Saturday, February 16, 2019

Rogers Park: Woman struck by car, vehicle sought

Images of the vehicle police are seeking in a hit and run collision. | CPD
Chicago cops are hoping the public will be able to help them track down a driver who struck and seriously injured a woman in Rogers Park on Thursday.

Images released Saturday evening show a red or maroon 2013-2017 Nissan Altima that struck the 59-year-old woman as she crossed the 2200 block of West Devon Avenue around 5:30 p.m., according to police. The vehicle, which has a Lyft light on its dashboard and a decal or sticker on the rear passenger’s side window, was last seen heading east on Devon, investigators said.

Police expect the vehicle to have damage on the passenger’s side mirror.

If you have any information about the incident, the Major Accident Investigation Unit may be contacted at 312-745-4521. Refer to case #JC-152626.
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2 OUT, SMOLLETT AT THE PLATE: Lakeview brothers released by cops and feds as all eyes turn to Jussie

Jussie Smollett | Good Morning America
Chicago police late Friday released two Lakeview men who had been questioned for two days as “potential persons of interest” and, later, “potential suspects” in the alleged hate crime attack of Empire TV star Jussie Smollett early on Jan. 29 in Streeterville.

“Due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations” Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo and his brother Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo were released, said Anthony Guglielmi, the top spokesperson for Chicago police. “Detectives have additional investigative work to complete.”

The Osundairos are no longer considered suspects by investigators, whose full attention is now focused squarely on Smollett, according to well-established sources.

CWBChicago has learned that federal investigators sat in as Chicago police interrogated the Osundairo brothers for two days after the men were taken into custody at O’Hare airport on Wednesday evening. The Osundairos flew into the airport minutes earlier, returning from a trip to Nigeria that began hours after Smollett reported being attacked.

Abel (L) and Ola Osundairo | TMZ
The brothers, who have a relationship with Smollett and served as extras on his TV show, saw their status with police evolve from “potential persons of interest” to “potential suspects” to being “unable to leave” custody because investigators had “probable cause that they were involved in a crime” to being set free in the course of 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Smollett has lawyered up big time.

High-priced defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Michael Monico told WGN radio host Roe Conn on Friday that he was representing Smollett “at the moment.”

Federal investigators have been looking into the origins of a hate letter that was mailed to Smollett from the southwest suburbs about a week before he reported being attacked. The mailing, which contained a white powder that reportedly turned out to be Tylenol, mentioned Smollett by name and included anti-black and anti-gay slurs as well as a stick figure bound in a noose. Its return address was “MAGA,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s 2016 “Make America Great Again” slogan. Many elements of the letter were reflected in the details of the attack that Smollett gave to police.

Michael Monico | Monico & Spevack
The actor has been outspoken about his displeasure with Trump, most recently telling Good Morning America that he believed that his opposition to Trump may have been a motivating factor for his purported attackers.

“I come really, really hard against 45,” he said. “I come really, really hard against his administration and I don’t hold my tongue.”

But, in a case of misery making strange bedfellows, Smollett’s new attorney, Monico, also represents Michael Cohen, the former long-time personal attorney for the president.

Standing outside Area Central Police Headquarters Friday night, the Osundairo brothers’ lawyer dropped hints that the road ahead may be rough for Smollett.

“My guys are walking home. They are not charged,” Gloria Schmidt said before indicating that the Osundairos had information about the Smollett case that was shared with police after some “coordination.”

And, she pointed out, “I’m not part of Jussie’s defense.”

Suspect sought in Addison Red Line attack

Surveillance images of the Red Line attack suspect. | CTA
Surveillance images of a man wanted for attacking a pregnant woman onboard a CTA Red Line train near the Addison station this week were released by Chicago cops late Friday night.

Police said the 25-year-old victim was sitting on a northbound train at 11:06 p.m. Wednesday when the man seen above approached her and started swearing at her. He then walked up to the woman and struck her repeatedly in the head and body, according to the alert.

