010

NEWS: At least 12 wounded, 3 dead in Chicago shootings

From Chicago Tribune

--I wonder many stories like will have to be reported until Mayor Daley realizes that this will not stop until he starts spending all the wasted money he pours into his "gun control" actions and uses it to get cops onto the streets?--

May 31, 2010 7:22 AM

At least 12 people were reported wounded and three of those victims died from their injuries following separate shooting incidents throughout the city.

The shootings started Sunday afternoon and continued into Monday morning on the South, Southwest, West and North Sides.

A 27-year-old man who was shot in his chest at his residence late Sunday night in the 6100 block of South Bishop Street was pronounced dead at 11:48 p.m. at Stroger Hospital, said Police News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines. The man, identified as Laird Marble, was shot multiple times, according to a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office.

An 18-year-old man who was shot in the chest about 9:24 p.m. in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood was pronounced dead at 9:50 p.m., Gaines said. Frankie Zamudio, of the 5200 block of South Richmond Street, was shot in the 4600 block of South California Avenue.

Another man, described as being in his 20s, suffered multiple gunshot wounds about 3:44 a.m. today in the 2600 block of South Ridgeway Avenue, Gaines said. He was pronounced dead at the scene and has not been identified.

Shortly after 6 a.m. this morning, a person was shot in the leg on the North Side in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. The shooting happened in the 4500 block of North Broadway, Gaines said. There was no information available about the person's gender or condition.

Three women, ages 20, 23 and 28, were shot about 12:13 a.m. in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood. According to preliminary reports, the women were standing outside in the 100 block of West 113th Place when they were struck by gunfire. Two of the victims were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Gaines said. One was listed as in critical condition and the other is in good condition. The third victim was taken in good condition to Roseland Community Hospital.

Acccording to preliminary reports, a woman suffered multiple gunshot wounds shortly before midnight in the 1400 block of North Laramie Avenue on Chicago's West Side. A man also was shot at that location according to police. One victim was taken to Loyola Medical Center and is now listed in "stable" condition. The other victim is in "stable" condition at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Gaines said.

Earlier Sunday afternoon, three people were shot in separate incidents on the South and Southwest Sides, police said.

A 22-year-old man was shot multiple times in the face as he was walking down an alley in the 3400 block of West 30th Street in the Little Village neighborhood. He was shot at about 2:35 p.m., but there was no information available about his condition, police said.

At 1:54 p.m., a 32-year-old man was shot by burglars who were waiting inside his home in the 8100 block of South St. Lawrence Avenue in the Chatham neighborhood. The man suffered a gunshot wound to his hand and knee, police said.

About 1:10 p.m., an 18-year-old man was shot in the head and buttocks in the 5400 block of South Kostner Avenue in Chicago's West Elsdon neighborhood. According to preliminary reports, the man was a passenger in a vehicle traveling past a group of males when one of the men in the group pulled out a gun and began firing in the vehicle's direction. The victim's friends drove him to Holy Cross Hospital where he is listed in "stable" condition.

No one is in custody for any of the shootings. Wentworth Area, Calumet Area, Belmont Area, Harrison Area and Grand Area detectives are investigating.

UNION: Kane Co. union scrutinizes court security fund

From Daily Herald

By Josh Stockinger | Daily Herald Columnist

Published: 5/31/2010 12:05 AM

Kane County's court security officers say they might be getting shortchanged through the county's handling of a special fund earmarked for their services.

Last week, the Policemen's Benevolent Labor Committee, which represents the officers, issued a news release claiming the county has been "moving funds in and out" of an account meant only for court security, and the "suspicious activity" is now under review by the state's attorney's office.

State's Attorney John Barsanti confirmed he is taking a look at the union's claims, but said he hasn't considered it a criminal investigation so far.

"At this point, I don't know that anybody's done anything wrong," he said.

According to the union - which is trying to negotiate a new contract after working without one for two years - the fund is financed through criminal and civil court filing fees that, under state law, must be spent on court security.

At week's end, the fund contained about $987,000, with a projected budget of $2 million, according to county Finance Director Cheryl Pattelli, who said incoming court fees are down.

"We're actually seeing a decline of about 51/2 percent this year," she said.

County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay flatly denied that the board has done anything with the fund. She said it's managed by Sheriff Pat Perez and, to a lesser extent, Chief Judge F. Keith Brown.

According to Perez, the bulk of the fund covers salaries and training, but it also covered about $10,000 in bulletproof vests for security officers in the last year.

He and Brown both said they knew of no inappropriate uses.

"I am not aware of any suspicious activity regarding these funds," Brown said. "But, because of these allegations, I am investigating the matter myself, personally."

Attorney Tim O'Neil, who represents the labor committee, couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

"I Hate This Job"

Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

I hate this job. I worked another holiday while it seemed like the rest of the world had the day off with their families. But I stopped to help another family with car trouble make arrangements to get to their grandparents’ house. It made their day that I even stopped for them, like they didn’t expect a cop to care about them. I still get a Christmas card from some folks I helped a long time ago.

But I hate this job. Some idiot tried to run me down in his car because I wrote him a ticket. Had to draw down on him and now the paperwork makes me wish I had just pulled the freaking trigger after all. Then I think about the time I could have shot a guy and didn’t.

His mother later thanked me.

He was a combat veteran and going a little crazy. We got him some help.

I hope he’s doing OK.

But I hate this job. Punk kids flipping me off and laughing. Driving like idiots. Spray painting street signs. They don’t know me like the kids on the league I coach do. Even though some of the players are from the hood, we get along. I get a chance to give them a smile or a hug or joke with them. They hate cops, but they are ok with me. Poor guys don’t have much of a chance sometimes it seems. Glad I can help even if it’s just a little bit.

But I hate this job. Every time I cuff somebody up it’s a ton of paperwork. Gotta cover my butt from every angle to keep from getting sued or torn to shreds by a defense attorney. Sometimes the good guys win.

Somebody goes to jail and you hear their victims testify at the hearing. I take no pleasure in a man in chains, but when you see a victim in tears pleading for some justice and by some chance a judge has an intelligent thought and puts somebody away that is up to no good in this world, maybe I can hold my head up high one more day.

But God, how I hate this job. My back is aching from lugging 30 pounds of gear every day of the world and sometimes it seems I’m driving around for nothing. But the 7-11 clerk is glad I’m here. And the drunk drivers aren’t so glad. And the little kids still smile and wave. Sometimes the grownups do too. The truth is I know a lot of people who are glad I do what I do.

Even my kid thinks it’s pretty cool that I’m a cop.

God, thanks for letting me have this job.

Happy Memorial Day

Hope you enjoy this beautiful day.

I want to thank every service man and woman that is sacrificing all that they are so that we may enjoy our lives.

THANK YOU and I salute you.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

PENSION: Lawmaker: Towns stalling police, fire pension reform

From Daily Herald

--Now the blame game starts about who is stalling what. Our law makers are so screwed up over this whole issue they have no idea which was is up. It seems the only thing they are in a rush to do is cut our benefits and make us pay for all of it. If they want true reform why don't they ask the working police officers and firefighters and other public safety employees what they would like to see happen? I am sure everyone is understanding to the money issues. They have to understand that there cannot be true pension reform until the wording of the law is changed to better protect employees who are injured at work.--

By John Patterson | Daily Herald Staff

Published: 5/29/2010 12:18 AM

SPRINGFIELD - The suburban senator leading police and fire pension reform talks blamed local governments for stalling the effort even after years of demanding lawmakers overhaul the retirement programs.

"I think that they were disingenuous," said Waukegan Democratic state Sen. Terry Link, who led negotiations on the municipal pension changes.

But one of the suburban municipal groups involved said last-minute additions were a deal breaker.

"What we ended up with was a provision that the unions insisted be in there that would have wiped out any potential savings in the bill," said Mark Fowler, executive director of the Northwest Municipal Conference.

At issue was an enforcement provision intended to make sure local governments cover the full contribution to the police and fire pension systems. It would have given the pension boards the authority to have the state intercept state tax payments to the communities if they shorted the pension systems.

The Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which covers local government pensions outside police and fire, has a similar power, and it's among the reasons that fund is arguably the healthiest public pension system in the state.

Fowler and other critics said if that provision were in place it would cost local governments across Illinois more than $100 million.

But Link said the local government groups are muddying the issue, and that the enforcement provision would not take effect until after an 18-month study of pension funding problems followed by a three-year deadline to act on that study. He said the local governments' arguments make him wonder if they are serious about changing the pension systems.

"They don't want to do what needs to be done, they don't want to pay into the system, or they don't want to be committed to pay into the system," Link said.

But Fowler countered that the key difference is while other local government pensions are handled by one retirement fund, there are more than 600 separate police and fire pension boards across Illinois, each with its own powers. If consolidated into one, he said the municipalities would be supportive.

"If you have an IMRF system then we'd be fine with that," Fowler said.

Link maintains pension fund consolidation to enhance investment power was an option in the pension plan that's now stalled until at least next year.

