Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our Annual Pride Advice: Enjoy The Days, Avoid The Nights

Hours after the parade ends, police continue to work on containing crowds in Boystown
Four years ago, we published our editors' recommendations for enjoying the Chicago Pride Parade weekend safely. Unfortunately, everything we wrote back then applies equally to this coming weekend. Avoid Belmont. Leave at a relatively early hour. Trust your gut. (Our full list of tips is below.)

We expect a smaller crowd for Sunday's parade, reduced from last' year's crowd which was itself smaller than the year before. There are indications that the city is also scaling back expectations. Police told local CAPS meetings that they expect "maybe 750,000" people along the route. That's still a huge exaggeration of the actual crowd size, but it's also a steep drop from the city's annual "MILLION PEOPLE" announcement.

But we do not expect crime reports and arrests to improve. One indication of what the weekend ahead could have in store?  There were 11 arrests in Boystown during and after last weekend's Pride Fest. Last year's Pride Fest spawned just seven arrests. Under tight security following the Pulse Nightclub shooting, last year's Pride Parade sparked 24 arrests, down sharply from 52 in 2015.

And, on an unrelated matter, should there be any doubt about how the Pride Parade has changed over the years, take a look at how many of this year's parade entries fall into the following categories:
  • Schools - 9
  • Churches - 9
  • Sports teams - 8
  • Banks - 7
  • TV stations - 6
  • Radio stations - 5
  • Defense contractors - 3
  • Gay bars - 3 (Sidetrack, Roscoes, and Queen night at Smart Bar)
Enjoy the weekend. And, as promised, here are our annual suggestions for doing Pride sensibly:


At All Times

Nobody wants to be that guy.
• Stay with the herd. Walk with at least one other person. If possible, tag along with other groups. Muggers and other ne'er-do-wells function just like the cheetahs on Animal Planet. You do not want to be the slowest gazelle.

• Carry as little cash as possible. If you can get by with your ID and one credit card, do it. Leave everything else behind.

• Avoid using your phone on the street. 

• Do not get drunk. Okay, fine, we'll meet you halfway. Do not drink to the point that your level of intoxication is apparent in the way you act. Swervy, stumbly people may as well scream "take my stuff!"

• Do not engage strangers on the street. Keep walking. Do not stop to give someone a cigarette, a light, or a dollar.

• Bail if things start to get sketch.

Police on scene at a shooting near the Belmont L station after the 2014 Pride Parade.

Friday and Saturday

• Leave the area by midnight. If possible, take a taxi, Uber, or Lyft.

• If you take the train, use the Addison L station. Do not use the Belmont station.

• Avoid walking through large groups that are blocking the sidewalk. Go as far around as possible.

• Belmont Avenue is a NO GO ZONE between 11:00pm and 6:00am both nights. Stay at least a block away from it, no matter how many people are with you.

Sunday

• Enjoy the parade. Leave the area by 8:30pm

• On Sunday, Belmont Avenue is a NO GO ZONE after 8:30pm. Stay at least a block away from it, no matter how many people are with you.

• If you take the train, use the Addison L station. Do not use the Belmont station.


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Boystown Robbery Alert Issued As Pride Parade Nears

Spectators watch the Chicago Pride Parade at Roscoe and Halsted in 2012 | nathanmac87 on Flickr
With Chicago’s Pride Parade just three days away,  police this afternoon warned about a series of street robberies in the Boystown area.

Area North detectives have linked four recent robberies in which offenders have approached victims on the street or alley, knocked the victim against a wall or to the ground, and announced a hold-up.

A knife was displayed in one robbery, and a handgun was implied in another, police said.

Two or three attackers have been involved in each incident. They are described as black males ranging in age from 16-35. One offender was described as being a black male dressed as a woman wearing a red dress.

