Chicago admits police code of silence on corruption
In an about-face, City Hall lawyers acknowledged in federal court Friday that a code of silence exists within the Chicago Police Department.
The major statement comes as city attorneys tried to prevent Mayor Rahm Emanuel from having to testify at trial involving two Chicago cops who say the department retaliated against them after they turned in a crooked police sergeant to the FBI.
But the statement didn't go far enough for U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman, who's overseeing the case, and the mayor may still have to take the stand when the case goes to trial on May 31.
City attorneys argued the statement was a "full-throated" acknowledgment that the code of silence exists within the CPD.
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Chicago police arrest almost 100 gang members over 2 days
Chicago police say they have arrested nearly 100 alleged street gang members and 40 others on weapons and drug trafficking charges in an effort to combat the city's gun violence.
Officials announced the arrests Friday, saying they took place over the past two days with help from federal law enforcement.
Authorities say 117 of those arrested are on the Chicago Police Department's "Strategic Subject List," which points to those who have a propensity to perpetrate or be a victim of gun violence. Gang affiliations, arrests and previous contact with police are the risk factors taken into account in placing someone on the list.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says more than $45,000 worth of narcotics, including heroin and cocaine, was recovered, along with 26 illegal guns.
Chicago Police chief Eddie Johnson faces an impossible mission
|Eddie Johnson is congratulated by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel|
On the same day that Eddie Johnson became Chicago's permanent new police chief, the media was filled with stories about protests from relatives of a 16-year-old boy who they contended was needlessly shot and killed by police.
CPD CHIEF EDDIE JOHNSON
Police said he had a gun and had run away. Second City Cop, a rough-worded blog that reflects the views of many police officers, put up pictures of the teen it said came from Facebook, showing him posing with guns and displaying what appears to be a gang tattoo around his neck.
Meanwhile, a mayoral task force issued a blistering report accusing Chicago police of decades of blatant institutional racism. And within hours of the report, a man was wounded in Englewood in a drive-by shooting, a 14-year-old from North Lawndale was hospitalized after being shot, and shootings were reported in Chicago Lawn and Chatham.
At least no one was killed. Sigh.
So it goes in Chi-raq. Our new police superintendent is on the beefy side. But he's going to have to have all the skills of one of those teeny little Romanian gymnasts to stay on the wobbly balance beam on which Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council have put him.
What's required is nothing short of perfect balance. He needs to offer just enough reassurance to Chicago's African-Americans that he has heard the message so they'll start to trust police. At the same time, he needs to show the men and women on the force who risk their lives every day that he has their backs.
Tilt too far one way, and the gangbangers will conclude that anything goes. Tilt too far the other, and cops again will feel alone on the mean streets. At either extreme, Chicago's already high murder rate will only get higher.
My impression is that much of this already has sunk in.
African-American and Latino aldermen—and a lot of white folks, too—surely nodded in agreement when the mayor's task force concluded that the shooting of Laquan McDonald represented a tipping point. But they're also acutely aware of the high price of mayhem in the streets, because their constituents tell them every day.
“It's a thin line,” concedes Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, who along with Ald. Rick Munoz, 22nd, and others introduced legislation to create an independent panel to monitor any police misconduct, handing it over to a new unit within the city inspector general's office.
“I look at what our beat officers do—they do a pretty good job,” Waguespack says. “But there's a small group of bad apples. That's why we need this new system.” Still, he says, worries about crime and what's not being done about it are rising in his North Side ward.
Waguespack is right about the need for a new group. The old Independent Police Review Authority, the agency that far too often just nodded and then did nothing when reports of police abuse came to its attention, has failed. So, at least for the moment, has the old notion of trusting the mayor to fix things.
Every mayor, of course, is worried about himself first. The current one has a particularly bad case of that. Part of finding balance will be having an agency that can be trusted to do its job and let the political and public relations chips fall where they may.
But another part of that balance has to be owning up to the flaws in one's own community. If white Chicago has been too focused on itself and its needs, minority Chicago has been too focused on instinctively defending conduct that is intolerable.
That leaves you, Superintendent Johnson. You're the guy who's going to have to figure out how to fully engage the neighborhoods at every level without either stroking or alienating the line officers you'll need to do their jobs.
Johnson will have to be a near miracle worker. I don't know if he is. What I do know is that he'll need help—a lot of it. I hope he gets it from all of us.
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Massage therapist accused of secretly recording client undressingThe I-Team is investigating a massage therapist accused of secretly videotaping a pregnant client.
A Chicago woman said she was appalled after finding a hidden camera recording her as she began to undress for her massage. That woman told the I-Team she is concerned the massage therapist may have used the hidden camera on other clients.