"It's everything they wanted basically, and they balked," he said.

When lawmakers overhauled public sector pension plans earlier this year, the only groups left out were local police and firefighters. At the time lawmakers said the exclusion would put those groups on an island and the added scrutiny would spur reforms there as well. Others additionally explained that police and fire jobs are unique and deserved their own proposal.

Police and firefighters can retire as early as age 50 under existing laws. The proposed change would have taken the retirement age to 55 and, rather than have the pension based on the final day's salary, would have substituted an end-of-career average, which would likely translate into a reduced pension.

In comparison, the pension changes for state, school, university and local government employees raised the retirement age to 67 in order to get a pension check.

Other proposed changes for police and firefighters would lower the maximum benefit to 72 percent of the final four years' average pay, rather than 75 percent or, in some systems up to 80 percent of the final day's pay, while also lowering survivor benefits to 66.6 percent rather than up to 100 percent.

To give local communities immediate breaks, they'd be able to push back their payment schedules in a move akin to extending a mortgage, which would result in lower annual payments now.

For now, the entire proposal is on hold.

Lawmakers wrapped up their spring session on Thursday, although there's a possibility they might return to address budget issues this summer. The fall session is scheduled for November.

NEWS: Former cop sues Buffalo Grove, officers over wrongful conviction

From Daily Herald

Follow up to this story: Ex-cop from Illinois free after conviction reversed

By Ted Cox

Published: 5/29/2010 12:18 AM

A former Willow Springs police officer filed a federal suit against Buffalo Grove and two fellow law-enforcement officers Friday after spending more than 19 years in a Missouri prison following a wrongful conviction for kidnapping.

Gary Engel's conviction for kidnapping a drug dealer was overturned in February and he was freed last month. Missouri was given 60 days to retry Engel, but did not.

The suit named former Chicago FBI agent Robert Buchan and former Buffalo Grove police officer Robert Quid as defendants, as well as the village. According to the suit, they had previously been defendants in a wrongful-conviction suit filed by former Chicago cop Steve Manning over his conviction in the associated James Pellegrino murder in Cook County in 1990, a case made after they had failed to make a previous Buffalo Grove murder stick against Manning.

The suit identifies Engel as a "friend and associate" of Manning and adds that Engel's ex-wife was Pellegrino's sister.

The suit charges that Buchan and Quid tried to compel Engel to testify against Manning in the Pellegrino case and threatened to charge him with a role in the Missouri kidnapping if he refused, even though he maintained he had never even been to Missouri, and that they followed through on that.

According to the suit, Manning's conviction in the murder was overturned in 1998, his kidnapping conviction followed in 2002, and a subsequent civil-rights case against the officers uncovered new evidence that led to Engel's release.

The Missouri Supreme Court found, in vacating Engel's conviction in February, that "material, exculpatory evidence had been withheld" from his defense and that a key witness had been paid for his testimony.

The new suit charges that Buchan and Quid deprived Engel of his right to a fair trial in that they "deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence, as well as fabricated false reports and other evidence."

Manning's case against Quid and Buffalo Grove "was settled for a confidential sum, and without an admission for liability," according to the suit. He won a $6.5 million jury judgment against Buchan and another FBI agent, although that was later "barred" on appeal.

Quid, who has retired to Fort Myers, Fla., declined to comment, and Buchan, also retired, could not be reached for comment. The FBI declined formal comment as well.

Engel's suit was filed by the Chicago firm of Loevy & Loevy, which filed a suit on behalf of Ronald Bell in his videotaped beating by Streamwood police officer James Mandarino on Thursday.

NEWS: Streamwood cop pleads not guilty to beating motorist

From Daily Herald

James Mandarino, the Streamwood police officer accused of beating a motorist with a baton during a traffic stop as captured by his dashboard video camera, top, exits the Cook County courthouse at 26th and California in Chicago April 15.

Follow up to these stories:

Streamwood cop charged in police brutality case

Accused Streamwood officer's file paints a glowing picture

By Barbara Vitello | Daily Herald Staff

Published: 5/28/2010 3:28 PM | Updated: 5/28/2010 3:32 PM

A Streamwood police officer entered a not guilty plea to charges that he beat a driver and Tasered his passenger following a traffic stop in the predawn hours of March 28.

Cpl. James Mandarino, 41, has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct in the incident, which was captured on his squad car's dashboard camera. If convicted, he could face two to five years in prison. He could also receive probation.

Authorities say Mandarino beat driver Ronald Bell, 28, about 15 times about the head neck and arms as he knelt unresisting in his Streamwood driveway. Additionally, Mandarino Tasered passenger Nolan Stalbaum, 38, of Glendale Heights, authorities said.

Both men were hospitalized. Bell was charged with reckless driving and DUI. Both were charged with resisting arrest. The Cook County State's Attorney dropped those charges early last month.

On Thursday, the same day Mandarino pleaded not guilty, Bell and Stalbaum filed suit in federal court against him and the Village of Streamwood, alleging Mandarino used with excessive force. It also accuses other Streamwood officers of false arrest and imprisonment, conspiracy, and denial of medical attention, among other allegations.

According to Mandarino's personnel record obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request, the 15-year veteran's file includes only one reprimand for "neglect of duty."

Mandarino is free on a $50,000 bail. He next appears in court on June 30.

NEWS: Two afternoon shootings leave three injured in Bellwood

From Pioneer Press

May 29, 2010

Bellwood police are investigating two shootings that injured three people over two days.

The first shooting took place Thursday at 11:43 p.m. on 3400 block of Warren Avenue. According to police, a 29-year-old man and his friend were walking down the street when he was shot in the left buttocks. The victim's friend transported the victim to Loyola University Medical Center.

Bellwood Police Cmdr. Rodney Boyd said the victim's injury does not appear to be life threatening and the case is currently under investigation. He said no arrests have been made in connection with the May 27 shooting.

The second shooting incident took place Friday at 2:17 p.m. in front of a home on 3400 block of Monroe Street injuring two people.

Boyd said two people were standing in front of a home when several shots were fired. One of the victims was shot in the lower back area and the other was shot in the left knee. He said none of the injuries were life threatening.

At press time no arrests had been made in connection with the May 28 shooting incident.

NEWS: (Chicago) At least 21 wounded in separate shootings, 1 dead

From Chicago Tribune

May 30, 2010 10:20 AM

At least 21 people were wounded in separate shootings around the city, including a man who died this morning after he was shot in the head, Chicago police said.

One of the shootings happened about 3 p.m. in the 6200 block of South Cottage Grove in the Woodlawn neighborhood. A 56-year-old man was standing on the corner when a passing car fired in his direction, said Police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak. He fell to the ground in pain and discovered he was shot in his calf, Kubiak said. He was taken to an area hospital and listed in good condition.

About 8:10 p.m. in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue in the Logan Square neighborhood, a 47-year-old man was shot in his arm. Police said the shooting might have been a drive-by. The victim was taken to Norwegian-American Hospital and is now listed in good condition.

In another shooting, which happened roughly 20 minutes earlier in the Ashburn neighborhood, a man, 19, was wounded in the leg in the 3900 block of West 79th Street outside Bogan Computer Technical High School. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and is now listed in critical condition. The victim has gang-affiliation and was not being cooperative in the police investigation, Kubiak said.

A little earlier, about 7:30 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was standing on the sidewalk on the 7400 block of South Evans Avenue when he heard shots and felt pain. He was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the upper right side.

Two people were shot at about 6:45 p.m. in the 8400 block of South Muskegon Avenue, but both told conflicting stories, said Kubiak.

An 18-year-old gang- affiliated man suffered a graze wound but refused treatment. He said he was walking in the 8400 block of South Escanaba Avenue when a suspect walked up and shot him, police said. The other victim, 19, told a different story. He said he was driving when someone pulled up and began shouting gang slogans and shot into his car, police said. He drove himself to Advocate Trinity Hospital where he was treated and released.

Police could not locate either victims for interviews after the shootings, Kubiak said.

Earlier Saturday at about 11 a.m., a 25-year-old man was shot on the 5300 block of South Laflin Street. He was wounded in the arm and hospitalized.Police said the Laflin shooting appeared to be gang-related, but witnesses were giving conflicting accounts of the event.

Nearby that shooting, a 19-year-old man was shot in the head at about 12:28 a.m. today in the 5100 block of South Laflin Street, police said. He was pronounced dead at 1:10 a.m., said Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

About two minutes later, a 28-year-old man was shot in the Roseland neighborhood in the 10500 block of South Corliss Avenue, police said. He was taken to Roseland Community Hospital with a gunshot wound to his right calf and was described as in "stable" condition.

At the same time on the Southeast Side, three more people were shot as the sat on a porch in the 9200 block of South Blackstone Avenue, said police News Affairs Officer Laura Kubiak. One victim, a 25-year-old man was taken in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. An 18-year-old man was taken in "stable" condition to Advocate Trinity Hospital. Another victim, 27, was treated and released from Trinity with a graze wound to his arm, police said. The 18-year-old and 27-year-old have gang affiliations, Kubiak said.

