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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Speed kills well not this type of speed

Nearly 90 percent of interstate highway miles in Illinois will have 70-mph speed limits starting Wednesday, state transportation officials announced Friday, but the sponsor of the law raising the limits is upset almost all existing posted speeds in the Chicago area will remain unchanged and he vowed to push for them to be higher.

Drivers on almost 1,900 of the state's nearly 2,170 miles of interstate will be able to travel at 70 mph instead of the existing speed limits, generally 65 along rural highways, after crews post the new speed limit signs — weather permitting — Jan. 2-17, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

But only about 30 percent of the Illinois Tollway's 286-mile network will get the higher speed limit, according to a map released by IDOT. And in the Chicago area, the 70-mph limit will be posted only on five fairly short stretches of interstate. Those are sections of I-80 and I-55 in Will County, a stretch of I-57 in far southern Cook County and all of Will County, a portion of the I-88 toll road in far western Kane County and part of the I-94 tollway in northern Lake County.

"It's unacceptable," said State. Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, who sponsored the bill that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in August. Oberweis said he was upset that IDOT, which had the authority to draw up the speed limit map, left unchanged the 55-mph speed limit across virtually all of the Chicago region. "They're putting law-abiding citizens into danger."

"It's quite clear" that 85 percent of vehicles are traveling at 70 mph or faster on almost all expressways, Oberweis said, and that the variation between the 55-mph legal limit and 70-mph higher speed is a significant factor in crashes. Oberweis, who is running for U.S. Senate, owns a family dairy company that runs trucks on the highways.

The IDOT map was released two weeks after a Chicago Tribune analysis showed the actual speed limit — the point at which most motorists are ticketed on interstates in the six-county Chicago region — is about 80 mph. Earlier Tribune research showed 9 of 10 cars on the tollway disregard and exceed the 55-mph speed limit. The average speed in those stretches was 66-70 mph, Tribune research found.

"It's just clear that they (IDOT) are disregarding the will of the people." Oberweis said, adding that the interstates are designed to handle vehicles traveling 70 mph and speed limits were set at that level before the federal government imposed a national 55-mph limit in 1974. That limit was scrapped in 1995, and states across the U.S. have been raising highway speed limits since then.

In a statement, IDOT said the new speeds will be placed on interstate stretches "where deemed reasonable and safe." Department spokesman Paris Ervin said the agency conducted traffic engineering studies of all locations with limits below the existing 65-mph maximum and "other locations deemed necessary."

IDOT considered the widely accepted 85th percentile — the speed at which 85 percent of the traffic is traveling at or below — and "additional considerations" on those stretches before reaching its recommendations, Ervin said.

"IDOT's top priority is the safety of those using our transportation system," she added. The department and Illinois Tollway will continue reviewing "any roadway speed limit as needed, including monitoring changing traffic behaviors and the completion of construction projects," the agency's statement reported.

Oberweis said he will try to bring his push for 70-mph Chicago-area speed limits to the legislature and may settle on a 65-mph limit.

"It's a safe, reasonable and consistent speed," Oberweis said of 70 mph.

Mr. Potatohead named ccw appeals board

Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday named former federal prosecutors, FBI agents and judges to a seven-member panel to review objections raised by law enforcement to people who apply to carry a concealed firearm under the state’s new law.

The move is the latest step to put in place the state’s new concealed carry law, a legislative compromise enacted last summer after a federal appeals court ruled Illinois had to give up its status as the last state in the nation to ban possession of firearms in public.

Under the law, people apply for concealed carry permits and police departments can object to the application. The review panel hears appeals of those objections and is supposed to decide within 30 days whether the applicant poses a danger to themselves or others or is a threat to public safety.

The panel’s membership represents the state’s five judicial districts, including three from Cook County, and is supposed to include commissioners with judicial, prosecutorial, criminal justice and mental health treatment experience.
Appointed from the First District were Robinzina Bryant of Flossmoor, who spent a decade as a special agent with the FBI in Chicago and St. Louis; Dr. James Lewis Cavanaugh of Winnetka, a professor of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center and a behavioral risk analyst; and Virginia Wright of Palatine, who served as a special agent with the FBI for 24 years in New York, New Haven and Chicago.

Sergio Acosta of Elmhurst was picked to represent the Second District, which includes the west suburbs and north and northwestern Illinois. Acosta is the former Illinois Gaming Board administrator, a partner with Hinshaw & Culbertson and once headed the general crimes section of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.

For the Third Judicial District, which includes Will County and north central Illinois, Quinn named John Diwik of Naperville, a criminal investigator with Amtrak’s office of inspector general and a former FBI special agent.

From the Fourth Judicial District, made up of central Illinois, Quinn named Patrick Chesley, a private attorney who served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Springfield for nearly 30 years. Chesley previously worked in the state attorney general’s office.

Representing the Fifth Judicial District, covering southern Illinois, Quinn named recently retired federal judge G. Patrick Murphy of Williamson County.

Quinn called his choices “highly qualified and committed individuals” who will “carry out their duties diligently to protect public safety.” The initial appointments, which require Senate confirmation, are for a term that ends Jan. 12, 2015. The positions pay $37,571 a year.

Wildabeast escaped zoo in Chicago winter

Shootings early this morning have left a 23-year-old man dead and four other people injured, according to police.

The fatal shooting happened about 4:10 a.m. in the 4500 block of Indiana Avenue. Police said two male shooters stepped out of a dark-colored sedan and opened fire on a 23-year-old man walking on the sidewalk.

The man was struck multiple times but managed to run to a vacant lot before collapsing, according to police.

He died on the scene.

No suspects are in custody as Area Central detectives investigate the killing.

In the most recent shooting, a 23-year-old man was shot in the buttocks as he stood on the sidewalk in the 5700 block of South Laflin Street.

Police said the man was in serious condition at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

Earlier, a 20-year-old man was shot in the lower abdomen after stepping out of a vehicle into a gangway in the 6400 block of South Homan Avenue, police said. The man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and listed in serious condition.

About 2:50 a.m., a 25-year-old man was shot in the 4300 block of South Western Avenue. The man was walking down the sidewalk when he heard gunfire and realized he was shot.

The man sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.

About 1:10 a.m., a 23-year-old woman drove herself to St. Anthony Hospital after being shot in the arm. The woman told police she had been shot while sitting in a vehicle at a stoplight in the 2800 block of West 31st Street.

The woman did not provide police with a description of the shooter or the vehicle the shooter was traveling in.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Red light cameras constitutional or not

California Court of Appeal Throws Out Red Light Camera Ticket
California Court of Appeal overturns red light camera ticket evidence as hearsay.
The Newspaper,  12/31/12
Borzakian, a former deputy public defender, decided to fight the citation. During her January 2010 trial, Officer Mike Butkus provided the standard testimony that introduces Redflex evidence in all jurisdictions. Commissioner Carol J. Hallowitz ignored Borzakian’s objections, admitted the evidence and found Borzakian guilty, imposing a $435 fine plus a twelve-hour traffic school. Borzakian immediately appealed, citing the US Supreme Court case Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, which the traffic camera industry has feared since it was decided in 2009.

