Police: Thank the ‘Illinois criminal justice reform bill’ for massive shortages of cops in the crime-ridden state

CHICAGO, IL- The Epoch Times recently reported that ever since Illinois lawmakers passed a major criminal justice reform bill in January, give Illinois sheriffs have retired early and six sheriffs are in line to retire this summer. 

According to Illinois Sheriff Association (ISA) executive director Jim Kaitschuk in a typical year, only one or two sheriffs would leave the force before serving their full terms. He said:

“This is the most I’ve seen. They’re quitting as a direct result of the legislation.”

On top of the early retirements, over 20 Illinois sheriffs have decided not to seek re-election when their terms end. Kaitschuk said:

“It’s sad because these are individuals that have given their life to a profession that they obviously love and are passionate about and I hate to see them leave under the circumstances that they are.”

Reportedly, the recently enacted SAFE-T Act made sweeping changes to the Illinois criminal justice system, including abolishing cash bail in the next two years, creating a statewide certification program for police officers, mandating body cameras for all Illinois officers by 2025, and allowing anonymous complaints against police officers.

Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) praised the SAFE-T Act, stating that it will ensure “true safety, true fairness, and true justice.”

However, five major Illinois law enforcement organizations, including ISA, called it a “monster bill” that punishes police officers for doing their jobs and allows criminals to roam free.

For example, the SAFE-T Act makes it a felony for officers if they forget to turn on body-worn cameras while on duty, prohibits officers from reviewing body-camera videos before writing police reports, and has ambiguous language that appears to prohibit officers from aiming a taser at an offender’s back, which is a common practice recommended by many taser manufacturers.

In a letter that was released on January 13th, the Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition issued a statement regarding the SAFE-T Act. A follow-up bill has addressed some police concerns with the SAFE-T Act, but Kaitschuk said the original intent and direction remain unchanged.

He stated that he is also concerned about other police reform bills that are currently in the lawmakers’ pipeline, including one that seeks to abolish the qualified immunity of police officers. 

After the criminal justice reform bill was signed into law, many lawmakers and organizations across the state shared their reactions. State Sen. Steve McClure (R-Springfield) said in a statement:

“Last year, we saw one of the worst years for violent crime in our state’s history. The General Assembly’s response was to pass a bill at 4:30 in the morning to make our crime problem worse.

I stand with the bipartisan group of legislators, state’s attorneys, law enforcement officials, and victims who oppose this bill. It is especially troubling that the Governor signed the bill in Chicago because it is the poster child for what can go wrong with poorly-designed criminal justice reforms.”

He added:

“We are already seeing a significant rise in shootings in Chicago this year compared to the same time last year. Instead of learning from Cook County’s mistakes, the Governor is mandating that many of these same failed policies be implemented statewide.

After another deadly weekend, it is time for the Governor to start fighting crime, instead of encouraging it.”

State Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) said in a statement:

“This measure becoming law will increase crime and make Illinoisans less safe. Governor Pritzker is prioritizing making life easier for criminals and making life more difficult for law enforcement.

As lawmakers, we need to make every effort to support our law enforcement officers and increase public safety efforts.”

Bourne added:

“Governor Pritzker has turned his back on law enforcement today, penalizing all of the good law enforcement who keep us safe every day. I voted no and a bipartisan group of legislators voted against this terrible bill. This measure is out of step with what a majority of Illinoisans believe.

Today, with this bill no becoming state law, their concerns are still valid: these sweeping changes to our criminal justice system will do more harm than good.”

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Chicago: Nearly 100 accused murderers awaiting trial released on electronic monitoring instead of being held in jail

May 26th, 2021

COOK COUNTY, IL- According to reports, nearly 100 accused murderers in Cook County, Illinois are now out on the streets instead of in jail behind bars as they await their trials for murder.

A total of 94 defendants are currently out of confinement on ankle monitors compared to only 31 who were in the same situation just four years ago.

All 94 defendants have been charged for taking another person’s life and all 94 defendants are walking the streets of Chicago during a time when violent crime continues to surge.

Reportedly, in addition to the suspected murderers, 261 individuals who have been convicted of two or more felonies are also out of jail with ankle monitors, compared to 15 in 2017. Data also shows that 534 people that have been charged as felons in possession of a weapon are wearing ankle monitors, while only 89 were in the same situation four years ago.

An additional 569 individuals that have been accused of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon are also not in jail, but instead are on ankle monitors. In 2017, that number was only 182. Reportedly, 33 people charged with vehicular hijacking and 53 accused of domestic battery are out on the streets wearing ankle monitors. 