About 15 minutes later, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the 1500 block of East 67th Street. He was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm.

On the West Side at about 12:15 a.m., two people were shot in the 3900 block of West Gladys Avenue, police said. A 24-year-old man was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in stable condition with a graze wound to his head. A 19-year-old woman also was taken to the same hospital. She was listed in stable condition with a gunshot wound to her neck.

About 2 a.m. in the 10800 block of South Racine Avenue, two people were shot while they sat in a parked vehicle, police said.

One victim, a 43-year-old man, was shot in the chest and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he is now listed in critical condition. The other victim, 22, was shot in the shoulder and is listed in stable condition at Roseland Community Hospital. Police said the 22-year-old is gang affiliated.

Both men were shot by a passenger of a gold-colored 4-door car, police said.

Four people were shot at about 3:15 a.m. in the 9100 block of South Marshfield Avenue, said Police News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines. The four vctims were taken to area hospitals, he said. There was no immediate information available about their ages or conditions.

No one is in custody for any of the shootings. Calumet Area, Harrison Area and Wentworth Area detectives are investigating.

-- Deanese Williams-Harris

NEWS: County solves on 36% of homicides

From Chicago Sun-Times

Rate of clearing cases falls nationally

May 30, 2010


The percentage of homicides that go unsolved in the United States has risen alarmingly even as the homicide rate has fallen to levels last seen in the 1960s.

Despite dramatic improvements in DNA analysis and other breakthroughs in forensic science, police fail to make an arrest in more than one-third of all homicides. National clearance rates for murder and manslaughter have fallen from about 90 percent in the 1960s to below 65 percent in recent years.

In Cook County, only about one third of murders since 1980 have been solved, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study of crime records provided by the FBI. Police solved only 35 percent of the murders in Chicago in 2008, the FBI records show.

"We'd expect that -- with more police officers, more scientific tools likes DNA analysis and more computerized records -- we'd be clearing more homicides now with more resources," said Bill Hagmaier, executive director of the International Homicide Investigators Association and retired chief of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. "But the clearance rates have fallen drastically."

Nearly 185,000 killings went unsolved from 1980 to 2008, the study found.

Experts say murders have become tougher to solve because there are fewer crimes of passion, where the assailant is easier to identify, and more drug- and gang-related killings.

Still, some city police departments routinely solve most of their homicides.

While only 22 percent were solved in New Orleans and 21 percent in Detroit in 2008, that same year 75 percent were solved in Philadelphia, 92 percent in Denver and 94 percent in San Diego.

NEWS: (Chicago) Man charged with serial murder of three women

From Chicago Sun-Times

Michael Johnson, 24, was charged with three counts of murder Saturday night. Police allege that Johnson strangled three women in the Roseland neighborhood.

May 30, 2010


A 24-year-old Chicago man was charged Saturday night with strangling three women in the Roseland neighborhood on the Far South Side, Chicago Police said.

Michael Johnson, 24, of the 100 block of East 120th Place, was charged with three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of criminal sexual assault, police said in a statement issued late Saturday.

Johnson was arrested Thursday outside his home, police sources said.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office could not be reached late Saturday.

Leslie Brown, Eureka Jackson and Siobhan Hampton were found strangled in abandoned buildings in the area bounded by 113th and 120th streets and from Michigan to Harvard avenues, according to a community alert issued by police.

The body of Hampton, 30, was found naked March 30 in an abandoned first-floor storefront that was once a fast-food chicken restaurant at 11322 S. Michigan, police sources said.

Jackson, 38, was found in November 2008 in an abandoned building at 34 E. 120th St., and Brown was found murdered in January.

All three victims were African-American and had a history of prostitution, police said.

DNA evidence from Hampton’s remains was determined to match DNA evidence obtained from the two other victims, according to a police report. The DNA from those three victims was matched to the DNA profile of Johnson, the report says.

Police sources said alert beat officers were key in leading investigators to Johnson. On May 22, officers responded to a disturbance near where the murders took place and where another woman told them that she had been choked — allegedly by Johnson. He was arrested and charged with simple battery in that case, police sources said.

Because of the location of the arrest and the similarity to the strangulation murders, officers obtained a DNA swab from Johnson.

It was not immediately known if a similar murder of another woman was connected to this case.

Lutelda Hudson, 29, of the 11800 block of South Princeton, was found dead May 16 in a vacant building in the 11900 block of South Harvard, authorities said. An autopsy determined Hudson died of strangulation.

NEWS: (Chicago Outfit) Harry Aleman loved the role of hit man

From Chicago Sun-Times

HARRY ALEMAN | Four perspectives on one of the most feared and prolific mob killers in Chicago, who died May 15

May 30, 2010


When he was in jail, the mob killer would often get out of his bunk at 2 a.m. to snack on chocolate chip cookies.

On the street, when he once discovered he didn't get invited to a dinner with other mobsters, his feelings appeared hurt and he asked if he could come.

In a courtroom, after a judge sentenced him to 100 to 300 years in prison for a shotgun slaying, the murder victim's brother heckled him: "We got you now, Harry."

Harry Aleman shrugged.

Those are a few of the memories from the people who knew, feared or hated Aleman, who died from natural causes in a Downstate prison earlier this month. Aleman, 71, was serving his sentence for the 1972 shotgun slaying of Teamster shop steward William Logan. The case is remarkable because Aleman was tried twice for the same murder after the judge in the first trial took a bribe and acquitted him.

Here are four perspectives on Aleman -- among the most feared and prolific mob killers in Chicago who was a suspect in at least 20 murders.

Bob Cooley, 67, is a former attorney with mob ties who turned into a critical federal witness against the Outfit. He bribed Cook County Judge Frank Wilson to acquit Aleman in Aleman's first murder trial in 1977. Later, Cooley would help put Aleman away by testifying at the second murder trial.

Cooley said Aleman was "a nasty, vicious individual" whom he dealt with regularly while representing members of his crew in Criminal Court.

Aleman's reputation as a killer was a boon to the Outfit.

"They would use him to threaten people to pay street tax," Cooley recalled.

Cooley recalled being at a restaurant he owned called Greco's when Aleman's partner, Butch Petrocelli, was ordering a bookmaker to start making payments to the mob. Aleman was sitting nearby, silent, just staring at the bookie.

"My thought was, 'What a great way to say, you'd better pay or else,' " Cooley said.

"When Harry showed up, people got nervous. That was part of Harry's M.O. He loved being the mob guy. He loved people knowing he was a hit man. It was like a banker being known as a good banker."

Another time, Petrocelli and Aleman were meeting Cooley at a restaurant in Greektown. Another gangster came by to say hello and asked Cooley about a dinner that night that Cooley had invited him and other gangsters to.

Aleman had not been invited.

Later, after the rival gangster had left, Aleman asked, "'What about me, can I come too?' " Cooley said.

Aleman wanted to know how many people the other mobster was bringing to dinner, so Aleman wouldn't be shown up by bringing too few.

"That's how these people were," Cooley said. "They were bizarre."

Cooley recalled the time he worried Aleman would kill him.

In the late 1980s, Cooley had started cooperating with the government and was wearing a wire, trying to get Aleman to talk about how he knew the judge had been bribed.

After making small talk, Cooley got Aleman alone at a racetrack bar, then brought up the judge.

"The moment I say Frank Wilson, he stops, he stares at me, and says, 'I don't know what the f--- you're talking about,' and gave me like a glare and walks away.

"That was the one time I was terrified of Harry," said Cooley, who wrote about Aleman in his nonfiction book, When Corruption was King.

Victor Woods, 46, is a former armed robber who turned his life around, the author of A Breed Apart, and a highly regarded national speaker who talks to young people and prisoners alike about the perils of criminal life. He shared a cell with Aleman in the early 1990s.

"He was very polite. Very clean. Very orderly. At night, he read a lot. He kept to himself," Woods recalled.

Aleman had a routine of getting up and eating chocolate chip cookies about 2 a.m., Woods said.

"I told him he was like a giant, white mouse."

Woods, who is black, first broke the ice with Aleman and other mobsters, who were typically not fond of African Americans, when he did a dead-on impression of Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone.

"When that man saw I could do those 'Godfather' impressions, that flabbergasted him," Woods said.

Woods credits Aleman with helping him turn his life around.

Aleman would tell Woods: " 'You're good looking. You're smart. You're a standup guy. If you keep doing what your doing, you're going to die in prison,' " Woods recalled.

Aleman had a few favorite topics of conversation.

He hated snitches. And he was fond of saying the biggest mob of all was the federal government.

" 'They want to control everything. They want to control gambling. They're the mob,' " Woods recalled Aleman saying.

At the time, the U.S. Supreme Court had not ruled on whether Aleman could be re-tried for the same murder, and Aleman said he wasn't worried about it -- which turned out to be a mistake.

"He used to like to say, 'It's frivolous,' something is 'frivolous.' He said they would never be able to get around double jeopardy.