See California v. Borzakian (Court of Appeal, State of California, 1/26/2012)

US Supreme Court DecisionsThese cases can be cited as precedent in other cases.   Melendez-Diaz (2009) 557 U.S. 305 (2009), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that it was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation without the testimony of the person whoof submitted these reports without testimony was unconstitutional.
In the Melendez-Diaz case, the high court ruled that merely producing such a certificate in court is insufficient. Defendants have the right to cross-examine any individual who claims to have certified evidence.

"Violators often object that they cannot challenge their accuser if it is a camera," Leslie Blakey, executive director of the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running said. "This new ruling may spur more court cases and lawsuits on the basis of the right to challenge the human elements of the evidentiary chain."

Blakey is principal of the Blakey and Agnew public relations firm that five of the top photo enforcement companies -- Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), CMA Consulting, Gatso of the Netherlands, Lasercraft of the UK and Redflex of Australia -- paid to create the National Campaign to lobby on their behalf. Each of these firms could face a tremendous challenge if their methods are brought into closer scrutiny, although Blakey believes that this constitutional protections may not apply in states where photo tickets have been made "civil" violations.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion in Melendez-Diaz, a 5-4 majority agreed that despite the possible hassle involved in confirming each fact at trial, it is essential to the integrity of the court system that questioning of the evidence be allowed under the ruling, it becomes the burden of the state or local authority to ensure photo enforcement company employees show up to testify in court

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. —A ruling from the Missouri Court of Appeals has put the brakes on Kansas City's red-light camera program, at least for the time being.
Kansas City's program is similar enough to the one in Ellisville that leaders said they will hold back on enforcing it.
Kansas City will keep the cameras rolling, but it won't issue any tickets to violators.
One driver told KMBC 9 News that he supports the ruling, but he can see the need for cameras at some intersections.
"I can see in, like, high-traffic areas with a lot of foot traffic, where people run through red lights, like on 71 Highway, it's kind of good to have them because it encourages people and slows them down," he said. "But for the most part, a lot of times, I just try to avoid those intersections."
Many experts believe the issue will eventually be decided by the Missouri Supreme Court. If the high court affirms the appeals court ruling, the city said it will determine whether to change or eliminate the red-light camera program.
In 2012, Kansas City issued 34,000 tickets from red-light camera violations. Police statistics indicate that crashes at intersections with those cameras were down 54 percent last year.

The Washington Times
Monday, August 30, 2010
A Supreme Court ruling last year requiring that scientists be made available to testify in court cases about lab evidence they prepare may have the added effect of curtailing the use of automated traffic-enforcement cameras to assess criminal penalties.
California is one of 23 states and the District of Columbia that operate red-light camera programs, but in 21 of those jurisdictions — including Maryland, Virginia and the District — violations generated by the cameras are civil infractions, like a parking ticket, issued to the vehicle’s owner instead of criminal violations levied against the driver. Making it a violation of Constitutional law since the owner of the vehicle is not the one who committed the violation but the person who drove the vehicle.The absence of the camera technicians in criminal cases, the judges said, violates the 6th Amendment’s Confrontation Clause of the Bill of Rights, which guarantees criminal defendants the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against them.” The Confrontation Clause — and the court decision — only applies to criminal cases. Which is incurred by the driver and not the owner unless the owner was the one driving.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

14 year old boy killed in Richmond, California can be seen on Google Earth

The father of Kevin Barrera is livid. His son was murdered four years ago at the age of 14 in Richmond, California. Shockingly, his dead body can be seen near railroad tracks when using Google Maps.
Scroll down to see 7 pictures of an uncensored look at Kevin Barrera’s remains. His dad is currently asking the billion dollar company to remove the shots from Google Earth.
This is just an unfortunate situation all around. The murder is still yet to be solved. And the fluke occurrence that satellite imagery would pick it up is just adding salt to the wound. I’m sure Google will do the right thing and at least blur out the body.

Read more:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Your right to remain silent is no more

As most of us know, we have the right to remain silent once read our Miranda rights by law enforcement officers, in the event we are arrested and/or under suspicion for a shooting or a crime. However, a recent major U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 17th, 2013 changed this based on theSalinas v. Texas Case. Here is the general issue: what if we have not been arrested and haven’t been read our Miranda rights and we are merely being questioned? Can we remain silent? What this 5-4 Supreme Court decision means to this lay, non-attorney person is that in order to invoke your right to remain silent you have to initially speak up first. Confusing?Hopefully, we will never have to be involved in a shooting or crime investigation, but if we are there are some new things we must understand. It now seems that we have to invoke our 5th Amendment rights in our U.S. Constitution immediately when the Police begin to question us. The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law and outlines basic constitutional limits on police procedure. It is a prohibition against required self-incrimination and applies to states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.If we do not invoke the 5th, our silence now can be used against us. As a result of this Salinas Supreme Court decision, silence can now be more solidly construed as meaning we have something to hide or are trying to be deceitful. So, if that terrible situation occurs where there is much uncertainty of facts and circumstances, where someone is injured or dies, or a crime or shooting has occurred, and we are being questioned, we have to be very cautious, even as an innocent person, about the statements we make.A complex issue that arises is do prosecutors violate an accused criminal’s Fifth Amendment right against forced self-incrimination when they use evidence of his silence against him, even when the evidence comes fromquestioning conducted before he was taken into police custody?Here is a summary of the facts of the Salinas v. Texas case. Police in Houston, Texas questioned Genovevo Salinas during a murder investigation. Salinas answered all of their questions until the police asked whether he thought that casings found at the murder scene would match the shotgun the police found in his house. In response, Salinas remained silent. He looked down at the floor, shuffled his feet, bit his bottom lip, clenched his hands in his lap, and began to tighten up. After a few moments of silence, the officer asked additional questions, which Salinas answered. Later, he was charged with murder, tried, and convicted partially on the basis of evidence that he had remained silent during police questioning before he was arrested and given his Miranda warnings.Salinas claims that the Texas trial court should not have admitted evidence of his silence because of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. He argued that allowing evidence of his silence would violate the Fifth Amendment by forcing him to speak or have his silence used against him. The State of Texas argued that the evidence was appropriately admitted and outside the protection of Fifth Amendment privilege because Salinas’s silence was non-testimonial and the police questioning was non-coercive. The Supreme Court’s decision determined the scope of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and, more specifically, whether it extends to the protection of a defendant’s pre-arrest, pre-Miranda statements to the police. Mr. Salinas’ silence was used against him in court. and the court sided with the prosecution. In essence, the Supreme Court is saying that you must speak up or silence will be used against you. So it seems according to the Supreme Court, the Fifth Amendment is now a privilege and not a right.Click Here for the 6-17-13 full legal version of the decision.Click Here for the U.S. Supreme Court Blog about the Case:If this non-attorney with very limited legal background is involved in any way with a highly unlikely shooting or any crime investigation, I want to minimize any possible personal risks. So, the only initial statement I will probably make is:“I want to cooperate fully with law enforcement, but I do not want to make a statement or answer any questions until I talk to my attorney.”Understand this is not legal advice or a legal opinion, but just this lay person thinking out loud. Thus, I am communicating to the police that:I am willing to cooperate and have nothing to hide: “I want to cooperate fully with law enforcement”;I do not want to talk at all at this time for the official record: “I do not want to make a statement”; andI do not want to be questioned at all nor provide any answers or information until I speak with my lawyer: “or answer any questions.”This case affects the Miranda Warning and we probably should consider adding this statement to protect ourselves from any further questioning by police. Without adding this, law enforcement can still ask us questions and if we answer any of those questions, it can be used against us.Another consideration is to NOT initiate a conversation with law enforcement after invoking your Miranda rights. If you do initiate a conversation, it could possibly be interpreted that you revoked your rights under Miranda. Without a doubt, this decision will significantly impact law enforcement practices, including how police question individuals and advise them of their Miranda rights. It will also influence the way prosecutors introduce evidence and attempt to prove defendants’ guilt.The Constitution was created to protect all of us, even the person like me who is not legally trained and doesn’t deeply understand the law. It is supposed to be the basis for fair justice for everyone. Because the Court on the surface seemingly disagreed in this situation, some might think it is best to not talk to the police at all and strictly invoke all their Constitutional rights. However, this can hinder justice. So if you are involved in a shooting or criminal investigation, perhaps the best approach is to think positive and only make the initial statement… and wait for your attorney to arrive. What are your thoughts about this?Continued Success!