The related hold-ups have taken place in the area bordered by Belmont, Roscoe, Halsted, and Racine:
• 1:30 a.m. on June 9 in the 3200 block of North Racine
• 3:35 a.m. on June 9 in the 3200 block of North Halsted
• 2:45 a.m. on June 11 in the 3200 block of North Kenmore (STORY)
• 12:01 a.m. on June 15 in the 3300 block of North Halsted
If you have any information about these cases, contact the Bureau of Detectives at (312) 744-8263.
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Carload Of Shooting Victims Flagged Down Cops In Lakeview

Police confer near the victims' SUV at Thorek Hospital | Courtesy: Phil D
A confusing scene unfolded after three people were shot in a car near the North Side lakefront Wednesday evening. The victims were sitting in an SUV around 10:50 p.m. when another vehicle pulled and opened fire, police said. No one is in custody.

The victims, all riding in a Chevy Silverado SUV, drove off in search of a hospital and eventually waved down a passing police car at Cornelia and Lake Shore Drive at 10:53 p.m. Cops gave the car an escort to Thorek Hospital in Uptown.

But Thorek is a basic services facility that only had one doctor and three nurses on duty. Ambulances transferred the two more seriously wounded victims to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

A 19-year-old woman was shot in the side; a 22-year-old man was shot in the left thigh; and a 19-year-old man suffered a graze wound to his right arm, police said. All were reported in good condition. They hail from the West Lawn neighborhood, on Chicago's Southwest Side, according to a source.

Police supervisors initially believed the victims were involved in a shooting incident near Foster Beach further north on the lakefront.

A careful search of roadways in the park from Foster to Wilson turned up no evidence of a shooting. Cops eventually determined that the three had been shot in a separate incident in the 4700 block of North Simonds Drive near Montrose Beach.

The victims’ Silverado was seen sitting outside of Thorek Hospital’s emergency entrance. Crime scene tape was draped from its mirror and trailer hitch. A hand-painted sign in the rear window read, “Congrats 2017 Linda."
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lincoln Park Man "Beaten For 20 Minutes" In Near North Garage, Prosecutors Say

Williams (inset) is accused of beating a Lincoln Park man for 20 minutes in this Near North Side parking garage
A 59-year-old Lincoln Park man sustained a 20-minute-long beating at the hands of a would-be robber in a Near North Side parking garage last Tuesday, police said. A suspect has been charged.

Aaron Williams of Crete, IL, confronted the victim and tried to take away his computer bag in the parking garage above Dave & Busters, 1030 North Clark Street around 6 p.m., police said.

Williams then knocked the man to the ground and “viciously and brutally beat and kicked the victim about the face and head with fists and feet for approximately 20 minutes,” according to prosecutors.

Surveillance video captured images of Williams going through the victim’s pants pockets and taking the man's laptop—which Williams then used to further beat the man, prosecutors said.

Cops reported that while they were speaking with firemen, Williams—wearing a “blood-soaked white tee shirt and blue denim jeans” approached them and blurted out, “I beat him with my fists.”

The admission was captured on police body and in-car cameras, the officers said.

Williams is charged with two counts of aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. Bail is set at $100,000.

Police said the victim was hospitalized with severe head trauma and internal bleeding.
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Man Severely Injured In Baseball Bat Attack Outside Boystown Club

Fulton-Miles (inset) beat a man in the head with a metal baseball bat outside Hydrate nightclub, prosecutors say.
A suburban man suffered massive head trauma after being beaten with a baseball bat outside of a Boystown nightclub last week.

23-year-old Cory J. Fulton-Miles of Calumet City is charged with three counts of aggravated battery and two counts of reckless conduct in the case. Bail is set at $200,000.

Officers on patrol say they saw Fulton-Miles standing with a 28-inch metal baseball bat outside of Hydrate Nightclub at 3458 North Halsted around 3:45 a.m. last Tuesday.

Police intervened after seeing Fulton-Miles strike a 28-year-old man in the head several times, causing the victim to fall to the ground, according to prosecutors.

Fulton-Miles dumped the bat as he ran west on Cornelia with cops on his heels. He was caught and arrested moments later in the 3500 block of North Reta, police said.

The victim suffered blunt force trauma, a depressed skull fracture, brain hemorrhage, and a lacerated forehead. He was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in critical condition.

Fulton-Miles, who was blasted with a bystander's pepper spray during the attack, was treated and released from Thorek Hospital. He is a convicted robbery offender, according to state records.