The man exited the train at Addison, then stepped back on and continued the assault before he again exited and fled the station, police said.

Investigators described the man as being 30-40 years old, black, 5’9” to 5’10” tall, and 150-180 pounds. He was wearing a  gray wool hat with a brown winter coat, and he carried a green bag.

Anyone with information about the incident may contact Area North detectives at 312-744-8261 regarding case JC-151601.
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Friday, February 15, 2019

Smollett Case Update: Two brothers will face more questions from cops today; Connections to star emerge

Abimbola "Abel" Osundairo (left) and his brother Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo. | YouTube
Two brothers, Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo and Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo, have been identified as the men taken into custody by Chicago police for questioning as “potential persons of interest” in last month's purported hate crime attack of Empire TV start Jussie Smollett.

The Osundairos spent the night in police custody and are expected to undergo questioning again today, but neither has been charged with any crime in connection with the Smollett case. Police need to either charge or release the brothers before 5:45 p.m. tonight—that's when the Osundairos will have been in custody for 48 hours, the typical cut-off point for police to hold a person without charging in the United States.

Smollett follows the brothers on social media and the Osundairos’ attorney told CBSChicago yesterday that the men sometimes work out at a gym with Smollett. Abel Osundairo is an aspiring bodybuilder who used the Smollett song "Ha Ha (I Love You)" as the music track on a posing video last month.

The brothers were taken into custody after they landed at O’Hare airport on a return trip from Nigeria Wednesday. They flew to the West African country just hours after Smollett reported being attacked. Two days later, Abel posted an Instagram video in which he handed out cash from the rear seat of a car to a boy on crutches. The post was geo-tagged in Ogun, Nigeria.

Both of the Osundairos attended Lakeview High School and played football at Quincy University in downstate Quincy, IL. The brothers have worked as extras on Empire, and Ola even had an opportunity to pose with the show’s creator, Lee Daniels.

Empire creator Lee Daniels (center) and Ola Osundairo (right) in a photo posted to Twitter in 2015.
In a November Facebook post tagged from the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios where Empire films, Ola Osundairo wrote
SMH. They always got the Nigerians πŸ‡³πŸ‡¬ portrayed as criminals on t.v. We gotta do better and say no to the money and fame ✊πŸΏπŸ˜‚”

Earlier coverage


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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Despite lip service, ZERO violent juveniles had their cases transferred to adult court last year, county records show

Despite a second consecutive year of rampant carjackings and nearly 600 homicides in Chicago last year, the Cook County State’s Attorney did not attempt to get any violent juvenile offenders tried in adult court during 2018, according to records secured by CWBChicago via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The city has been fighting widespread carjackings for more than two years, and Chicago police have identified unpunished juveniles who re-offend as being a driving force behind vehicular hijackings and street robberies.

Politicians and prosecutors are quick to point out that juveniles could be referred to adult courts for some violent felonies. But county records show that threat is rarely, if ever, realized.

The State’s Attorney’s records show that the office sought to move 15 juvenile cases to adult court in 2017. Only one case was approved. Prosecutors withdrew four of the requests, nine were denied, and one remains pending, according to the records.

In 2016, prosecutors tried to transfer eight juvenile cases to adult court. One was granted, two were denied, and five continue to be listed as “pending” in official records.

All three of then-State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s requests to transfer were denied in 2015. In 2014, two requests were made. One was turned down, the other was withdrawn by prosecutors.

Back again

One example of a rebounding juvenile: In June 2017, a 12-year-old and two 17-year-olds were charged with felony attempted first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and unlawful use of a weapon after they allegedly opened fire on Chicago police officers who were trying to pull them over because they were driving a car that had been taken in a carjacking.

Sound serious, right? Hardly.

The 12-year-old (who is now 14) and one of the 17-year-olds (who’s now 19) were arrested on Jan. 17th after Chicago police saw them riding in a vehicle that had allegedly been taken in a carjacking. They both had guns, police said.