"Well, we know what happened there," Woods said.

John Cappas, 44, once a high-profile suburban drug kingpin, also spent time in prison with Aleman. Aleman told Cappas he could do well without returning to crime. Cappas now runs a busy hot dog stand, Johnny's Wee Nee Wagon at 159th and Pulaski in Markham, and is a motivational speaker.

Aleman's advice to Cappas ran the gamut.

"When you pick a woman, make sure she looks after you like your mother would."

And: "If you got more friends than fingers on one hand, count again."

Cappas said Aleman worried about his family, saying, "I hate to see my family grow old through the visiting room."

Betty Romo, 74, is the sister of William Logan, whom Aleman shot to death in 1972.

When she heard on television that Aleman had died, Romo cried and was relieved she would no longer have to write letters to the parole board to keep him locked up, she said.

"There are no words to describe the amount of suffering we have had over the years," said Romo, whose family worried that Aleman would bribe his way to freedom.

In 1972, Romo lived with her brother, a father of four. She rushed out to the street after she heard gunshots and cradled her brother as he lay dying. Her brother had no connection to organized crime and was murdered over a personal matter, not business, Romo believes.

She blames the stress of the murder and Aleman's two trials with shortening the lives of her sister, father and another brother.

"It just ate us up," Romo said.

Romo's brother, Richard, was ecstatic the day Aleman was sentenced for William Logan's murder.

"We got you now, Harry," Richard said to Aleman.

Aleman "shrugged his shoulders," Romo remembered.

She has tired of the attention Aleman has received in the media.

"What about Billy Logan?" she asked of her brother. "He was a person. He lived, he breathed, he had children, he had a family that loved him, and he had a lot of friends who loved him."

As for Aleman, "he lived the life he wanted, and he died the way he should have."

Friday, May 28, 2010

NEWS: (Cook County) Judges Re-assigned for 'Unacceptable Behavior' Exposed by FOX Chicago Investigation

Follow up to this }}STORY{{


Four jurists singled out by county's top judge

Updated: Friday, 28 May 2010, 9:31 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 28 May 2010, 9:28 PM CDT

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans has reassigned four judges in response to a FOX Chicago News/Better Government Association investigation into courtroom work habits.

The investigation found the judges leaving their assigned courtrooms well before the 4pm out time ordered by Evans two years ago. One judge, Gloria Chevere, was found soaking up the sun in her backyard at 2pm on a day when her court call ended early.

"I do not want any unacceptable behavior of a few judges to undermine the credibility and integrity of our entire system of justice," Evans said in a statement.

Evans transferred Judges Chevere, Jim Ryan, Frank Deboni and Cynthia Brim to new courthouse assignments beginning next week. Evans also assigned veteran judges to act as mentors to each of the judges.

On Wednesday the Illinois Supreme Court ordered a review of efficiency in the Cook County courts after some justices saw our report. "Such conduct as depicted is totally unacceptable and in the court's mind cannot be tolerated," said Supreme Court spokesman Joe Tybor.

The reassignments are "a step in the right direction," said Kent College of Las Dean Harold Krent. "But it really puts the full brunt on these four judges when the problem is probably far more systemic."

A secret Cook County Sheriffs report obtained by Fox Chicago and the BGA showed between April, 2007 and May, 2008 the average closing time for a Cook County courtroom was 2:25 pm. One quarter of all courtrooms operated just three and a half hours a day or less.

NEWS: (Villa Park) Manhunt continues in Villa Park murder; family planning funeral

Follow up to this }}STORY{{

From Daily Herald

By Christy Gutowski | Daily Herald Staff

Published: 5/28/2010 10:55 AM

As police today continue a nationwide manhunt for a Downers Grove man suspected of killing his pregnant wife, her family prepared arrangements to say goodbye and raise a little girl who watched her mother die on the child's 4th birthday.

"Physically, she's OK," Dennis Courtney said of his granddaughter, Gracie May. "Emotionally, she's having some difficulties, but we'll work with her to make sure she gets all the help she needs."

His daughter, Kristine Gilford, 35, died Wednesday after suffering multiple stab wounds in a violent attack in Villa Park. Police said they still are searching for the slain woman's husband, Eric, a 31-year-old Navy recruiter whom Kristine married in February. Kristine was five months pregnant, but in recent weeks left the Downers Grove home the couple shared and was staying in Villa Park with an ex-boyfriend.

Officers located Eric Gilford's abandoned black 2008 Dodge Charger about 9 a.m. Thursday in downtown Fargo, N.D.

Gilford remains on the lam, and DuPage State's Attorney Joseph Birkett identified him as a "suspect" in his wife's violent death. Police have not released any new details today, and Courtney said the family also is unaware if any developments broke overnight.

Kristine Gilford grew up in Arlington Heights, later moving to Naperville in her high school years. Dennis Courtney said Kristine was a full-time mom whose daughter was her life. The Courtney family today is preparing funeral arrangements in Forest Park and setting up a fund at a local bank for Gracie May. Neighbors found Gracie May wandering outside the apartment as her badly injured mother struggled to breathe.

"She was very outgoing and gregarious," Courtney said of his oldest child. "She had a captivating personality and was very much a people person."

Dennis Courtney said the family just met Eric Gilford earlier this year.

"This whole incident is 100 percent opposite of what we knew of him," Courtney said. "We never saw any violence."

Fargo police discovered Gilford's car after employees of an architectural firm noted a suspicious SUV in their parking lot, said Capt. Tod Dahle. He said the windows were down and the keys still were in the ignition. No weapon was found.

Dahle and Courtney said they was unaware of any connection Eric Gilford may have to Fargo. Gilford's photo was circulated to North Dakota media, and police canvassed airports, bus and train stations.

Villa Park police urged anyone with information to call them at . The DuPage County Major Crimes Task Force also is involved in the investigation.

NEWS: (National) West Memphis Chief: Officers are outgunned



Cops need the AR-15 — they need the protection

By Kevin McKenzie
The Commercial Appeal

The West Memphis police chief who said his officers are outgunned would find a strong ally in a great-grandmother in Maine named Paulette Beaudoin.

Beaudoin, 76, is a state representative from Biddeford who sponsored legislation that is providing Maine State Police troopers with more firepower in the form of AR-15 assault rifles, replacing their 9mm Ruger rifles.

"It's like we're sending them out and saying 'go get killed,' in a sense, with the 9 millimeter," Beaudoin said Wednesday. "They need the AR-15; they need the protection."

The rapidly fired bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle wielded by a teenager last week pierced a West Memphis police car and its engine as two officers were killed.

Similar scenes have been repeated since Los Angeles police met armor-piercing fire in 1997 from two bank robbers armed with military-style assault weapons.

Scott Knight, the Chaska, Minn., chief of police and chairman of the firearms committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police , said many departments nationwide have evolved from arming officers with shotguns and 9mm carbine rifles to issuing military-style AR-15 and AK-47 assault weapons.

"I assure you this is not a trendy thing," said Knight, chief of a department that has AR-15 rifles in patrol cars. "This is a necessity-driven change."

However, he also said law enforcers have seen an "uptick" in being outgunned since Congress allowed a 10-year federal ban on assault weapons to expire in 2004.

The association has lobbied to revive the ban, but that idea "is not even being entertained" in Washington, Knight said.

West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert said his officers are outgunned after two of them - his son, Sgt. Brandon Paudert, and officer Bill Evans - were killed May 20 during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 by suspects armed with an AK-47.

The father and son from Ohio fueled by anti-government beliefs, Jerry R. Kane, 45, and 16-year-old Joe Kane, also wounded Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and his deputy chief, W.A. Wren, before the suspects were killed in a West Memphis Walmart parking lot.

West Memphis Asst. Police Chief Mike Allen said the department is exploring ways to equip every officer with a rifle, possibly like the Ruger Mini-14 rifles that patrol supervisors now carry.

The department's Special Response Team or SWAT has AR-15 assault rifles.

"In fact, we had SWAT team members that were actually on the scene at Walmart when we came in contact with the suspects," Allen said.

According to FBI statistics , of the 530 law enforcement officers who were killed nationwide from 1999 to 2008, 131 of them, about 25 percent, were shot with rifles or shotguns.

Of the 18 cases where bullets penetrated the officers' body armor, all but one involved rifles.

Knight said that one of the benefits that the federal ban on assault weapons provided for police was limiting to 10 the number of bullets that gun magazines for the public could hold.

Now, magazines hold 30 or more rounds, "which means the criminals our officers face have less need to reload," Knight said.

In Maine, Beaudoin recalled one member of a legislative committee who opposed her successful push to ramp up the arms race with criminals and supply troopers with assault rifles.

"Funny, it was a man who used to be in the police force, and that blew me away," she said.

NEWS: (Chicago) Alleged burglar shooting sparks gun debate

From ABC7.Com


Paul Meincke

May 27, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A deadly home invasion on the city's West Side has many debating the right to bear arms.