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry in your state. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sarge's dumest criminal's

<b><big>Charge: Aggravated battery to a police officer</big></b><br><a href=",0,7594535.story"target="_blank">Read more>></a>

 Carlos Rivera

( Chicago Police Department photo / October 21, 2013 )
Charge: Aggravated battery to a police officer
<b><big>Charge: Animal torture and aggravated cruelty to animals</big></b><br><a href=",0,3376136.story"target="_blank">Read more>></a>

Andres F. Duran

( Cook County Sheriff's Office photo / October 21, 2013 )
Charge: Animal torture and aggravated cruelty to animals
Read more>>

<b><big>Charge: Battery, robbery of a handicapped person, aggravated battery of a police officer and aggravated battery of a person over the age of 60</big></b><br><a href=",0,2317963.story"target="_blank">Read more>></a>

Freddy Feliciano

( Chicago Police Department photo / October 13, 2013 )
Charge: Battery, robbery of a handicapped person, aggravated battery of a police officer and aggravated battery of a person over the age of 60
Read more>>
<b><big>Charge: Simple assault and impersonation of a police officer</big></b><br><a href=",0,462673.story"target="_blank">Read more>></a>

 Nathaniel Henry

( Chicago Police Department photo / October 11, 2013 )
Charge: Simple assault and impersonation of a police officer
Read more>>

Officer Richard Francis' s murder finaly goes to trial

An attorney for a woman on trial in the slaying of a Chicago police officer in 2008 suggested Monday that the shooting was accidental, telling jurors that the officer's gun went off as the two wrestled after the officer body-slammed her.Assistant Public Defender Brendan Max repeatedly described his client, Robin Johnson, as "distressed and confused" at the time and said surveillance video would show that it was not her intention to kill the 27-year veteran officer."You'll be able to tell that nobody grabbed anyone's gun," Max said during the opening statements. "At the most what happened here was the struggle for a gun."Officer Richard Francis, 60, was shot in the head on the morning of July 2 as he investigated complaints that Johnson had been harassing a passenger aboard a CTA bus less than a block from the old Belmont District station at Belmont and Western avenues. Francis was patrolling the streets alone that night.The first witness called by the prosecution, the driver of the CTA bus, said she saw the officer grab the woman as she tried to walk away, both fell to the ground and then she saw a muzzle flash."I panicked and screamed," Tracey Jackson testified, dabbing at tears in her eyes.Another witness, Jennifer Orze, who was in her car at the time of the shooting at about 2 a.m., testified she saw the officer atop a woman as the two struggled.Cook County prosecutors also played the emergency dispatch call in which an officer at the scene shouted, "Officer's been shot! Officer's been shot!"Clad in a black jacket and a teal collared shirt, Johnson, now 50, sat expressionless at the defense table for much of the day.More than two dozen spectators, including Francis' widow, packed into the small gallery of Judge Thomas Gainer's Jr.'s courtroom at the Leighton Criminal Court Building as both sides in the case told jurors what the evidence would show at the trial.Assistant State's Attorney Charise Valente told the seven-man, five-woman jury that one officer responding to the call of a disturbance saw Johnson pointing the gun at Francis' head before he was shot. As many as three other officers saw her holding the weapon after the shooting, she said.Johnson was shot multiple times after she aimed the gun at the officers while taking cover behind Francis' patrol car, Valente said."She was going to shoot them," Valente told jurors.Johnson's blood was recovered from Francis' gun, Valente said.Max suggested to the jury that scientific evidence couldn't prove that Johnson fired Francis' gun. While gunshot residue was found on the officer's hands, it couldn't be determined if there was any on Johnson's, Max said."She never committed first-degree murder," Max told jurors. "She reacted the best she could while being slammed around."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jury finds cop killer guilty off to the gallos

A Cook County jury Wednesday found a South Side man guilty of murdering Chicago Police Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez in Englewood after 10 hours of deliberations.

Although Kevin Walker never fired from the car he was driving in the early morning of June 1, 2009, he positioned the vehicle so his two friends, Shawn Gaston and Christopher Harris, could get a good shot, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in her closing arguments Tuesday.

Walker, 25, whose street nickname is “Killer Kev,” was also convicted of the attempted murder of Kelvin Thomas — the resident Valadez was interviewing when the plain-clothed officer was slain in the 6000 block of South Hermitage.

The jury returned their decision after being sequestered late Tuesday night.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was in attendance as the verdict was read. After the verdict, Alvarez hugged Valadez’s family members.

Valadez, 27, and his partner were responding to a call of shots fired aimed at Walker and the two others when he was killed.

Valadez was “protecting” the three men. But the three men thanked the officer for his service with a hail of bullets as they tried to retaliate against their enemies, prosecutors said.

Two years ago, Alvarez also prosecuted Gaston in her first case since her 2008 election.

Gaston, 24, was convicted and is currently serving a 125-year prison term.

Closing arguments are expected in Harris’ trial before Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso later Wednesday.