These spikes in violent individuals being on ankle monitors instead of behind bars in jail has alarmed local law enforcement as the city continues to be plagued with rampant, violent shooting sprees.

According to the statistics from the Chicago Police Department (CPD), so far in 2021, Chicago has seen a 22 percent uptick in murder, a 12 percent spike in sexual assault, and a 15 percent increase in car thefts.  Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said in a statement:

“There’s a population on home monitoring that was never meant to be on it, including 92 or 93 who are charged with murder. I’ve been pleading with judges. These are violent people who are a danger to the community. We can’t keep doing this.”

With local judges deciding who to confine or release, many who are proponents of criminal justice reform are advocating for the “least restrictive pretrial conditions.” Chief Judge Timothy Evans is one of those judges. He stated:

“Even after a person is accused of a crime, in the U.S. legal system, under our Constitution, every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. While a case is pending, under the law, judges must impose the least restrictive pretrial conditions possible that ensure the defendant’s return to court and protect public safety.”

He added:

“Jail is the most restrictive condition, depriving the accused of liberty, as well as access to jobs, education, family, and the ability to aid in their defense.”

The Chicago Tribune’s editorial board lashed out against the ankle monitoring and berated city officials for attempting to keep track of nearly 3,600 defendants, many of which are violent individuals. It wrote:

“We know electronic monitoring has become an overburdened system that was not designed for individuals charged with violent offenses. Dart’s office is trying to keep track of some 3,600 defendants, up considerable from just a year ago.”

It added:

“It defies logic to say they pose no real risk to the public and should be allowed to return to their communities in such large numbers with little supervision.”

WGN9 News reported that at least 55 people were shot, 11 fatally, over the weekend of May 21st-May 24rd, marking the city’s deadliest weekend of 2021. The shootings happened between 5 p.m. on Friday, May 21st and Monday, May 24th at 3 a.m. 

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown stated that law enforcement cannot stop this violence alone. He added:

“Who will join Chicago police officers in protecting the rights of the victims and families?”

When asked about the escalating gun violence, Brown pointed to the sharp rise in violent offenders being put back on the streets with Electronic Monitoring rather than remaining behind bars. He added that those decisions come from Cook County judges.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office replied said in a statement that read, in part:

“Electronic Monitoring was designed to ensure that individuals facing low-level, non-violent crimes appear in court. It was not designed for violent offenders.”

Brown said:

“It’s the judges who have made the decision of violent offenders being OK being back in the community.”

Over the weekend, a man already out on bail was arrested on an illegal gun possession charge. The man, since identified as Cedric Robinson, was charged with shooting a 3-year-old girl in West Englewood during summer 2020. Brown added:

“Shootings are done by firearms, so many, too many illegal guns in the wrong hands.”

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‘I tried to run’: Little boy, 8, shot in Chicago while play outside on the front lawn

May 19th, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – A shooting that transpired in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago’s West side on the evening of May 13th resulted in an 8-year-old boy being shot in the knee. Still in the hospital, the young boy recently spoke with a local news crew about the harrowing experience.

The incident took place at approximately 6:00 p/m/ along the 4300 block of W 18th Street on the evening of May 13th.

Witnesses nearby the shooting incident claimed to have heard as much as 45 rounds go off. Reportedly, investigators recovered at least 30 shell casings from the scene while investigating.

The young boy, identified as Romio, was struck in his right knee during the shooting. Witnesses also claimed that they were other children playing nearby when the shooting occurred.

Investigators believe that the child was not the target of the shooting.

One local, Andrew Holmes, rhetorically posed who is going to have the courage to come forward and name the shooter responsible for injuring the child:

“Who is going to identify the shooter? Who is going to tell on the shooters? Look at the numbers and the ages of the children that have been shot. Seven, eight, nine, 10, 11.”

Authorities have yet to identify and arrest a suspect in this case.

Speaking from his hospital bed, with his father alongside him, Romio recounted the moment he heard the gunfire:

“Somebody was coming through, and I heard gunshots. I knew it was gunshots, so I tried to run.”

“I was just standing outside. It was pretty hot, and it was mostly kids out there.”

Unfortunately, the young child was struck. Locals nearby had collected the child and rushed him over to Mt. Sinai Hospital after the incident. Romio has since undergone surgery on his knee for the gunshot wound.