The homeowner protected his family by killing the intruder but Mayor Richard Daley says guns need to remain off the streets and the city's gun ban should be enforced.

The 80-year-old Korean War veteran who shot and killed the home invader has not wanted to talk publicly about the incident. His purchase of a handgun that he used early Wednesday morning would technically put him in violation of the city's handgun ban, which the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled it quite likely will overturn.

Gun rights supporters say that what happened in the 600-block of North Sawyer is perhaps the best illustration yet of why they believe the Chicago handgun ban should go.

"I understand the situation and I understand. What I'm saying is all of us have to understand that guns is not the answer to problems we see in homes and on the streets of America. It's just has simple as that. Will he be charged? Can we get an explanation as to whether he'll be charged? Thank you," Mayor Daley told reporters during a news conference Thursday.

Neither the mayor nor police superintendent would comment on whether charges are even being considered. Police say they have custody of two guns taken from the scene, and that their investigation is ongoing.

"What should happen is he should get commended," said Otis McDonald, Chicago resident.

McDonald has strongly-held opinions on Wednesday's home invasion and shooting. McDonald is the lead plaintiff in the case before the Supreme Court challenging Chicago's 37-year-old handgun ban.

"This is something that's elementary. This is something that clearly justifies the right to have a handgun in your home," said McDonald.

Seven years ago, after a homeowner in north suburban Wilmette shot a home intruder where there was at the time a handgun ban. There followed some strong debate, and then some legislative action by the state.

In November 2004, the General Assembly passed legislation that would preclude criminal charges if a homeowner used a gun - ban or no - in self-defense, so long as that action occurred in the home, on their property, or in their place of business.

Local Fundraisers in June

For the four Park Ridge police officers that were just laid off.

Thursday Jun 03, 2010
Location: Chicago's Edison Park Inn [EPI]
6715 N. Olmsted - Chicago
Time: 7 to 11pm

For further details please contact John Dorner @
or Steve Stopka @ 847.452.5137 or Bob Kampwirth @ 847.863.9894

Note: These officers were left with no separation package, no medical or dental, and two of the Officers wives' are expecting.

If you cannot attend but still would like to help - please send a check to:

FOP Lodge # 16
Att: June 2010 Police Officer Benefit
200 South Vine Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068
Attn: Det. John Dorner 773-852-7784

For Stone Park Police Officer Bob Vicari
Recently shot in the line of duty

Sunday June 13, 2010
Location: Carl's Bar
1735 N Mannheim Rd
Stone Park, IL

Time: 3 p.m. - 2 a.m.
$30.00 per person (free food and cash bar)

For more information or to make a donation, please contact:
Sgt Kevin Flowers
Stone Park P.D.


NEWS: Cook Co. is number one in felony drug cases

From Chicago Sun-Times

Cook tops list of 39 counties surveyed in 2006 Justice Department study

May 28, 2010


In Cook County, drug crimes represented a bigger share of felony cases than any other major county in the United States, according to a federal study released Thursday.

The Justice Department study -- a snapshot of 39 counties in May 2006 -- found that drug crimes were the most serious charge filed against 57 percent of felony defendants in Cook County.

Also in Cook County, only 9 percent of the felony cases involved violent crimes, the lowest percentage in the United States, according to the study. The percentage of property crimes and public crimes, such as driving under the influence, were in the average range among the 39 counties.

"Do I see a lot of drug cases in the jail? Yes," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

People charged with drug offenses are offered job training and substance-abuse treatment to help them break the cycle of drug dependency when they get out of jail, Dart said. For instance, the sheriff's office is opening a greenhouse that will offer horticultural training to about 100 inmates charged with nonviolent drug crimes.

About 400 of the 9,000 inmates at the jail near 26th and California are getting intensive drug rehabilitation in a dorm setting, Dart said. About 600 others have been outfitted with electronic bracelets and are confined to their homes. Of those, about 200 of them return to the jail regularly for drug treatment, he said.

"It's something we've expanded on," Dart said. "On the other hand, we don't have a really good strategy for the violent people, except keeping them away from everybody else."

Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office, said about 75 percent of the cases that come into preliminary courts in Chicago are narcotics cases. Police bring felony narcotics charges to court without prior approval from prosecutors -- unlike other types of felonies, Daly said. In drug cases, the state's attorney's office "can only charge what police bring us," she said.

When prosecutors review other types of felony cases such as murder and robbery, they approve charges in about 85 percent of them, Daly said.

A police spokesman said the department is reviewing the study and would not comment further. Over the last decade, the department has made a push to net drug dealers in conspiracy cases, which carry serious felony charges. That may explain part of the reason for the large percentage of felony drug charges, police sources say.

In Los Angeles County, drug felonies represented about 42 percent of the total number of felonies in May 2006, the Justice Department study showed. In New York County, drug felonies represented 35 percent of the total. Violent offenses, meanwhile, constituted about 20 percent of the total in Los Angeles County and 21 percent in New York County, the study said.

Most serious felonies charged

County Drug % County Violent %
Cook (IL) 57 Kings (NY) 39
Orange (CA) 54 Orange (FL) 37
Shelby (TN) 53 Montgomery (MD) 35
Essex (NJ) 47 El Paso (TX) 34
Harris (TX) 45 Prince George (MD) 32
Miami-Dade (FL) 44 Baltimore County (MD) 32
Bronx (NY) 42 Bronx (NY) 30
Ventura (CA) 42 Cuyahoga (OH) 30
Los Angeles (CA) 42 Milwaukee (WI) 30
Hartford (CT) 40 Marion (IN) 29
Maricopa (AZ) 40 Essex (NJ) 28
Wake (NC) 40 Hamilton (OH) 26
Hamilton (OH) 36 Broward (FL) 25
Pima (AZ) 36 Honolulu (HI) 25
Cuyahoga (OH) 35 King (WA) 25
New York (NY) 35 Miami-Dade (FL) 24
Saint Louis (MO) 35 Hartford (CT) 24
Broward (FL) 34 San Bernardino (CA) 24
San Bernardino (CA) 34 Dallas (TX) 24
Hillsborough (FL) 34 Oakland (MI) 24
Milwaukee (WI) 33 Shelby (TN) 23
Dallas (TX) 33 Salt Lake (UT) 23
Franklin (OH) 32 Pima (AZ) 22
El Paso (TX) 29 Tarrant (TX) 22
Prince George (MD) 29 Wayne (MI) 22
Tarrant (TX) 29 Middlesex (NJ) 22
Kings (NY) 28 Nassau (NY) 22
Salt Lake (UT) 28 Ventura (CA) 21
Honolulu (HI) 27 New York (NY) 21
Wayne (MI) 27 Hillsborough (FL) 21
Orange (FL) 25 Franklin (OH) 21
Middlesex (NJ) 24 Suffolk (NY) 21
Montgomery (MD) 23 Los Angeles (CA) 20
Marion (IN) 23 Harris (TX) 19
Oakland (MI) 19 Orange (CA) 16
Suffolk (NY) 18 Maricopa (AZ) 16
Baltimore County (MD) 17 Wake (NC) 15
King (WA) 13 Saint Louis (MO) 10
Nassau (NY) 13 Cook (IL) 9

Thursday, May 27, 2010

NEWS: (Video Gambling) Lawmakers OK gambling machines at truck stops

From Daily Herald

By Timothy Magaw | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 5/26/2010 4:13 PM | Updated: 5/26/2010 4:14 PM

SPRINGFIELD - Video gambling machines could appear soon at truck stops and veterans' organizations under legislation the Illinois House sent Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday, but some observers say the measure's language could weaken the power of gambling regulators.

The measure, sponsored by Skokie Democrat Lou Lang, tweaks last year's gambling expansion, which legalized video gambling in bars and restaurants as a way to help pay for the state's $31 billion statewide construction project for schools and roads.

Many municipalities have since banned the machines, putting a key component of the massive construction project in jeopardy. This new measure, Lang said, would help restore some of that funding.

"This is very important piece of legislation to make sure that this operation moves forward so we have the dollars to fund our capital bill," he said.

At issue is a clause in the legislation that says the Illinois Gaming Board can deny a license for video gambling only if the applicant has been convicted on an illegal gambling charge.

In most cases, however, owners of bars and even some of those rounded up in video gambling raids are never convicted. Many could plead guilty to lesser crimes that don't fall under the gambling statutes. Often times, bar owners only face a fine from the state's liquor control commission.

Still, Lang said language's purpose was to define vague aspects of the gambling board's regulations.

"There are broad, vast powers by the gambling board with or without this to keep anyone out of video gaming they wish to keep out of video gaming," Lang said.

The measure also has become a contentious campaign issue in the Cook County assessor's race. Independent assessor candidate Forrest Claypool assailed Democratic nominee Joseph Berrios, a lobbyist, for pushing the legislation that would weaken the gambling board's authority.

Claypool said earlier this week that the changes "will restrict the ability of the Illinois Gaming Board to deny licenses to felons and others affiliated with organized crime."