In 2010, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office drafted and helped pass the “Valadez Law,” which mandates a prison sentence for unlawful possession of a firearm by a gang member.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

WWII Vets face criminal charges

This is an outrage!An “Honor Flight” (the charity that brings World War II vets to visit their memorials in Washington, DC for free) is planning on bringing World War II vets to visit their memorial in Washington this weekend. But with the government shutdown, not only is the trip being threatened with cancellation, but the government is threatening to ARREST any vet who tries to enter the memorial! This is after the fact that on Monday, October 1st, World War II vets knocked down barriers blocking the WW2 memorial so they could visit it, which was “closed” because of the government shutdown. Nevermind that this memorial is outdoors and never, ever has barriers around it – so why the need now?Honor Flight flys veterans to visit their memorials in Washington D.C. free of charge so they can see them. Most of these vets from the greatest generation have never seen the memorials built in their honor for saving the world from Nazi Germany and global tyranny.Northwest Ohio Honor Flight President Lee Armstrong said, ”We will make the call this Friday to determine if the flight is still a go, or if we will have to re-schedule.”When he contacted the parks service, he was told that if the veterans tried to gain access to the memorial, they would face arrest. “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.’” said Armstrong.When he asked for the parks service members name, the quickly hung up the phone.__________TOLEDO – In and around the Glass City, affects of the government shutdown can be seen at our museums, monuments, and national parks. The gates are closed and locked, denying access completely to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.Transportation Safety Administration employees were still working at Toledo Express Airport on Monday, but when WNWO called the TSA to find out if they would be affected, there was a message that said the public relations representative did not have access to her voicemail or email due to the government shutdown.A letter from Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s (D-OH 9) office reads,”…only services deemed essential for the safety of human life and protection of property will be continued.”Yet, for a group of World War II veterans visiting the national memorial in Washington D.C., an all expense paid trip which is called an ”Honor Flight,” the shutdown was not stopping them from seeing the tribute that was inspired by them.“It just goes to show you why we won World War II,” says Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio President Lee Armstrong.Many elderly veterans, some in wheelchairs, broke through the barriers set up around the memorial, as police, park service employees, and tourists looked on. “The Germans and the Japanese couldn’t contain us. They weren’t going to let barriers contain them today. They wanted to see their memorial,” says Armstrong.Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio has a trip scheduled to depart from Toledo next Wednesday, October 9.“We will make the call this Friday to determine if the flight is still a go, or if we will have to re-schedule,” Armstrong explains.He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest. “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.’”When Armstrong asked for her name, he says she did not give it to him and then promptly hung up the phone.99% of veterans on Honor Flights have never had the opportunity to see the memorial that is devoted to their service.Through October, the are over 35,000 veterans scheduled to visit the site, more than 900 in the next five days alone.It may all be waiting in limbo if the government can’t complete their job.- See more at:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Comed ordered by court to hand out refund

Court orders ComEd to refund $37M in 6-year rate dispute
Crain's Chicago Business reports: ComEd has been ordered to refund $37 million to customers after a six-year dispute over the way a rate hike was calculated. The Illinois Appellate Court ruling from Sept. 27 action on Monday amounts to about $10 per delivery customer.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Obama shuts down our government

Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a protracted dispute over President Barack Obama's signature health care law reached a boiling point, forcing some 800,000 federal workers off the job.

Obama readied a midday statement to the nation as Democrats and Republicans maintained their blame-each-other duel on Capitol Hill.

Even as Obama prepared to meet with citizens signing up for his health care program and then make a lunch-hour speech in the Rose Garden, the White House cut back to a skeletal staff. The U.S. Capitol canceled tours not personally led by Congress members. "Closed" signs and barricades sprang up at the Lincoln Memorial, and national parks and federal workplaces across the country were following suit.

With the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate stalemated, it was unclear how long the shutdown -- and the loss of some government programs and services -- could last. The Senate early Tuesday rejected the House's call to form a negotiating committee to resolve the deadlock.

Moments after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., laid full blame on House Republicans, declaring, "The government is closed because of the irrationality of what's going on on the other side of the Capitol."

Obama communications director Jennifer Palmieri told MSNBC that the White House was open to changes in the health care law in future negotiations, but not as part of passing a budget bill. She compared that to negotiating with "a gun pointed to your head."

In the House, conservative Rep. Marsha Blackburn predicted the standoff would drag on if Obama and Senate Democrats refused to bargain.

"You may see a partial shutdown for several days," Blackburn, R-Tenn., told Fox News. "People are going to realize they can live with a lot less government."

The health care law itself was unaffected as enrollment opened Tuesday for millions of people shopping for medical insurance.

It was the first shutdown since a budget battle between Republicans in Congress and Democratic President Bill Clinton in the winter of 1995-1996.

Traffic was lighter and the subway less crowded in Washington Tuesday morning. The Smithsonian museums website displayed a red banner noting that "all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed." On the zoo's website, panda mom Mei Xiang could be seen snuggling with her weeks-old cub through the morning, until the feed was abruptly cut off around 8 a.m. Care of the animals will continue.

Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency were being nearly shuttered. People classified as essential government employees -- such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors -- will continue to work.

U.S. embassies and consulates will continue to issue visas and service passports because these activities are supported by fees not subject to congressional appropriations, according to State Department officials.

The White House was operating with a skeletal staff, including household workers taking care of the first family's residence and presidential aides working in the West Wing. A groundskeeper working outside Tuesday morning at daybreak said he was doing the job normally handled by four workers.

Given the shutdown, White House officials were discussing whether President Barack Obama should change plans for a trip to Asia scheduled to begin Saturday.

The military will be paid under legislation freshly signed by Obama, but paychecks for other federal workers will be withheld until the impasse is broken. Federal workers were told to report to their jobs for a half-day but to perform only shutdown tasks like changing email greetings and closing down agencies' Internet sites.

The self-funded Postal Service will continue to operate and the government will continue to pay Social Security benefits and Medicare and Medicaid fees to doctors on time.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers get to decide which of their staff members keep working and which are furloughed. Members of Congress will continue getting paid.

There were no "Closed" signs outside the Capitol or its adjacent visitor center early Tuesday warning tourists they would not be admitted for the usual tours. "That would be me," quipped one Capitol Police officer standing outside an entrance.

The Senate twice on Monday rejected House-passed bills that first sought to delay key portions of the 2010 "Obamacare" law, then to delay the law's requirement that millions of people buy medical insurance. The House passed the last version again early Tuesday naming negotiators for a Senate-House conference on the bill; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the same fate awaits that measure when the Senate reconvenes Tuesday morning.

"You don't get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you're supposed to be doing anyway, or just because there's a law there that you don't like," Obama said Monday, delivering a similar message in private phone calls later to Republican House Speaker John Boehner and other lawmakers.

Boehner said he didn't want a government shutdown, but added the health care law "is having a devastating impact. ... Something has to be done."

It wasn't clear how long the standoff would last, but it appeared that Obama and Reid had the upper hand.

"We can't win," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., adding that "sooner or later" the House would have to agree to Democrats' demands for a simple, straightforward funding bill reopening the government.

Another veteran Republican, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, called the shutdown "a big mistake." Interviewed on MSNBC, Cole called on House and Senate negotiations to end the impasse and insisted Democrats should yield on delaying the requirement that individual Americans have health coverage.

The order directing federal agencies to "execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations" was issued by White House Budget Director Sylvia Burwell shortly before midnight Monday.

Around the same time, Obama appeared in a video message assuring members of the military they'll be paid under a law he just signed and telling civilian Defense Department employees that "you and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we're seeing in Congress."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that Pentagon lawyers are trying to determine ways for some of the Defense Department's 400,000 furloughed civilians to continue working.

He bemoaned the standoff, telling reporters traveling with him in South Korea, "It does have an effect on our relationships around the world and it cuts straight to the obvious question: Can you rely on the United States as a reliable partner to fulfill its commitments to its allies?"