Romio’s father, Mikey, questions why these sorts of shooters don’t even meet the incredibly low threshold of telling children to leave if they’re genuinely intent upon committing such a wanton act of violence:

“If you see kids standing outside, and you know it’s a ‘war zone’ outside, tell the kids to move and go in the house.”

Mikey has been beside his child ever since the shooting, noting that Romio is “very traumatized by the situation,” but also stated that Romio is “a very smart kid, and he’s a very strong kid.”

The child’s father believes that whoever is responsible for shooting his son must “feel pretty guilty,” and described the heartache associated with seeing his child in pain:

“It’s just a terrible feeling to watch your son suffer and cry all night.”

Despite the circumstances and his injury, Romio is optimistic and looking forward to when he can leave the hospital:

“I’m OK, and when I make it out of here I will try to see everyone if I can.”

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In Minneapolis, authorities are investigating a similar incident where a young girl was shot in the head while playing outside earlier in May. 

We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on that investigation. 

Here’s that report. 

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A 9-year-old girl is currently in critical condition after being reportedly shot in the head while she was jumping on a trampoline during the evening of May 15th.

The shooting of the young girl was one of many violent incidents that occurred over the weekend in Minneapolis.

A crowd of several dozen people had gathered outside of the North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale to pray for the recovery of 9-year-old Trinity Smith who was shot while playing with some friends during the evening of May 15th.

Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder noted that the young girl was still listed as being in critical condition as of the evening of May 16th.

Authorities say that the incident happened at approximately 8:30 p.m. on the evening of May 15th, with the shooter driving a red four-door Ford that had opened fire at a residence while driving down the 2200 block of Ilona Avenue North.

Trinity’s father, Raishawn Smith, believes his daughter had somehow got “caught in the crossfire” of some other incident:

“She didn’t deserve it. She was doing what innocent kids do. She was caught in the crossfire of senseless violence.”

Just two weeks earlier, 10-year-old Ladavionne Garrett Jr. was shot while inside of a vehicle, which the young boy is still in critical condition at the same hospital where Trinity is being cared for. The parents of Ladavionne stood outside with Smith during the prayer circle that had formed outside of the hospital on May 16th.

Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham took to Twitter following the shooting of the young girl to criticize Mayor Jacob Frey for not doing enough to address the gun violence impacting the northern end of the city.

A statement from the mayor’s office noted that Mayor Frey is currently meeting with community leaders in north Minneapolis about issues impacting the area, while offering prayers for the family of the young girl critically injured over the weekend:

“Mayor Frey’s heart is with the family as they pray for their daughter’s recovery.”

The war of words between Mayor Frey and Cunningham regarding the issue on how to address gun violence in Minneapolis has been an ongoing feud, which we at Law Enforcement Today have covered previously.

The shooting incident that injured Trinity was just one of many violent incidents that transpired in Minneapolis during the weekend of May 15th and 16th.

According to MPD spokesman Elder, two groups of Minneapolis Police officers were attacked the over the weekend after responding to various calls for service.

In one incident, officers were called to the scene of a reported group of drivers that were allegedly racing an engaging in “exhibition driving” near Hennepin and Lagoon Avenues at approximately 1:00 a.m. on May 16th.

Officers had reportedly instructed the crowd to disperse, which resulted in some people embedded within the crowd throwing various objects at the officers. Reportedly, two officers were taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries following the incident.

Roughly one hour after that incident, a fight had broken out at a downtown bar that was closing where at least one individual was reported as being stabbed during the brawl.

When officers responded to the bar, they had located at least two people that had suffered “substantial head wounds,” and reportedly some of the people inside of the bar had physically fought with the responding officers.

One officer was reportedly struck with a large stick while other officers were sprayed with a chemical irritant.

MPD spokesman Elder stated that at least five people wound up being arrested or cited in connection to the bar room brawl. The civilians with reported head injuries and one officer were transported to an area hospital for treatment.

According to Elder, incidents involving civilians attacking police officers are becoming more common within the city:

“We are seeing more and more people that are being confrontational with law enforcement. The fact of the matter is it’s unlawful and it’s criminal behavior and people will be arrested as the opportunity arises.”

Also, during the morning of May 16th, three people were reportedly shot while standing in front of a business located within the 1700 block of East Lake Street. The victims were described as two males and one female that were taken to an area hospital for noncritical injuries.

Hours after the reported shooting incident, authorities located a male subject that was reportedly covered in blood nearby Girard and Lowry Avenues North. Officials say that he was transported to an area hospital, having suffered non-life threatening injuries from a reported gunshot wound.

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Author: Jenna Curren


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