Berrios countered in a statement Wednesday and said the legislation was a logical way to make the state's original law more efficient and profitable.

"This new revenue will help in so many ways," said Berrios, adding that he would resign as a lobbyist if elected.

The proposal was approved 81-26 with five House members voting "present."

NEWS: (National) Feds. break up child porn ring


Seeking extradition of several suspects overseas

By Charles Wilson
The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal prosecutors say they are working with police in several countries to investigate suspects in a child pornography "social networking site" that at one point had more than 1,000 members trading explicit images.

U.S. authorities announced Wednesday that they had broken up the international online child porn site, saying more than 50 people had been arrested in more than 50 states since the 2008 start of the investigation. They said they are also seeking the extradition of several suspects from overseas, including the alleged ringleader, Delwin Savigar, who is serving a 14-year prison term in England for sexually assaulting three underage girls.

Savigar created and ran a password-protected website from which members could access collections of sexual images - some including as many as a million files - share their fantasies about having sex with children and give advice to each other about how to build their collections and avoid getting caught, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. DeBrota said.

"This was a social networking site, really," he said.

To join the group, a person had to be sponsored by a member and voted on by other members, DeBrota said. Some members knew each other only by their screen names, but some knew each other outside of the ring, he said.

"This is the largest crimes against children case brought anywhere by anyone," DeBrota said.

According to DeBrota, the group did not focus on producing photographs, although several members were found to have been personally sexually abusing children, sometimes producing images of the abuse.

"Making the material was not part of this group's conspiracy," DeBrota said.

Immigration and postal agencies also took part in the investigation, along with state and local police.

The group had about 1,000 members at its peak but had culled its membership to about 500 when U.S. officials took down the website in 2008. DeBrota said prosecutors went after high-ranking members or those who had records of abusing children.

One suspect, 47-year-old Edward Oedewaldt, who was arrested April 23 in Arcadia, La., was brought to Indianapolis on Wednesday to face charges of conspiracy to advertise and distribute child pornography and was ordered to remain in federal custody pending trial. He has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Howard Bergstein, declined to comment.

Prosecutors said 35 ring members have been convicted of various child pornography distribution charges. Some of them have received sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

Besides Indiana and Louisiana, suspects came from California, Alaska, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia and Florida, DeBrota said.

The investigation was kept secret for so long to avoid tipping off suspects, Morrison said.

The government is working with police in several countries, including France, Germany and England, to investigate other suspects, DeBrota said. Investigators also believe the group had members in Asia, Africa and South America.

The website had a hierarchy and members were given ranks that gave them varying degrees of access to the pornography. Savigar was the "root administrator," and the ranks descended from "administrator" to "moderator" to "grand master" to "trusted member," DeBrota said.

Investigators were able to infiltrate the ring after taking over the online profile of a member who was arrested in Alabama as part of a separate case, DeBrota said.

Many suspected ring members were charged in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. Conspiracy charges can be brought anywhere an alleged conspiracy occurs, and investigators discovered early on that four members of the group were from Indiana, DeBrota said.

PENSION: Suburban lawmaker facing Republican backlash for pension borrowing vote

From Chicago Tribune (Clout Street)

Posted by Rick Pearson at 6:10 p.m.; updated at 6:46 p.m. with Biggins' response

For 17 years, Elmhurst's Bob Biggins has been a reliable House Republican vote, but his decision Tuesday to join Democrats in favor of a $4 billion pension borrowing plan is earning the lame-duck lawmaker some blowback from GOP officials.
Biggins, who decided not to seek re-election this fall, was called out by state Republican Chairman Pat Brady today as having “some explaining to do.” Brady contends there are questions of whether Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn made an “offer in exchange” for Biggins’ vote.

Biggins did not attend a closed-door caucus of House Republicans prior to the vote, but instead was in the governor’s office. Biggins, however, has denied being offered anything in return for his vote.

But colleagues, who had locked themselves in opposition to the pension borrowing plan, weren’t happy with Biggins, long a protégé of former House Republican leader Lee Daniels of Elmhurst. State Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, saw Biggins being interviewed by reporters in Springfield following Tuesday's vote and said loudly and angrily, “Two-faced son of a (expletive).”

Biggins was not the only retiring Republican House member to vote for the plan, which passed with a bare majority of 71 votes. Rep. Bill Black of Danville, a 24-year state lawmaker and member of the House GOP leadership, also voted for the measure.

Brady, the state GOP chairman, said Black was not singled out for criticism because he attended the House GOP caucus while Biggins skipped it for a meeting in Quinn’s office.

“That’s what raises questions,” Brady said. “I think questions have been raised. We just want to know.”

Biggins said Brady should call him for his reasons for voting instead of issuing critical news releases.

"When the GOP has the guts to call me and ask me why I voted for it, I'll provide them with the answer for this fiscally responsible vote," Biggins said. "The Republican position was fiscally unsound."

Biggins said he was asked to meet with Quinn chief of staff Jerry Stermer during the House GOP caucus and did so. "Nothing was offered and he didn't even try to talk me into" voting for it, Biggins said.

NEWS: (Villa Park) Cops issue alert for man in fatal stabbing of pregnant woman

From Chicago Tribune

May 27, 2010 10:51 AM

A 31-year-old man is being sought by police for questioning in the stabbing death of a Downers Grove woman who was 5 months pregnant.

The woman was visiting a friend in an apartment building in Villa Park when she was stabbed Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. Police said she may have been the victim of domestic violence. They were withholding her name pending notification of family.

An alert was issued for 31-year-old Eric Gilford of Downers Grove. He was described as white, 6-feet-4, 210 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He was driving a black 2008 Dodge Charger with military license plates of 41279US.

The slaying was witnessed by the woman's young daughter, said Villa Park resident Dawn Wood, who discovered the body and this morning described the scene.

"I opened the back door and the little girl came up covered in blood...I grabbed her, she told me her ma got stabbed," Wood said. "And I walked further to the hallway and that's where I saw her ma laying on the floor. She was still conscious."
A Downers Grove neighbor of Gilford said police came to the Gilford house on Saturday. "They asked me when the last time I saw the woman and the 3-year old daughter. I assumed they were reported missing," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

A comment posted at 9:56 p.m. Saturday by someone who identified himself as Gilford on Gilford's Facebook page said: "The police detectives found my wife living at her physically abusive ex-boyfriends house."

Police were back at the house all Wednesday night and this morning, she said.

The neighbor said she met Gilford a year ago. He told her he lived with his mother, whom she occasionally saw. Then last week, she said, she met his wife and child for the first time.

"She said, 'Oh, I'm Eric's wife. Tomorrow we're celebrating my daughter's third birthday and we're having a baby.'

"And that was it, I never saw her again. I saw the party but people were coming and going," the neighbor said. "The last I saw him was the night before the party. He was mowing the lawn. And that's the last I saw him."
DuPage County Coroner Pete Siekmann said the woman's identity was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Paramedics responded to the stabbing about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday in the 300 block of North Ardmore Avenue and transported the woman to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where she later died.
Villa Park police and the DuPage County Major Crimes Task Force are investigating.

Anyone with information is asked to call Villa Park police at .

--Staff report

NEWS: (Chicago) No charges pending for man who fatally shot alleged home invasion suspect

Follow to this }}STORY{{

From Chicago Sun-Times

May 27, 2010

Sun-Times Media Wire

No charges are expected for a man in his 80s who fatally shot an alleged assailant during a home invasion Wednesday morning in the West Side Garfield Park neighborhood, police said.

At 5:22 a.m., an armed man entered a residence on the 620 block of North Sawyer Avenue -- the home of a man and woman in their 80s, according to a Harrison District police sergeant.

When the suspect – identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office as 21-year-old Anthony Nelson -- broke into the residence, he awakened the homeowner who then confronted him, police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.

The elderly man shot the suspect, and the man and woman were not hurt, the sergeant said.

Nelson, of the 3300 block of West Walnut Street, was pronounced dead at 7:35 a.m. on the scene, according to the medical examiner’s office. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

Police said Thursday morning there was no indication of charges pending for the shooter, who is not being identified, Mirabelli said.

A weapon was recovered from the scene, Mirabelli said.

Harrison Area detectives are investigating, and the sergeant described the incident as a home invasion.

Police Blotters May 27, 2010

Click on the town your interested in. If a town that is regularly listed is not here they did not turn over reports for the week.

If there is a town you would like listed, please let me know (also let me know what local paper it is in) and I will make sure it gets listed. Send requests to

}}Franklin Park, Northlake{{

}}Berkeley, Bellwood, Maywood{{

}}Forest Park{{


}}Elmwood Park, River Grove{{


}}Norridge, Harwood Heights{{

}}Oak Park{{

}}Park Ridge{{

}}River Forest{{


NEWS: (National) So-called 'no-kill' bill surfaces in NY

--Can you believe this idiocy? Am I going to have fun with this one on tonight's show.--


PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie

Lawmakers in New York are again contemplating the notion of “shoot-to-wound” legislation and cops in that state are understandably furious. The so-called ‘minimum force’ bill was drafted in the aftermath the death of Sean Bell outside a Queens, New York strip club on November 25, 2006. Similar legislation has been previously presented, and defeated, but the fact that it’s come around again indicates a particularly slow learning curve among law makers about what law enforcers actually do.

