On Wednesday (25 NOV 15) members of the Cook County State's Attorney office took it upon themselves to release an individual who was charged with Felony Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer. The arrest and subsequent felony resulted when this offender struck a uniformed Chicago Police Officer during an anti-Police demonstration that occurred the prior evening.
There has been much speculation, rumor and innuendo bantered about, and in order to address our Members' concerns, we wanted to take a moment to address this very serious issue. Since Wednesday, the Lodge has been in contact with the victim-Officer, the Superintendent, and even the #2 person from the office of the Cook County State's Attorney.
Shortly after this improper decision by the ASA's office took place, this travesty made its way to Washington Boulevard. The Lodge immediately made attempts to get answers as to how and why this offender could have possibly been released. Furthermore, how was he released from BOND COURT?
The following is a brief and hopefully clarifying explanation of what the Lodge found out.
First off, and after speaking with the Officer involved, we learned that he was never notified for his input as to the seriousness of his injuries, nor was he asked whether or not he wanted to proceed with (or drop) the criminal case. Upon learning of the charges being dropped the injured Officer was shocked to say the least and repeatedly asked how this could have happened.
We then spoke with the #2 person in the ASA's office who related that it was his office's opinion that the injured Officer, the Superintendent and the Lodge were all on board with the release. It was further relayed that everyone had communicated to each other that the offender was planning on making an apology to the injured Officer. He also stated that he was informed the Officer’s injuries were not significant. When we asked if he had verified ANY of these statements, we were told "No". When then asked why the ASA would release a person who had felony charges for such a serious incident, especially during a time when the last thing anyone wants is demonstrators to think they could get away with striking uniformed Police Officers, we were told "things were moving at light speed". When we mentioned that dropping charges in bond court have never before occurred and that it was an unprecedented decision by the State's Attorney, we were told "everything that is going on now is unprecedented." We then asked what impact any unprecedented incident occurring on the streets of Chicago has to do with the legalities of the Court. Once again we received a reference having something to do with light speed.
Superintendent McCarthy was our next call. He related that there were attempts to have the offender apologize to the Officer, but they might meet sometime after the bond hearing played out. Once we told the Superintendent that the offender was released, he stated that any plans for an apology were in no way ever connected to/or part of an attempt to influence the Officer to not proceed with criminal charges. To be perfectly clear with our Members, the Lodge is extremely confident that Superintendent McCarthy was genuinely surprised and quite disappointed after we informed him of the offender's release.
So there you have it, in a proverbial nut shell. We believe that the takeaways from this Blast are five-fold.
1.) The Officer was never contacted about, nor did he agree to drop the charges.
2.) The Superintendent was never on-board with releasing the offender.
3.) The Lodge has been working with and assisting the Officer on re-instating the charges.
4.) The ASA's office needs to be TRUTHFUL with answers on what REALLY happened.
5.) The State's Attorney's office has difficulty functioning at light speed.