Hydrate holds a late liquor license that allows it to stay open until 4 a.m. on weekdays.
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Career Felon Charged With Firing Gun At CTA Station

Minor (inset) is charged with firing a gun on the Clark/Division station stairs. | CTA; CPD
A career felon, most recently released from parole on April 22, is accused of shooting a gun during an argument at the Clark/Division Red Line station early Saturday.

40-year-old Eric Minor of the East Garfield Park neighborhood got into an argument with another man on the southwest stairs that lead to the turnstiles around 3 a.m., police said.

At one point, Minor pulled out a gun and fired two shots before bolting into the station and running up the tracks on foot. Cops found a 9-millimeter handgun in his possession when they took him into custody at the North/Clybourn station, officers said.

He is charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm in an occupied building; possession of 43 Ecstacy pills; armed violence; and being an armed habitual criminal.

State records show that Minor was discharged from parole on April 22 after completing a 4-1/2 year sentence for narcotics. Police say he is a member of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang.

His previous prison sentences include:
• Six years for manufacture-delivery of cocaine in 2007
• Another six years for narcotics in 2007
• Seven years for possessing and using a weapon as a felon in 2006
• Five years for residential burglary in 2000
• One year for narcotics in 2000
• Three years for robbery in 2000
• Three years for narcotics in 1998
• Another three years for narcotics in 1998
A judge ordered him held without bond.
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The Murder Of Alexis Stubbs: Two Cops Did Their Best. Did Chicago?

Two Chicago cops, short-handed and with calls for service stacking up, arrived at the scene of a 12-year-old girl’s murder within ten minutes of the first call for help, city records and dispatch archives show.

But the local police district was operating on a shoestring that night—six units sat idle due to lack of manpower—and now Chicago's left to wonder "what if."

It's impossible to know if things would have ended differently for Alexis Stubbs had the 19th District been properly staffed two Sundays ago. But having full police manpower would certainly make it a lot easier to look in the mirror, knowing that Chicago didn't let her down on the cheap.

Alexis Stubbs
Alexis was beaten and stabbed to death by her mother’s ex-boyfriend in an Uptown apartment just before 10 o'clock on June 11, police said.

31-year-old John Singleton, paroled in April after serving time for a 2014 domestic violence attack on the girl’s mother, is charged with Alexis’ murder.

The mother, Misty Stubbs, called 911 at 9:46 p.m. on June 11 to ask for police assistance in getting Singleton out of her apartment, according to dispatch records provided by Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

As she stepped outside and waited for officers to arrive, OEMC classified her call as a domestic disturbance, one of the department’s highest priority classifications.

But the call was not dispatched to officers because the 19th District was in Radio Assignment Pending (RAP) status, which means that there were not enough police units to handle incoming calls for service.

The district—operating on a summery Sunday evening with six of its patrol units down due to lack of manpower—had been in a RAP since 3:31 that afternoon, according to records secured by CWBChicago.
Alexis was killed in her mom's second-floor apartment in the 4600 block of North Beacon | Google
Three minutes after her first call for help, Misty called 911 again, records show. Singleton had armed himself with a knife, she said.

Noting that the situation was escalating, a dispatcher read the call out on the air in case there were resources available. But no one took the call, and it sat unassigned for nearly two more minutes.

Finally, at 9:52 p.m. a two-cop unit was able to respond. Within three minutes, one of the two officers broke onto the radio, breathless, calling for EMS and giving out a description of Singleton, who had just fled through the back door with a hammer.

RAP City

The 19th police district, which stretches from Fullerton to Lawrence and from the Chicago River to Lake Michigan, has fallen into RAP status 51 times so far this year, according to records maintained by CWBChicago. The vast majority of those manpower shortages have affected the evening shift from about 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.

By comparison, the district had reached just 23 RAPS at this point last year; 11 RAPS in 2015; and 21 RAPS in 2014.

“The backlogs are terrible,” one Chicago dispatcher told us. “[Shift] change time is absolutely horrible. I feel powerless with no resources.”

Up Is Down

But why is the 19th District is so short-staffed that six units need to sit idle on a June afternoon due to lack of manpower?