According to a newspaper report by Murray Weiss of the New York Post the bill would “amend the state penal codes’ ‘justification’ clause that allows an officer the right to kill a thug if he feels his life or someone else's is in imminent danger.”

Weiss writes that the bill proposed bill “would force officers to use their weapons ‘with the intent to stop, rather than kill’ a suspect” and would mandate that cops ‘shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg’ as opposed to the present practice of aiming center-mass until the threat is stopped.

Here’s just one problem with this ill-advised piece of legislation: cops already shoot to stop — not kill — the threat.

Sure, there’s the one-in-a-million instance — usually when a hostile suspect is holding a hostage at gunpoint with imminent danger of death to said hostage — in which an immediate de-animation shot is required. But there are many, many more instances in which an officer — or multiple officers — have put rounds on a dangerous suspect, stopped them from being a threat, and then instantaneously rendered life-saving aid.

PoliceOne has obtained an advance draft of an upcoming position paper from our partners at Force Science Research Center, which counters — with ease and aplomb — the sideways thinking in this type of legislation. Check out that important paper here.

“When I encounter civilian response to officer-involved shootings, it’s very often ‘Why didn’t they just shoot him in the leg?’” Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, told Force Science News in a 2006 interview centered on Paterson’s proposed legislation. “When civilians judge police shooting deaths–on juries, on review boards, in the media, in the community–this same argument is often brought forward. Shooting to wound is naively regarded as a reasonable means of stopping dangerous behavior.

“In reality, this thinking is a result of ‘training by Hollywood,’ in which movie and TV cops are able to do anything to control the outcomes of events that serve the director’s dramatic interests. It reflects a misconception of real-life dynamics and ends up imposing unrealistic expectations of skill on real-life officers.”

Vice President Joe Biden apparently agrees, according to the FSRC report. “When Michael Paladino, president of New York’s Detectives Endowment Association, showed him the bill he reportedly scoffed and suggested that it be called the ‘John Wayne Bill’ because of the unrealistic, movie-like sharpshooting skills it demands of officers,” reads the Force Science paper.

PoliceOne Firearms Columnist Ron Avery is quoted in the Force Science Research document as saying that shooting to wound “reflects a misapplication of police equipment. Less-lethal options should be attempted only with tools designed for that purpose.”

Avery says further that if you “deliberately use deadly force to bring people into custody without incapacitating them, you’re using the wrong tool for that job. Also, if you shoot them in the arm or leg and you destroy muscle tissue, shatter bone or destroy nerve function you have maimed that person for life. Now attorneys can play the argument of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ and pursue punitive damages for destroying the capacity of your ‘victim’ to earn wages and so on. You don’t try to just wound people with a gun. Period.”

This legislation — and other such nonsense like it — was almost certainly drafted by a group of people who have never in their lives operated a firearm, much less done so in the life-or-death context that police officers face every day they pin on the badge. Avery has an idea on how we can help those folks get an idea. “Put them in a cage with a lion,” Avery suggests. “Then let’s see if they shoot to wound.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NEWS: (Chicago) Police: Elderly man fatally shoots intruder

May 26, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- An alleged pre-dawn intruder was shot and killed Wednesday by a homeowner on the West Side.

The homeowner, his wife, son and grandson were in the home when the intruder broke in just after 5 a.m. in the 600-block of North Sawyer.

The homeowner is said to be shaken that he killed a man but confident he did the right thing. The armed intruder was on parole and has a history of drug arrests and gun convictions going back more than a decade.

Police believe the would-be robber rode his bicycle to the elderly couple's home and entered through a back window. Inside, he encountered an 80-year-old veteran of the Korean War, armed with the intent to protect his family.

"It's gonna be them or us when you come into our house," said Butch Gant, homeowner's son.
Gant was staying at his parent's place when he heard his mother scream. He says the intruder first fired at his parents. His dad fired back, killing the intruder who was in his 30s.

"I feel sorry for them, you know, that they have the loss of their family members but it's either them or us. That's what I say and that's what my father say," said Gant.

Also home during the pre-dawn break-in were several family members including the homeowner's 12-year-old grandson. His mother talked to ABC7 but asked not to reveal her identity.

"He's a little bit in shock but he's brave. He's cooperating with police also," said the child's mother.

In the East Garfield Park neighborhood, plenty of people are now calling the homeowner a hero.

"They're 80-something years old. Why would somebody go in their house? I'm 75 and I know what I would do," said Audrey Wilson, neighbor.

"I would so the same thing, too, to protect my life, and my mom's life. You got to," said Jose Perez, neighbor.

Relatives say the homeowner bought a gun just a few months after an even more brazen robbery last November, where the crooks stole $100.

"Three guys came in and robbed him, same demo through the back," said Gant. "He said, 'it's not going to happen again.'"

Police interviewed the homeowner for several hours, then released him without charges. Owning a gun in the city is illegal, but so far the homeowner hasn't received a citation.

Coming up at 6 p.m. on ABC7: Why some say today's shooting is evidence the city's gun ban is misguided and ineffective. There's a case about to be decided by the Supreme Court that makes that very argument.


R.I.P: Police Officer Travis P. Murphy

Police Officer Travis P. Murphy
Phoenix Police Department

End of Watch: Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Cause: Gunfire

Biographical Info
Age: 29
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available

Officer Travis Murphy was shot and killed when he confronted a suspect had led officers on a short pursuit at approximately 1:00 am.

The suspect had eluded the officers after turning off his lights and fleeing at a high rate of speed. Several minutes later dispatchers received reports that a man was seen attempting to hide a vehicle under a tarp at a vacant home. Officer Murphy, along with several officers, responded to the scene and started searching for the man on foot.

Officer Murphy encountered the suspect and was shot. Other officers immediately placed him in a patrol car and took him to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds a short time later.

The suspect was taken into custody after being found hiding in a nearby shed.

Officer Murphy is survived by his wife, 2-year-old daughter, and 2-week-old child.

Photograph: Police Officer Travis P. Murphy

Patch image: Phoenix  Police Department, Arizona

NEWS: Teen Suicide: Deaths behind bars

From Chicago Tribune

TRIBUNE WATCHDOG: Juvenile justice

'It shouldn't be that easy'

Suicides by troubled teens expose safety breakdowns behind bars

By Steve Mills and Louise Kiernan, Tribune reporters

9:07 PM CDT, May 25, 2010

Sometime before 3:09 a.m. on Sept. 1, 2009, Jamal Miller began to tear the bedsheet in his room at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles.

The stocky 16-year-old tied the sheet to a sock and tied the sock around the metal bar at the top of his bunk bed. He attached three notes to the cinder-block wall with toothpaste and placed another piece of notebook paper in the narrow window of his door.

Since he first threatened to kill himself at age 8, Miller had been hospitalized half a dozen times for psychiatric problems and made at least four suicide attempts. By the time he ended up in the state's juvenile justice system, he had been shuttled in and out of juvenile detention and treatment so often that his mother couldn't remember the last time he celebrated a holiday or birthday at home.

Officials had placed Miller in a corrections facility for mentally ill inmates. But in August, after a psychologist concluded that his primary problem was "criminal thinking," he was transferred to a general-population institution in St. Charles. Less than four weeks later, he placed the torn sheet around his neck and hanged himself from his bed.

Miller's death was the seventh suicide in the state's juvenile correctional facilities in the past decade. Those deaths, as well as 175 serious suicide attempts during the same period, reflect a breakdown in the system that is supposed to rehabilitate and protect some of the state's most troubled and vulnerable young people, a Tribune investigation found.

Department officials estimate that about two-thirds of the 1,200 inmates in the state's eight juvenile justice facilities have been diagnosed with a mental illness and that half the young men and nearly all the young women have thought about or attempted suicide before they enter the system.

While it may be impossible to eliminate all suicide risks behind bars, the state has failed to take simple steps to protect these teenagers from themselves.

The type of metal-frame bunk bed that Miller used to hang himself, which has a sturdy bar across the top, had been involved in three other suicides since 2000 and in at least 21 attempts. But until Miller's death, a lack of urgency and political will kept the bunk beds from being removed. Although officials are now moving to replace them, metal-frame bunks still make up nearly 60 percent of the system's beds.

Other equipment and furnishings pose similar, overlooked hazards. Since 2000, three inmates have hanged themselves from air vent covers, the most recent case involving a model the department considers safe. At least three inmates since 2006 have tried to hang themselves from ceiling light fixtures at the youth center in Harrisburg. Another inmate tried to hang himself from a wall-mounted television stand at the Kewanee facility in February.

Investigations into the seven suicides have left key questions unanswered and failed to resolve inconsistencies in accounts of the deaths, interviews and a review of documents show. Not once did these investigations find fault with current procedures or staff, the Tribune found.