The nineteen-year-old, Antjuan  Davis, was allegedly driving the car when police curbed it last month in suburban Bellwood. He bailed out of the car, threw a gun under the vehicle, and ran, according to court records. Police caught him nearby. He is charged with felony receiving-possessing a stolen motor vehicle; felony fleeing police, felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a person under age 21; and multiple traffic violations. Judge David Navarro ordered him held without bail.

The fourteen-year-old, who was responsible for firing the shots at police in the 2017 case, is now charged in juvenile court with criminal trespass to a vehicle, unlawful use of a weapon and possessing a firearm with a defaced serial number.

A third man who was in the back seat of the carjacked Buick, 19-year-old Jaquali Brown, is charged with criminal trespass to a vehicle. Judge Navarro released him on a recognizance bond.

More tools

Ald. Michele Smith | Twitter
There may be some good news coming, at least for residents of the 18th (Near North) Police District, which includes River North, the Mag Mile, and the southern end of Lincoln Park.

Alderman Michele Smith (43) recently ran into Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx at an event and the alderman took the opportunity to talk about repeat offenders, especially juveniles, according to a staff member in Smith’s office.

The result of that conversation is “a breakthrough in our police district’s relationship with the State’s Attorney that should lower crime in our Ward,” Smith told constituents in a recent email.

Under a new arrangement, the 18th District commander will have direct access to the first deputy state’s attorney responsible for the downtown area, Smith’s staffer said.

The commander will be able to discuss offender histories in greater detail, explain arrestees’ history in the community, and share information about previous offenses, according to Smith.

The commander-prosecutor arrangement is “common on the South and West Sides,” Smith’s staffer said. But Near North is the first North Side police district to roll out the arrangement, he said.

“Our issues with repeat offenders have stymied efforts to improve public safety,” Smith said. “With a more responsive State's Attorney, we are hopeful progress will be made.”
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With hundreds and hundreds of DUI arrests under his belt, cop retires from Town Hall District

Officer Timothy Walter, DUI specialist in the 19th District, arrives for his final shift on Wednesday. | Captainkane84
It was quite a career for a Chicago cop. Thirty-two years on the job, culminating as the DUI enforcement specialist in the 19th (Town Hall) Police District where he personally took hundreds of drunk drivers off the roads in Lakeview and surrounding areas.

Wednesday night, Officer Timothy Walter hit the road in his SUV for one last tour.

His specialty as a DUI enforcement officer meant that Walter’s personal observations were critical to prosecuting the hundreds (some say thousands) of drunk drivers that he pulled from the roads. As a result, Walter spent more time in court testifying about his personal observations than most cops ever will.

19th District officers salute Walters at the start of Wednesday's overnight shift. | Michael Jacobsen
For years, Walter’s overtime pay for court appearances earned him more than $100,000 annually in addition to his base pay ($96,060 as he bid the department adieu).

In 2016, Walter received more overtime pay than any other city employee: Nearly $148,000.

But that’s a very fair value for the man who pulled more drunks off of Western Avenue (one of his favorite haunts) and Irving Park Road (another favorite) each week than most cops will see in a career.

As Walter eased into his final shift, his fellow overnight cops turned on the blue lights of their patrol cars in front of the 19th District station Wednesday as a salute for his job well-done.
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Pregnant woman attacked on Red Line train at Addison


A 25-year-old pregnant woman was punched and kicked by an unknown man on a Red Line train as they neared the Addison station late Wednesday night, according to Chicago police.

The woman was riding home just after 11 p.m. when the man approached her and began insulting her, police said. The offender then became physical, the woman said.

When the doors opened at Addison, the man ran from the train and left the station. The woman waited there for the police.

The offender was described as a slender black male in his 30’s who stands 5’5” to 5’7” tall. He was carrying a brown shoulder bag and wore a brown jacket and blue jeans.