Myron Osborne as hid from the I-Team after his court appearance Monday. The 32-year-old is charged with illegally videotaping Natalie Martinez at a West Loop Massage Envy on January 22. He has pleaded not guilty.
"I had just found out I was expecting, actually the night before, so the appointment was already made," Martinez said.
Martinez said she told the receptionist she was newly pregnant and was still hoping to get a massage.
"They explained the individual or therapist I was scheduled with was a prenatal specialist so everything would be fine," Martinez said.
But Martinez said everything wasn't fine.
"So, he leaves the room and I start to get undressed and out of the corner of my eye I see a little silver metal piece. So I went to investigate it and behind some pillows I found a cell phone. So I picked up the phone, I do see it's time stamped, the time is rolling, there is a red button, so I pressed stop," Martinez said.
Martinez said she put the phone in her bag, got dressed, left the room and asked for a manager. She said she was told there was no manager onsite but the "team leader" could help her.
"She turns to the therapist and said she would like to see him in the office. At this point the camera is still in her hand...and I was left there by myself. I called police," Martinez said.
After police questioned Osborne, officers told Martinez there was no footage on the phone. Martinez says she believes Osborne or his co-worker deleted it.
"Unfortunately, they told me because there was no real evidence, there wasn't much they could do, they couldn't arrest him that day," Martinez said.
Chicago police detectives told the I-Team they investigated further and in early March, Osborne was arrested and charged with a felony.
Bob Milan is the former first assistant state's attorney for Cook County. He says investigators have several techniques to recover evidence.
"They can go back and find a timeline, actually find out was the phone in use at the time this was being taped. If it was streamlined out, they can trace the streamlined video tape to wherever it was sent, or whatever apps were being used at that time," Milan said.
According to state records, the owners of the West Loop Massage Envy also run several franchises in the suburbs, including one in Naperville where a woman said she was inappropriately touched by her massage therapist. The therapist in that case pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to court supervision.
Massage Envy turned down the I-Team's request for an on-camera interview but said it has a "zero tolerance policy" that includes a "no mobile device policy in our treatment rooms." The company says Osborne is no longer employed there.
"I wouldn't be surprised if when the police analyze that phone they find other videotapes of other women," Milan said.
Martinez said she is disappointed with how Massage Envy treated her.
"I expect that it would be handled properly. Clearly it wasn't handled properly," Martinez said.
Massage Envy said it cancelled Martinez's membership and refunded all of her dues after the date of the incident. Martinez said she hasn't received something else she wanted: an apology. Osborne will be back in court late next month.
Woman fatally shot outside Starbucks in Bronzeville
Yvonne Nelson, 49, was a city employee who worked as a 311 operator in the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).
In a statement, OEMC said: "Yvonne Nelson was a dedicated and hardworking employee of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, where she served as a communications operator in the 311 City Services division since 2002. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. She will be deeply missed by her fellow staff at 311."
A man in his 20s, who was also shot multiple times, was the intended targeted - not Nelson, Johnson said. He was hospitalized in critical condition Friday evening. He is a documented gang member, Johnson said.
Police were searching Friday for the male shooter. They were seen searching nearby homes.
The incident happened at about 4 p.m. at 35th and South State streets, across from the Illinois Tech campus and down the street from U.S. Cellular Field.
Nelson, who lived in Bronzeville, was shot in the street after buying coffee. She was headed home after work.
She was not with the male shooting victim, police said.
"I just remember her kind of hanging out just waiting to get her drink," said Joshua Lott, who saw the victim in Starbucks before she was shot. "One minute she's there, and the next minute she's not. She's not even alive."
The shooting occurred just two blocks from the CPD headquarters, less than an hour after police held a press conference boasting about the arrest of nearly 140 people in connection to drug and guns offenses.
Witnesses told the 911 dispatcher that they heard six to eight shots.
"This incident right here highlights what I've been saying for the last month and a half about how brazen these violent offenders are," Supt. Johnson said.
Nelson's sister attends New Life Covenant Church on the South Side, where the pastor said the death is devastating for the family.
"This is a hard hit, it will be a void in this family and we ask everyone to remember them in their prayers," said Pastor John Hannah.
On Saturday, Pastor Hannah is organizing the sixth annual "Prayer on the 9," a public event which aims to protest the gun violence. The group will gather at 10 a.m. at East 79th and South Greenwood for prayer and song. Then, the group will lay in the street to form a two-mile line along 79th that will stretch to the Dan Ryan Expressway. Participants are asked to wear red and bring a photo of a loved one who has died of gun violence.