Nationally, suicides in juvenile institutions are relatively rare, but experts say it's crucial to take the threat seriously.

"You need to approach everyone in your care as though the risk of suicide is very, very significant," said Melissa Sickmund, who has studied the issue as chief of systems research at the National Center for Juvenile Justice.

"Yes, you can say that a kid who is determined to kill themselves will do it," Sickmund said. "But it shouldn't be that easy in prison."

Troubled childhood

The events of Jamal Miller's childhood read like a blur of signposts leading to trouble: He was born as his mother, a crack addict, faced murder charges; placed on Ritalin at age 4; suspended five times from second grade; drinking by age 8; and smoking marijuana at 9.

His first major psychiatric crisis occurred when, at 8, he threatened to kill himself after he was arrested for stealing a bike. He was admitted for two weeks to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, where doctors diagnosed him with depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and noted that his "emotional life reflects a preoccupation with aggression, violence, and misbehavior."

Over the years, the diagnoses and the drugs would change — bipolar disorder, mood disorder, conduct disorder; Paxil, Risperdal, Zoloft — but Miller seemed unable to control his anger toward others or himself.

In seventh grade he was expelled for pulling a knife on another student. At 13, he was hospitalized after he tried to hang himself with a dog chain. He made another suicide attempt shortly before his 15th birthday, when he tried to suffocate himself by tying a pillow to his face while he was in a residential treatment program for mental illness and drug addiction.

"He used to always say, 'Mama, there's something wrong with me, and I don't know what it is,'" said his mother, Cheryl Miller, 42. "He'd say, 'I try so hard.'"

Cheryl Miller served 21/2 years in prison on a second-degree murder conviction for shooting a 16-year-old girl in the neck. She stayed clean for several years afterward but eventually started using crack cocaine again, even as she steadily worked jobs at fast-food restaurants and as a home health care aide, often pulling two shifts a day. She also faithfully attended her two sons' school meetings and, later, their court hearings. She looked for programs that might help them stay out of trouble.

"Every day she tried to make amends … to the boys in the best way that she could as she continued to go through her struggles," said Richard Wills, a veteran probation officer who worked with the family for more than five years. "That made that family kind of unique."

In July 2007, in the midst of a chaotic period when he ricocheted among hospitals, the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and home, Jamal Miller sent his mother a poem he apparently had copied from a young-adult novel. Called "Poem of Hope," it concluded: "I cannot see the future/ and I cannot change the past/ but the present is so heavy/ I don't think I'm going to last." In the book, "Tears of a Tiger," the character who writes the poem ultimately commits suicide.

The next month, Miller pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and aggravated battery for breaking the nose of a teenager while trying to take money from him. Eight months later, after he got kicked out of a residential treatment center, he returned to court, where Judge Michael Stuttley offered Miller one last chance before sending him to juvenile prison: to join his mother in Springfield, where she had moved from Park Forest and, she said, kicked her crack addiction.

But in Springfield there was another suicide attempt, another hospitalization and then two arrests: for threatening to kill a teacher and threatening a police officer.

"I knew we had exhausted everything we could do at that point," Wills, the probation officer, recalled. "And not only did I know that, but Jamal knew it too."

Even as Wills reluctantly recommended that Miller be committed to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, he thought the teenager still could turn himself around. He had seen it happen before.

'Criminal thinking, not mental illness'

In late November 2008, Miller was sent to the youth center in St. Charles, where he spent nine weeks in the special treatment unit. In February, officials transferred him to Kewanee, the facility for juvenile offenders with the most serious mental health issues. Shortly before the transfer, the treatment administrator at St. Charles described his mental health history as "significant but currently stable," noting that he had been on at least eight psychotropic medications and had five psychiatric hospitalizations.

Miller's record at Kewanee shows a series of fights and disciplinary problems. He also once threatened to commit suicide unless he could talk to a counselor, a threat he later said wasn't serious, and he was placed on suicide watch for two days after he assaulted another youth and told staff members: "I'm going to make it worse for myself." His assignment to the facility's dual mental health and substance abuse treatment program failed twice.

On June 19, a week after he was removed for the second time, a psychologist at Kewanee concluded that Miller didn't need drug abuse treatment or intensive mental health services.

"Youth's primary problem since his arrival to IDJJ is his criminal thinking, not mental illness," she wrote.

The next month, officials approved his transfer back to St. Charles. The request cited his "lack of immediate mental health needs or concerns."

The department stands by the reassessment of Miller and his transfer.

"Hindsight being 20/20, one could go back and second-guess their clinical decisions. I choose not to do that," said Juvenile Justice director Kurt Friedenauer. "Clinical staff and doctors were making those assessments … based on information they had available regarding the circumstances and previous history."

One expert who reviewed Miller's records at the Tribune's request said the reassessment "appeared to be an error in clinical judgment."

"There's overwhelming evidence he's got a serious psychological illness that needs to be carefully assessed and treated," said Dr. Bennett Leventhal, a nationally known child and adolescent psychiatrist who has worked on juvenile justice issues. "And to ignore that evidence is a mistake."

Juvenile justice and mental health experts have long questioned the availability and quality of mental health treatment at the state's youth facilities. Two days after Miller's death, Friedenauer, the department's director, asked the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change initiative to lead a review of mental health needs and care throughout the system. That report is due soon.

Questions about mental health treatment also surround the suicide of 17-year-old Miguel Stone, who hanged himself at the Harrisburg youth center in 2004. He had made three suicide attempts in the previous 12 months, the most recent just three weeks before entering the downstate facility.

He told a therapist at Harrisburg that he wasn't planning to kill himself but also described his "lack of hope," records show. The day of his death, another inmate became concerned about Stone and asked the center's chaplain to visit him. Stone would not face him or speak to him. About 45 minutes later, he was found hanging from a sheet tied to the top of the bunk bed.

In Miller's case, he was transferred back to St. Charles on Aug. 5, 2009,and assigned to a special treatment unit. Inmates in special treatment at St. Charles receive about half the hours of mental health care as those in special treatment at Kewanee. Miller told a psychiatrist at St. Charles that he no longer needed psychiatric medication and refused to take it. Medical staff can force medication in certain circumstances, but the psychiatrist concluded that was not called for.

The afternoon before he killed himself, records state, Miller argued with one of the guards at St. Charles. For a troubled young man like Miller — described soon after he arrived in the juvenile system as someone whose "suicide gestures all appear to have been impulsive acts engaged in when youth is angry and frustrated" — that encounter would apparently be enough to tip him over the edge.

When Miller returned that night to his single room, it contained everything he would need to kill himself: a sheet and his bunk bed.

A decade of warnings

Corrections officials had received ample warning that the system's metal-frame bunk beds posed a suicide hazard. In January 2000, Jason Doke, 17, made a noose out of his belt and hanged himself from the top of his bunk at the state juvenile facility at Valley View. A year and a half later, Kene Tillman, 13, hanged himself from his bunk at St. Charles. Miguel Stone died the same way.

In the five years between Stone's and Miller's suicides, at least 21 other inmates in juvenile facilities tried to take their lives by hanging themselves from metal-frame bunks, records show.

At least one Department of Corrections investigator recognized the risk, though there is no evidence that he shared his concerns with anyone in the department. "A child could reach up there," investigator Richard Harrington testified at a coroner's inquest into Stone's death. "It's done quite easy."

After Miller's suicide, the John Howard Association, a local prison watchdog group, identified the bunks and other furnishings as suicide risks, saying the rooms at St. Charles were "rife with self-harm hazards.''

Air vent covers, which the association said should be replaced with breakaway models, are found across the juvenile system, officials say. Although light fixtures have been replaced in 119 rooms at Harrisburg, they remain in 171.

Friedenauer said that since the Department of Juvenile Justice was created in 2006, taking over the youth centers from the Department of Corrections, it has repeatedly sought money for safer equipment. The department's 2007 master plan also includes calls for safer rooms. But, Friedenauer said, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and state legislators never allocated the money.

"We've time and time again reiterated the safety issue," Friedenauer said.

Benjamin Wolf, the associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which has studied the state's juvenile justice system, said the department and its inmates have suffered because they have long been a "low priority" for the governor and the legislature.

"These kids have about as little clout as you can possibly have, so getting money for them is difficult," Wolf said. "They're from poor families. They've committed crimes. They're mentally ill. They don't vote. So they're at the back of the line."

Although experts say the Juvenile Justice Department has improved care for young offenders, Gov. Pat Quinn recently proposed folding it into the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

After Miller's death, juvenile justice officials made an emergency request for money to replace the bunks; Quinn's administration responded with $2.5 million for upgrades, including new beds. Friedenauer said he hopes all the bunks will be gone later this year, except those in dormitory-style rooms where inmates are less able to attempt suicide without being detected.

That comes too late for Miller, who sometime before his death on Sept. 1 signaled his intentions and his despair in the piece of paper he placed in the window of his door.

It read: "RIP Jamal Damerco Miller."