Woman mugged in Boystown

A woman was pushed to the ground and robbed as she headed home from work in the Boystown neighborhood early Saturday morning, according to police.

The victim was walking in the 800 block of West Cornelia around 2:20 a.m. when two men pushed her down and stole a maroon backpack sling bag containing knives that she uses for as a chef. Both offenders then fled northbound on Reta Avenue.

The woman remembered that the men were black and wore ski masks with hoodies.
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UPDATE: Smollett "potential persons of interest" went to Lakeview HS; More...


UPDATE 2:25AM: A photo from 2015 (above) has emerged, showing Empire creator Lee Daniels (center) posing with one of the "potential persons of interest" (right) who is in police custody for questioning. So far, no one has been charged with any crime.
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Two Chicago brothers who attended Lakeview High School are “potential persons of interest” in the purported hate crime attack against Empire TV star Jussie Smollett in Streeterville early on Jan. 29. The two were detained by Chicago police at O’Hare airport on Wednesday evening as they returned from a trip to Nigeria, according to police department sources. CWBChicago is not identifying the men because they have not been charged with any crime.

Here is the latest:

• At least one of the men has appeared as an extra on Smollett’s show, Empire, which airs on Fox. The older brother has a YouTube channel featuring three audition reels. In one reel, he performs the part of a man who has received the finger of a loved one in the mail from kidnappers.

• The younger brother’s YouTube channel also has various audition reels, including two mock police interrogations that were uploaded less than two weeks before Smollett’s alleged attack.

CBSChicago reports that an attorney representing the brothers "expects" charges to be filed against them "before 5:45 p.m. Friday" when the typical 48-hour window of opportunity for prosecutors to either prosecute or release an individual will expire.

• The men, who are African-American, shared a residence in Lakeview about three blocks from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home as recently as one year ago. One of the brothers also lists a home on the South Side. The brothers are listed as co-owners of a now-defunct party store in the Irving Park neighborhood.

One page of the search warrant receipt issued by police. | Provided
• At 8:47 p.m. on Wednesday, police executed a search warrant at the brothers' North Side home, seizing electronics, bleach, a red hat, clothing, and more. The search warrant receipt states that police retrieved proof that both men live in the raided apartment. CWB could not immediately confirm that the raid was at the brother's listed address near the intersection of Ashland Avenue and Belle Plaine Avenue.

• The brother who appeared on Empire has no adult arrests in Chicago since 2014, but the Chicago Tribune reports that he was charged with attempted murder in Cook County in 2011 but later pleaded guilty to aggravated battery. His brother was charged with DUI near their home in 2015 at the age of 21, but he has no other adult arrests in the city since 2014, CPD records show. The outcome of the DUI case was not immediately available.

• A Chicago police spokesperson denied a media report that the two persons of interest worked with Smollett to stage the attack because Smollett’s character was about to be written out of the TV show. A studio executive also denied that Smollett’s role was being axed.

• The brothers flew to Nigeria several hours after Smollett reported being attacked, according to reporting by CBS2Chicago. They were arrested as they returned via O’Hare last night. Their attorney told the station that they have no idea why they are considered to be of interest in the matter.

As CWBChicago previously reported:

Smollett said in an interview aired on Good Morning America today that he believed the two persons of interest seen in the CPD images were the persons who attacked him. "I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did."

TMZ also reported that police used “rideshare and/or taxicab records” to identify the “persons of interest” and to track their movements on the night of the purported attack and said the persons being questioned are believed to be the same persons seen in a surveillance image released by police days after the attack.

Given the developments in the case today, CWBChicago is sharing the following tip that we received over a week ago. Parallels being revealed today lend credibility to some of the source’s information.


If the source’s information turns out to be reasonably accurate, it will mean that Chicago police have known the identities of the persons of interest and believed the case to be staged for over a week.