The underlying spending bill would fund the government through Nov. 15 if the Senate gets its way or until Dec. 15 if the House does.

Until now, such bills have been routinely passed with bipartisan support, ever since a pair of shutdowns 17 years ago engineered by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich severely damaged Republican election prospects and revived then-President Bill Clinton's political standing.

Boehner had sought to avoid the shutdown and engineer passage of a "clean" temporary spending bill for averting a government shutdown.

This time tea party activists mobilized by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, mounted a campaign to seize the must-do measure in an effort to derail Obamacare. GOP leaders voiced reservations and many Republican lawmakers predicted it wouldn't work. Some even labeled it "stupid."

But the success of Cruz and other tea party-endorsed conservatives who upset establishment GOP candidates in 2010 and 2012 primaries was a lesson learned for many Republican lawmakers going into next year's election.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tom Dart say Cook County jail is a Insain Asylum

Appearing on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday night, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart spoke of the peril of housing mentally ill inmates in jail.

In light of a slew of mass shootings carried out by people with mental illnesses, correspondent Steve Kroft interviewed Dart at the Cook County Jail.

Dart said the jail housed at least 2,500 inmates with mental illnesses. He also characterized prisons and jails as “the new insane asylums.”

To highlight “what happens when we take mentally ill people and we cram them into the criminal justice system, where they’re not supposed to be,” Dart shared videos recorded by his staff inside the prison showing mentally ill inmates behaving erratically.

“This is a population that people don’t care about and so as a result of that there are not the resources out there to care for them,” Dart said. “The irony is so deep that you have a society that finds it wrong to have people warehoused in state mental institutions but those very same people were OK if we warehouse them in a jail. You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Dart said leaving their needs to an ill-equipped incarceration system is a recipe for disaster.

“Some are getting treated, some are not getting treated. People are falling through the cracks all the time,” he said in the interview. “To think that won’t then boil up at some point and end up in a tragedy, that’s just naive.”

Kroft pointed out that most mentally ill inmates are released back on the street after stints at the jail “with a packet of pills and no plan.”

Monday, September 23, 2013

Obama Care to be REPEALED

Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania doesn’t want to shut down the government over Obamacare, but he does want to get rid of the landmark health care law.“I think our strategy should be systematically repeal the things we can, delay the things we can’t,” he said.Toomey called for Republicans to adopt a repeal-and-delay tactic against the bill. Earlier this month, Toomey co-sponsored two bills to delay elements of Obamacare.First up? The Senate should work to repeal the unpopular medical device tax, Toomey said on Monday’s Morning Joe,which his office says would cost the Pennsylvania economy $100 million.He danced around questions over where he stands on the recently passed House budget.“The budget is a document that lays out a sense of principals. You have to work from there,” Toomey said. “Whatever might be in the House Republican budget, doesn’t make the case that Obamacare somehow works.”Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, noted on ABC on Sunday that the House budget assumes Obamacare savings and revenue while stripping out funding for the law at the same time.Republicans “have to explain to the American people how they voted for a budget that includes all of the Medicare savings from Obamacare, that includes the same level of revenue generated from Obamacare and, in fact, would not even balance in 10 years, if not for the Affordable Care Act,” the Maryland Democrat said. “That’s misleading and that’s a hoax.”

Obama Care Goes into effect

People living in Illinois may start shopping for ObamaCare health insurance next week, but for many, there are still more questions than answers about what it's all about and how much it will cost.

Officials already know what insurance companies plan to charge, as well as other details of the Affordable Care Act. Critics suggest they're waiting until the last minute to reveal it because, for many consumers, it will be expensive bad news.

For now, the emphasis is on those who will clearly benefit.

"For an individual who's not been able to access health care before, I think it's going to be great news," says Tom Meier of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

Vice President Tom Meier helped assemble dozens of proposed ObamaCare health insurance policies that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois submitted to regulators. Five other health insurers did, too. Thanks to a series of delays in Washington, though, consumers in Illinois will apparently be among the last to learn what exactly those policies will cost.

Four levels of policies will be available, with Platinum the most expensive, followed by Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Unlike Illinois, Indiana is already posted pricing. Governor Mike Pence, a foe of ObamaCare, said the average cost would be $512 a month. But insurers are charging $294 a month for a low-end Bronze plan for a 47-year-old male non-smoker. Depending on their income, some will pay much less.

"A number of our both existing and future customers are going to have access to subsidies through the Affordable Care Act that they haven't had access to before," Meier explains.

A family of four earning less than $23,550 would be eligible for free coverage through Medicaid. Incomes of up to $94,200 a year would be eligible for a sliding scale of government assistance to pay for their health insurance.

Some may find it cheaper to pay an annual penalty than to buy ObamaCare insurance: next year $95 per adult or 1% of taxable income.

That penalty would be collected at tax time, by the Internal Revenue Service. Making it easier to ignore the requirement to buy health insurance: someone who gets a serious illness would be allowed to buy coverage after a relatively brief waiting period.


Individuals will have two-and-half months in which to compare plans and enroll in coverage that begins Jan. 1.
The entire enrollment period will last for six months, all the way through March. But to be covered on Jan. 1 of 2014, you need to enroll by Dec. 15.
Approximately 1,200 in-person assisters/navigators will be available around the state to help consumers who need it sort through the plans.
The Marketplace website, which will be ready for business on Oct. 1, will make it easy for consumers and small businesses to apply for and enroll in comprehensive health coverage, compare private health insurance plans and enroll in the plan that's best for them.
Subsidies will be available on a sliding scale for people who earn between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – that's from $15,860 to $45,960 for individuals and $32,500 to $94,200 for a family of four.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chicago Resident Speaks up on new gun laws

Dear Sarge:I wanted to start out with a thank you for allowing people to read and comment on you fb, and blog site it gives a nice feel to true free speech. Now the business part of this letter. I hold a Pennsylvania, Utah, Florida, and Texas permits. I can go into any restaurant in Indiana, or Wisconsin that serves food and liquor those establishments have bars and before you walk in there is a sign guns welcome but you will not be served any alcoholic beverages while carrying a firearm. I aslo noticed I can not carry on public transportation but I ride the Metra in to Indiana and once that train is across state lines I am strapping up. But I can not carry in Illinois sorry I disagree I will carry on Metra regardless. I also take the CTA were most of the crimes happen so I guess the city will lose the CTA revenue from gun owners because we can not carry which means the people who are not armed that ride will be stuck with higher prices. Places like Roseland, South Shore, South Chicago, Englewood, and the North part of the city where there is a high rise in crimes will not get the new revenue from people who would only visit if they carried. I don't have this problem in neighboring states. Thank you Sincerely, Conceal carry Chicago resident

Monday, September 9, 2013

NRA News: NRA fights Chicago again

The Chicago gun control ordinance rushed into place after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city’s handgun ban would be “gutted” to satisfy Illinois’ concealed carry law, under a rewrite advanced Monday that delighted the National Rifle Association.

Todd Vandermyde, the NRA’s legislative liaison, went so far as to call it a “great day for gun owners” in Chicago.

“Mayor Daley’s pinnacle handgun ordinance after the loss in the McDonald decision is now, for all intents and purposes, gutted,” Vandermyde said.

