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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Obama Care to be REPEALED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.



MORE INFORMATION FROM THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE:

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.

'LIMITS OF AMERICAN POWER'

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 and...it 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."