Contacted for comment on details of the tip, Chicago Police Department chief spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi this afternoon said, "Can't confirm anything. We have active interviews underway."

Smollett this week turned over "heavily redacted" phone records from the night of the alleged attack. Guglielmi said the submitted documents did not meet the burden of a criminal investigation. Investigators already received Smollett's complete phone records via a subpoena served on his service provider, according to a source close quoted by CWBChicago on Feb. 4.

A source familiar with the records provided by the Empire star states that Smollett downloaded his phone activity into a spreadsheet and then deleted certain phone calls before handing over the records. “He did the [detectives’] job for them because then they only had to focus on the numbers he deleted.”

Earlier coverage



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Lincoln Park alderman uses "creative accounting" to boost police manpower counts

Michele Smith | Wikipedia
Lincoln Park Alderman Michele Smith (43) is doubling-down on a claim that police manpower in two districts that serve her ward increased by 136 officers last year. CWBChicago reported on Jan. 24 that district staffing information provided by the Chicago Inspector General shows that the districts only gained 78 officers last year.

Smith’s office was given ten days to provide input for our report, but they never followed up with us despite promising to do so.

Now, with election day closing in quick, Smith apparently wants to count officers assigned to detective divisions and regional units that are deployed to work in two-thirds of the city as being “assigned” to her 18th (Near North) and 19th (Town Hall) police districts.

Smith’s new way of counting flies in the face of long-established manpower tracking practices that even other aldermen use when counting police manpower.

In a tweet today, Smith declared that the inspector general’s office and CPD Chief of Patrol Fred Waller had “set the record straight about all the new police officers that have been added here in the 43rd Ward.”

Allow us to share what Waller said to us, demonstrate the consistent way that district manpower has been measured historically, and show you the new way of measuring cops that Smith is using to bamboozle her constituents.

CWBChicago reporters have been researching district-level police staffing numbers for nearly six years. At first, we had to request the information from the police department using Freedom of Information Act requests. In every manpower document that we have requested from CPD, district-level staffing is defined as the number of officers who are assigned to the district MINUS any of those officers who are “detailed out” to work elsewhere in the department PLUS any officers who are “detailed in” from elsewhere to work in the district. That measure provides the most accurate number of officers who actually report to work in the local district police stations to protect the district.

For about a year, the Office of the Inspector General has been publishing monthly police manpower data online.

19th District manpower reports from the OIG and Ald. Tom Tunney are consistent
Every month, the OIG’s posted numbers have varied from FOIA data by no more than one or two officers in a given month.

Lakeview Alderman Tom Tunney (44) shares 19th District manpower numbers every month in his constituent email. Tunney’s data is provided by the 19th District police commander. And his manpower counts are consistently within one or two officers of the OIG numbers and data received via FOIA.

So, there is clearly a well-defined and consistent way to measure district manpower.

Where did Smith get her inflated count of 136 officers? From CPD Chief of Patrol Fred Waller, according to one of her staff members. We talked with him today and asked where he got the number 136 when the OIG shows an increase of only 78 officers.

“That was the number who transferred in [to the 18th and 19th Districts] during the time period she gave,” Waller said. “It’s a fluid number.”

Note that the number didn’t include the number of officers who transferred out of the two districts or retired during the year in question.

To “set the record straight,” Smith now wants to include any detectives and officers assigned to area “Bureau of Patrol” units to count as being assigned to the 18th and 19th Districts even though those officers are actually assigned to work throughout Area North and Area Central—department divisions that sprawl across two-thirds of the city from Rogers Park to Austin and from O’Hare to Grand Crossing.

Under Smith's counting method, area-wide officers assigned to the yellow area should count as manpower in the 18th District (red) and area-wide officers assigned to the bright green area should count as manpower in the 19th District (dark green). That method of counting district staffing has never been used by the Chicago Police Department.
Of course, those officers are no more “assigned” to the 18th or 19th Districts than they are to any other part of the massive area their unit may be deployed to.