“The Chicago firearms permit requirements are gone. The registration of all firearms, for the first time in my lifetime, are gone. Those are some significant developments.”

Two months ago, the General Assembly satisfied a federal court deadline to make Illinois the last state in the nation to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons. The vote came after lawmakers defiantly overturned Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto.

On Monday, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee did its part by repealing the gun registry and firearms permit provisions of the 2010 ordinance.

Despite the rare praise, the NRA wasn’t totally satisfied with the rewrite.

Vandermyde noted that the Chicago ordinance still requires gun owners in homes that include residents under 18 to secure weapons “not on their person” with trigger locks or in safes. State law imposes that requirement if children under 14 are present.

“Do you think a 75-year-old woman should be forced to carry her .38 around on her hip in her home every minute she’s in her home because the grandkids are there?” Vandermyde said.

The Chicago ban on laser sights also remains in place. So is a ban on bullet-piercing armor that Vandermyde considers a “potential ban on hunting ammo.”

“So you’re against an ordinance that mandates, if you have a gun in your house, it ought to be secure….You oppose an ordinance that tries to increase safety in the homes in Chicago?” said Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), who sponsored the trigger-lock ordinance.

Vandermyde countered, “We don’t oppose safety measures by and large. But we see these as being impediments to the lawful use of self-defense. For 30 years, your city did not allow somebody to have a handgun in their own home for self-defense.”

Public Safety Committee Chairman Jim Balcer (11th) agreed with Burke, adding, “It’s common sense that you have a trigger lock on a weapon that’s in your house where you have minors. That minor can pick up that weapon, hurt themselves, hurt someone else.”

Afterward, Vandermyde reacted to the hostile questioning from Burke, chief sponsor of another pending ordinance requiring Chicago restaurants that serve liquor to ban firearms or lose their city licenses.

“He’s been a little unhappy about my comments to the press about the fact that he receives taxpayer-funded bodyguards. He doesn’t like the fact that we’re calling him out on it,” Vandermyde said.

“He thinks it’s fine to have bodyguards follow him around and carry in restaurants. But the average citizen should be treated like some second-class citizen because they don’t get taxpayer-funded bodyguards.”

Also on Monday, the Public Safety Committee approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to impose stiffer fines and penalties for gun crimes committed within 100 feet of CTA buses or bus shelters, CTA or Metra trains or train stations.

It’s a companion ordinance to the mayor’s plan to create school safety zones to reassure parents whose children are forced to travel longer distances to school after nearly 50 school closings.

“As a city, we have a responsibility to protect riders of buses and trains, especially the many students who rely on the CTA as a key mode of transportation, from the dangers of gun violence,” the mayor said in a statement issued after the committee vote.

“I am very pleased the Public Safety Committee has taken the next step in creating new Public Transportation Safety Zones.”

End of summer heats up South Chicago in gun crimes

A 23-year-old man died after being shot in the South Chicago neighborhood this morning.

Chicago Police said the man was shot in the head about 9:10 a.m. in the 8300 block of South Baltimore Avenue.

The man was taken to Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center where he was originally listed in critical condition but later died, according to Police News Affairs.

He was identified as Olawale Giwa, of the 7700 block of South Coles Avenue, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. He was pronounced dead at 10:14 a.m., according to the office.

At about 2 p.m., a 22-year-old woman was shot on the 7700 block of South Oglesby Avenue, police said.

The woman was shot in the left side of her body and was stabilized on the scene, police said. No other information was immediately available.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

White House targets gun loopholes, overseas purchases

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would close loopholes in the rules on acquiring machine guns and other dangerous weapons and ban U.S. military-style firearms sent overseas from returning to this country.
The announcement of the new executive actions came as Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office to the new head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the first Senate-confirmed director in the agency’s history. Biden pledged that the White House would not give up its efforts to set up more gun controls despite congressional inaction after the shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school late last year.
“The president and I remain committed to getting these things done,” Biden said at the White House ceremony installing B. Todd Jones as the ATF’s first permanent director in seven years. “If Congress doesn’t act, we’ll fight for a new Congress. It’s that simple. But we’re going to get this done.”
In the past, some individuals seeking to avoid personal background checks when purchasing machine guns and short-barreled shotguns have claimed they were “trusts or corporations.” But a new ATF regulation will close this loophole and require them to pass background checks. Last year, the ATF said, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these firearms to trusts and corporations to skirt the checks.
The other executive action was aimed at keeping U.S. military weapons sold to foreign governments from being reimported to this country. Since 2005, the U.S. government has authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 of these firearms. Under the new rule, only firearms reimported for museums and other exceptions would be allowed.
The executive actions drew quick criticism from gun rights organizations who said the requirements will not lower gun violence but instead only continue the president’s fight against legitimate gun enthusiasts. “Evidently he’s been elected king, and not president,” Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, said in an interview. “He’s made it fairly clear that he doesn’t like the 2nd Amendment.”
However, others welcomed the changes. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said 90% of the American public demands stronger background checks, and that “today the Obama administration locked one back door used to get around” those checks.

Against what the American people want Syria will be fired upon by American war ships and aircraft

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution on Wednesday authorizing limited U.S. military intervention in Syria, setting the stage for a contentious debate in the full Senate next week on the use of force.

The committee voted 10-7 in favor of a compromise resolution that sets a 60-day limit on any engagement in Syria, with a possible 30-day extension, and bars the use of U.S. troops on the ground for combat operations.

The compromise is more limited than President Barack Obama's original proposal but would meet his administration's goal of punishing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for what the United States says was the use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, killing more than 1,400 people.

The relatively close committee vote reflected the broad divisions on the authorization in Congress, where many lawmakers fear it could lead to a prolonged U.S. military involvement in Syria's civil war and spark an escalation of regional violence.

Five Republicans and two of Obama's fellow Democrats - Chris Murphy and Tom Udall - voted against the resolution. Democrat Ed Markey voted "present," saying in a statement that he is still undecided.

The full Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to vote on the resolution next week. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives also must approve it. Both votes are expected to be close, as scores of lawmakers in both parties have yet to stake out a public position other than to say they are looking for more answers.

Obama and administration officials have urged Congress to act quickly, saying U.S. national security and international credibility is at stake in the decision on whether to use force in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons.

"If we don't take a stand here today, I guarantee you, we are more likely to face far greater risks to our security and a far greater likelihood of conflict that demands our action in the future," Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

"Assad will read our silence, our unwillingness to act, as a signal that he can use his weapons with impunity," Kerry said.

Protesters held hands splattered with blood-red paint in the air behind Kerry as he spoke at a House hearing that underscored the skepticism among lawmakers in both parties about the authorization.

House members peppered Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, with questions about the duration, targets, potential response and level of international support for military action in Syria.

"Whether we ultimately support a resolution on the use of force or not, it will depend on how these concerns are addressed in the coming days by the administration," Republican Steve Chabot told the officials.


In the Senate committee, Murphy said he rejected the resolution because he was concerned a strike could make the situation worse in Syria and he feared the possibility of a prolonged U.S. commitment.