After all, local politicians are claiming that manpower in the district is “up.”

Even the media gets into the "up" game. Take this spin from DNAInfo writer Patty Wetli:
The Town Hall (19th) Police District, which serves most of North Center and Lincoln Square, has 50 more officers than it did a year ago and yet residents still feel vulnerable, 
That’s something. Those insecure North Siders with all of the "extra" cops. But it’s not the whole truth.

As of March, the latest month for records are available, the 19th District had 34 more officers on staff than it did a year earlier.

But that modest increase does not nearly make up for the bloodletting that occurred in the district before residents began to speak up.

Compared to 2011, police staffing in the district is down 18%.

Manpower is only “up” if you compare it to how low Mayor Rahm Emanuel and local aldermen allowed it to go.

It seems to be a constant theme for crime issues in Chicago. Up is down and down is up. Smoke and mirrors are preferred over straight talk and definitive action.

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Police Tactical Team Retrieves Alderman's Stolen Phone

Sometimes it’s nice to know that the people who dish out crime prevention tips (Close and lock all of your windows even when you are inside your house!) are just ordinary folks like the rest of us.

Smith (without her phone) | Ward43.org
Take Lincoln Park Alderman Michele Smith.

On Friday, Smith’s weekly email newsletter offered tips such as “we must stay alert to our surroundings” and “remember not to tune out” when you’re in public.

Yesterday, Smith’s phone was stolen while she was at DePaul University. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Around 12:30 p.m., the alderman summoned police to her Halsted Street offices.

Friendly officers tracked her phone, and a tactical unit was dispatched to nearby Jonquil Park.

There, officers recovered the clout-heavy device from some “yoots” on the playground and hand-delivered it to Smith.

No charges filed. No police report made (which will help keep crime stats down, right alderman)?

Smith's office did not respond to our inquiry.

Jerks And Recreation

Locals know the risks that come with parking your car on Recreation Drive, the road used to access Belmont Harbor and Lincoln Park north of Addison. Plenty of break-ins there.

So, you have to feel for the off-duty police officer who parked his car on Rec Drive on the afternoon of June 8.  When he returned around 5 p.m., someone had broken into his SUV and stolen a Swiss Army backpack.

Unfortunately, the backpack contained the cop’s gun and police identification, making the matter more serious than most.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

North Center Stabbing Brings Attempted Murder Charge

Scene of the attack that has Smith (inset) facing an attempted murder charge.| Craig Newman; Chicago Police
Attempted murder charges have been filed in connection with last Tuesday’s stabbing on a North Center street.

18-year-old Emanuel Smith of West Ridge repeatedly stabbed a 19-year-old acquaintance during a fight that spilled into the traffic lanes at 4200 North Lincoln around 3 p.m., prosecutors said.

He’s charged with attempted first-degree murder; aggravated battery-deadly weapon; and aggravated battery-great bodily harm. Bail is set at $50,000.

Police said the victim suffered multiple stab wounds to his chest and a slashed face. He was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in serious condition.

The fight erupted outside of the Thresholds service agency and a physical therapy clinic. Officers arrived in time to take Smith into custody at the scene, officers said.

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COPS: Armed Robbers Posing As Ride-Share Drivers In River North, Lincoln Park Entertainment Areas

Robbery victims are being targeted in Near North and Lincoln Park entertainment districts by robbers who sometimes pose as ride-hailing service drivers, police said in a community alert today.

Since May 28, four people have been robbed after either being approached on the street or getting into what the victim thought was their Uber or Lyft ride, police said.

In most cases, the offenders threatened the victim with a weapon and took the victim’s property.

The alert offered only a vague description of the offenders: a black female between 20-40 years of age and several black males.

Four robberies are tied to the latest pattern:
• Sunday, May 28 in the 2000 block of North Halsted
• Sunday, June 4 in the 500 block of North Dearborn
• Sunday, June 4 in the 1100 block of North State
• Saturday, June 17 in the first block of West Illinois
All of the hold-ups took place during the early morning hours, police said.

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call Area Central detectives at 312-747-8380
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