Bureau of Patrol units are “assigned to the Deputy Chief,” Waller said today. “They would not be used in” district manpower counts. And detectives would not count as district staffing either, Waller said.

But a letter to the Inside Publications newspaper chain complaining about our January report, Smith said both Bureau of Patrol and detective divisions should be counted toward her manpower totals. Smith wrote:
For example: "Bureau of Patrol - Area Central" and "Bureau of Patrol - Area North" (which encompass the 18th and 19th Districts) each includes officers which are detailed to the 18th and 19th Districts. This is also true for the Detective Division, which has seen growth in Area Central.
Both data sources say the same thing - there has been a significant increase in officers assigned to the 18th and 19th Districts, which in turn cover the 43rd Ward.
Might officers assigned to the area-wide units be assigned to do something in the 18th or 19th Districts? Absolutely. But they are no more a part of those districts’ manpower count than they are to the other districts in their areas. And, of course, when someone is robbed or shot in the 18th or 19th Districts, a detective from Area Central or Area North will be assigned to work that case. But the detectives are not assigned to the district.

Manipulating police manpower is nothing new for Smith. In 2014, she told a community meeting that their neighborhoods “have had increased patrols..sometimes you don’t always see it.” We labeled that whopper Smith’s “Ghost police” strategy. It seems her stripes have not changed.
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Smollett, two others in "active interviews" with Chicago police; Evidence of police "slow play" emerging

Jussie Smollett | ABC
UPDATE 6:02PM—Rob Elgas of ABC7 reports that "multiple sources" have said that Smollett and the two persons of interest staged the attack because Smollett's character was being written out of Empire. The station reports that Smollett "no-showed" for his interview with detectives today. (CPD's chief spokesperson has denied the station's reports and a studio exec said Smollett's character was not being eliminated.)

UPDATE 5:18PM—Charlie De Mar of CBSChicago reports that police raided the home of the two "persons of interest" last night, seizing bleach, a wallet with stamps, a magazine, computers, and more. A relative of the men told De Mar that the two left for Nigeria on the day of the purported attack.
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Chicago police today are questioning two persons of interest in the Jussie Smollett hate crime investigation, according to a department spokesperson. Both are African-American. Smollett, who police say “has been questioned throughout” their investigation is also being interrogated, according to TMZ.

The persons of interest were arrested at O’Hare airport on Wednesday night, police said.

Smollett said in an interview aired on Good Morning America today that he believed the two persons of interest seen in the CPD images were the persons who attacked him. "I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them. Never did."

TMZ reported that the persons of interest are an actor who has appeared with Smollett on Fox television’s Empire and a person who was traveling with the second actor. These individuals are believed to be the “potential persons of interest” who were seen in low-quality images released by Chicago police days after the alleged attack, according to a police spokesperson.

TMZ also reported that police used “rideshare and/or taxicab records” to identify the “persons of interest” and to track their movements on the night of the purported attack.

Given the developments in the case today, CWBChicago is sharing the following tip that we received over a week ago. Parallels being revealed today lend credibility to some of the source’s information.

If the source’s information turns out to be reasonably accurate, it will mean that Chicago police have known the identities of the persons of interest and believed the case to be staged for over a week.


Contacted for comment on details of the tip, Chicago Police Department chief spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi this afternoon said, "Can't confirm anything. We have active interviews underway."

Smollett this week turned over "heavily redacted" phone records from the night of the alleged attack. Guglielmi said the submitted documents did not meet the burden of a criminal investigation. Investigators already received Smollett's complete phone records via a subpoena served on his service provider, according to a source quoted by CWBChicago on Feb. 4.

A source familiar with the records provided by the Empire star states that Smollett downloaded his phone activity into a spreadsheet and then deleted certain phone calls before handing over the records. “He did the [detectives’] job for them because then they only had to focus on the numbers he deleted.”
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