"I oppose it not because I don't gag every time that I look at those photos of young children who have been killed by Assad in his lethal attacks. It's simply because I have deep concerns about the limits of American power," Murphy said.

Senate leaders are unsure if Obama can win the 60 votes needed to overcome possible Republican procedural roadblocks. In the 435-member House, a senior Republican aide predicted most of the 50 or so Republicans backed by the conservative Tea Party movement and a number of Democratic liberals will join forces to vote no, leaving the outcome in doubt.

More closed-door briefings are planned for lawmakers in the House and Senate on Thursday as the administration continues to build the case for the use of military force.

The Senate committee vote came after the panel's leaders - Democratic Chairman Robert Menendez and senior Republican Bob Corker - crafted a compromise to meet concerns that Obama's proposed resolution was too open-ended.

Republican John McCain, a proponent of strong action in Syria, objected to the more narrow compromise. The committee adopted his amendments spelling out the policy goals of degrading Assad's ability to use chemical weapons and increasing the military capability of rebel forces.

Hispanic man stabbed in South Chicago Area

At about 7pm a 40 year old Hispanic male was stabbed in the 8900 block of S. Commercial.
The male lives in the neighborhood and was visiting friends when he was attacked. The male was taken to Cook County Hospital in stable condition. The incident is still under investigation and the offender is still at large.

Syria chemical weapons expected at G-20 summit in Russia

The meeting in Russia will pit two leaders with polar opposite views on Syria -- U.S. President Barack Obama, who wants to launch limited military strikes against the Syrian regime, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country stands by its longtime ally in the Middle East.
The views of the 18 other countries at the G-20 run the gamut -- but could be influenced by whatever happens in St. Petersburg.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that Brahimi was on his way to St. Petersburg, where the G20 developed and developing economies were gathering on Thursday for two days of talks.

"While the world is focused on concerns about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria we must push even harder for the International Conference on Syria to take place in Geneva," the statement said.

"A political solution is the only way to end the bloodshed in Syria," Ban was quoted as saying.

Russia and the United States announced in May they would try to bring Syrian government and opposition representatives together at an international conference, but no date has been set and there is no sign it could be held in the near future.

With host Russia opposing possible U.S.-led military strikes to punish President Bashar al-Assad for an alleged chemical weapons attack, talks on the Syria conflict may overshadow the G20 summit talks on the global economy.

Boy, 16, killed and boy, 15, wounded as they sat on porch

A 16-year-old boy was killed and a 15-year-old boy was wounded as they sat on the porch of a home in the Washington Park neighborhood on the South Side, police said.

A gunman rode up on a bicycle in the 5100 block of South Calumet Avenue around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday and opened fire, according to police.

Geanni Boyd was hit several times and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight Thursday, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. He lived in the 0-100 block of East 99th Street.

The 15-year-old was shot in the wrist and was treated on the scene, police said.

In another shooting Wednesday, Jeffrey Montgomery, 24 was killed in the 7500 block of South Union Avenue in the Gresham neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at 12:01 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center, about 30 minutes after he was shot.

Four other people were wounded in Chicago overnight:

• Around 9:45 p.m., a 36-year-old man standing on a sidewalk in the Jackson Park Highlands neighborhood was shot in the back by someone inside a silver four-door sedan, police said.

The shooting happened near 69th Street and Jeffery Boulevard. The man was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was stable, according to Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro.

• A 29-year-old man was shot in the hip in Englewood. The man driving an SUV south on Halsted Street when he was shot at 67th Street, police said. He stopped at 69th Street and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center. No one was in custody.

• Earlier, in the West Chatham neighborhood, a man was shot and two other people struck with shards of glass around 10:55 a.m. in the 8300 block of South Lafayette Avenue, according to Police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala.

One man was shot in the hip and shoulder and taken to Stroger Hospital, Zala said. The two people hit by flying glass were taken in good condition to Saint Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center, Zala said. No one was in custody for the Lafayette shooting, according to Zala.

• About 4:15 p.m., a 35-year-old man shot in the abdomen and bicep walked into Norwegian-American Hospital, said News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro. He told police he had been shot in the 3800 block of West Grand Avenue.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monkey Escapes zoo and shoots up Chicago aka Chiraq

At least 10 people were shot on the city's South and West sides Monday, including a 16-year-old boy and two men in their 20s fatally shot in separate shootings this afternoon.

The 16-year-old boy, whose name has not yet been released, was shot in the chest in the 10500 block of South LaSalle Street about 5:30 p.m., authorities said.

The boy was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition, according to the Chicago Fire Department's news office. He was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after, police and the Cook County medical examiner's office said.

A man in his 20s also suffered a graze wound in the attack, but he refused medical attention, Police News Affairs Officer Daniel O'Brien said.

Police did not immediately release details about the circumstances of the shooting, but authorities said a possible suspect holed up a building in the 300 block of West 106th Place. Police surrounded the building, and the person was in custody by about 7 p.m.

About 8 p.m. police found a 27-year-old man shot multiple times in the 5700 block of South Princeton Avenue.

The man was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital, police said. A representative for the Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed the office had been notified of the death.

Earlier in the afternoon, a 21-year-old man was shot in the head in the West Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side, authorities said. The man was declared dead on the scene at 2:27 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

According to the Chicago Fire Department's news office, the man was shot about 2 p.m. in the 6600 block of South Rhodes Avenue. He was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center for final pronouncement, officials said.

Chicago police detectives and beat officers used red and yellow tape to cordon off a two-flat style greystone in the middle of the block. Neighbors said the victim was shot outside the building and may have collapsed in a vacant lot adjacent to it.

Police placed several yellow evidence cards beside bullet casings that were in front of the building and the lot.

One neighbor said an ambulance sat at the crime scene for about 30 minutes before taking away the victim.

Meanwhile, a few families on the block could be seen barbecuing in their backyard evidently to celebrate the Labor Day holiday.

David Westin, 33, who lives across the street from the shooting scene, said he was inside his apartment building when he heard the gunshots. He then heard a female voice screaming that a friend of hers was just shot.

Chicago police haven't released much information on the shooting as of Monday afternoon, but much of the gunfire is sparked by gang rivalries that make the Woodlawn community among the most dangerous parts of the city.

Still, Westin hadn't seen much violence in his neighborhood since moving into his apartment in June. He said the police are usually out in full force.

The shooting has only reinforce his desire to move by next month, he said.

"I heard of gang activity around here, but it's the first time I've seen it up close," he said from his front porch, observing the detectives and beat officers walking around behind the yellow and red crime tape.

Darlene Sneed, 55, lives in the two-story building police cordoned off. She had just got home from her bartending job a few blocks away when she saw the red and yellow tape.

Sneed, how has lived in the building for about a year and half, burst into tears because doesn't know who the victim is. But she's afraid to find out.

"I don't know what friend it is of my great-niece. But I know it's got to be somebody I know because I can feel it in my heart that it's someone I know," a visibly distraught Sneed said at the crime scene, her right hand twitching at times. "I know a lot of these kids out here don't make no sense when things happen around here."

Sneed said shootings happen regularly on her block and its surrounding blocks. Sneed was told by a detective around 4 p.m. that it would be a few hours before she's allowed inside her apartment building.

"From 71st (Street) to 61st (Street). King Drive to Cottage Grove (Avenue), it's always nothing but all this gang-banging stuff," a visibly distraught Sneed said at the crime scene, her right had twitching at times. "It's crazy this world is really crazy."

Her friend Willie Crump, 55, who also lives on the block, consoled Sneed, placing her arm around her back. Crump said she heard five gunshots while sitting at a table on her unit. She said she's heard gunfire everyday in her neighborhood.

"If it's not here it's on Saint Lawrence (Avenue), Eberhart (Avenue), Rhodes, Cottage Grove, Evans (Avenue). It's just...It's disgusting," said Crump, shaking her head in frustration.

Kia McNeal was sitting on her front porch at the corner of Marquette Road and Rhodes Avenue --where a Chicago police POD camera is affixed to a light pole--when she heard a number of gunshots. At the same time, her 2-year-old daughter was about to walk down the front steps of her apartment building, McNeal said.

That prompted McNeal to usher her daughter quickly into her apartment.

"They can't even come outside and play," McNeal, 28, said of her daughter and other children who live on the block. "We're on the corner in the mix of this stuff."

In other shootings Monday:

A 16-year-old boy and and a 22-year-old man were shot about 10:25 p.m. in the 4800 block of South Winchester Avenue, authorities said. The boy was struck in the chest and taken to Stroger, and the man was taken to Sinai after being struck in the leg and face. Both were listed in serious condition.

About 10 p.m., a 17-year-old boy was shot in the wrist during a drive-by shooting the 7400 block of South Chappel Avenue. Someone fired shots from a dark-colored SUV, which fled westbound, police said. The boy was taken to Jackson Park Hospital, where he was listed in good condition.
About 2:30 p.m., a man was shot in the 6300 block of South King Drive and taken to Stroger in critical condition after having been shot twice, O'Brien said.
Earlier, a 19-year-old man was shot in the leg in the 4200 block of West 15th Street about 9:55 a.m., said News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli. The man told police he heard shots and felt he had been shot. The man's condition had been stabilized at Mount Sinai Hospital, Mirabelli said.
About 6:30 p.m., a 36-year-old man was shot in the 11700 block of South Marshfield Avenue, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Chief Joe Roccasalva. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in serious-to-critical condition.
Check back for updates.

Midlothian Police under Federal investigation

A top south suburban police officer has come under federal scrutiny, with a grand jury seeking information about misconduct allegations and the department's "use of force" manual, the Tribune has learned.

The investigation appears to center around Midlothian Sgt. Steven Zamiar, a 13-year veteran who helped oversee the suburb's force as deputy chief until a recent political shake-up. It remains unclear exactly what about Zamiar — or the small department — has drawn the attention of federal investigators.

Zamiar, 46, won't say. The suburb's recently appointed police chief, Harold Kaufman, would say only that "numerous" people from the department have been questioned in the inquiry.

The village has received two federal grand jury subpoenas this year. The first sought Zamiar's personnel file, specifically requesting records related to allegations of misconduct by the officer, among other documents.

The second subpoena arrived in late June seeking police logs and call records tied to three days in 2011, along with the department's policy manuals regarding "use of force by police officers."

On one of those days, Zamiar filed an incident report saying he used a baton to subdue a suspect after an early morning chase outside a bar — at a time department records show he was not clocked in. Charges against the suspect for assault and resisting an officer were later dropped, according to court records.

Zamiar confirmed the federal investigation but declined further comment.

"I don't really have anything to say about it," Zamiar said. "It's an investigation, that's all I know."

Zamiar remains on duty with the department. The village told the Tribune there was no record of any internal investigations of Zamiar in the last three years.

The suburb's former police chief, David Burke, told the Tribune he thought the investigation centered on a burglary of Zamiar's car in front of his Midlothian home.

Police records show that in 2010 Zamiar chased suspects from his house and called police. Police records show the two 19-year-old suspects were caught and charged with felony burglary. Court records show both pleaded guilty and received probation.

As for the 2011 case, it was early on Thanksgiving when Zamiar reported that he saw a crowd being pushed out of a local bar by security.

Zamiar's time sheets for that day don't show him clocked in, but Zamiar wrote in his incident report that he was working in the area and approached the scene at the bar.

After learning there was a fight, Zamiar said a witness pointed out the suspect. Then after a brief chase, Zamiar said the suspect "turned toward me in an aggressive manner."

"At this time I utilized my ASP Baton and the subject was taken into custody without further resistance," Zamiar wrote.

Zamiar said the suspect later complained of pain but signed a refusal for medical treatment.

The suspect's attorney declined to comment.

Zamiar has faced past allegations of abuse. He was accused in 2007 of giving a suspect a concussion while trying to arrest him. That case was settled.

Early in his career, Zamiar faced three other lawsuits alleging excessive force, all within his first year on the beat. The village denied the allegations in all cases and court records appear to show one was settled, while the other two were dropped.

Records related to the suits were received by the grand jury in response to the first subpoena.

A look at Zamiar's work history in the village also shows a number of recognitions. Among several citations for achievement are commendations for drug busts as well as his work when a knife-wielding assailant went on a rampage at a shopping center, leaving a 1-year-old dead.

Zamiar also has a record of attending numerous courses in recent years, including special training in the proper use of force. Records show he completed three such courses the same year that he said he used his baton in the 2011 incident.

Burke, who appointed Zamiar deputy chief in 2011, said Zamiar is a good cop.

"(Zamiar) doesn't know what's going on. They won't tell him either," Burke said. "He's losing sleep, and he's quite upset about it. He's never done anything wrong."

Friday, August 23, 2013

security officer shot in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio -A Wal-Mart security guard was hospitalized after being shot during a confrontation with a suspect.According to Columbus police, a man who was behaving suspiciously was spotted in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at 3900 Morse Rd. at about 1:30 a.m.Wal-Mart security guard Gerald Wheeler was driving a pick-up truck and confronted the suspect, who was later identified as 29-year-old Terrence Blake.PHOTO GALLERY: Images From ScenePolice said the two struggled and that Blake allegedly shot the security guard with a .25-caliber pistol.According to police, after the shooting, Blake entered the guard’s white Ford Ranger that had a flashing yellow beacon on the roof, and sped away.Officers spotted the truck and chased the vehicle about five miles to Vendome and Argyle roads just off Sunbury Road.Police said the suspect resisted arrest and a Taser was used to subdue him.According to Columbus police, a firearm was found on the suspect when he was arrested.Wheeler was transported to Grant Medical Center, where he is listed in stable condition.Blake was not injured in the confrontation or arrest. He was charged with aggravated robbery and transported to the Franklin County Jail.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dart actually is doing Sheriff duties by taking FOID cards and guns from Felons

CHICAGO (CBS) – A new team from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has launched an effort to seize guns from thousands of people whose state gun permits have been revoked.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports more than 3,000 people in Cook County have failed to surrender their revoked Firearm Owner’s Identification cards, but Sheriff Tom Dart said most people with revoked FOID cards don’t get rid of their guns ...

Read the whole story on CBS Local.