Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"DISTURBING THE PEACE": Without A Signed Complaint, Cops' Options Limited

When most of us moved to this neighborhood we knew about the pre-existing conditions that come with living in a nightlife district.

A little thumpy bass from the club down the street and the enthusiastic drunks screaming as they walk home at closing time come with the territory.

Things have changed in recent years.

Now, car parties set up on the streets as groups gather around, drinking "juice," blasting music, and literally dancing in the streets. The 800 to 1100 blocks of Belmont are a whole different beast.

But there's really not much that the police can do about these "peace disturbances" unless someone is willing to step up and sign a complaint.

"When I first came on [the police force] in 1985 you could arrest an individual for being intoxicated [on] the public way under the disorderly conduct act," 19th district police Commander Elias Voulgaris told us, "Now of course you cannot."

"We can no longer arrest anyone for disorderly conduct unless we have signed complaints," Voulgaris said. "There are certain subsections of the disorderly conduct ordinance we can use, but certain elements need to be present."

And when it comes to the often-anonymous complaints about street disturbances, cops can do little but roll by slowly and scowl.

"A police officer's peace cannot be disturbed," the commander said, "otherwise we could lock up individuals for screaming, yelling…If a citizen's peace is disturbed...we would need a signed complaint" to make an arrest.

Now you know.
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43 comments:

  1. It's time for the residents to set up...if you live on one of the street where this trouble is a constant then call the police and sign a complaint. The people who live right there need to get involved. Complaining isn't enough. If the police need a signed complaint, and the trouble is happening on the street outside your door or under your window then call and sign a complaint...rinse and repeat. And it shouldn't be one or two people, it should be a lot of people calling and signing complaints.

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  2. I'm 100 pct sure if you simply tripped up a curb and merely looked at a cop the wrong way they could arrest you for "something" if they wanted to though....public intoxication, public nuisance...something would work. It shouldn't even take a call to the cops to quell a disturbance or noise, they should be taking care of it in their own. Are they absolutely powerless? If this logic holds then they shouldn't be able to give me a traffic citation "unless someone files a complaint". So, there's no law and order. Got it.

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    1. You definitely are lost aren't you? Here is how it works, police do not just "put charges" on people. That would be illegal. Police enforce the laws on the books. Public intoxication? Not a crime. Disorderly conduct? As the story states an officers peace can not be breached so without a citizen to sign a complaint not an option. My point here is until citizens like you actually stop believing the criminal element about the bad police and you actually put your head into the game and realize just how lax our laws are nothing will change.

      Yeah 30 years ago if troublemakers hung out the police would come and (sometimes literally) kick them out and they knew to stay out. But the public didn't want that, they sided with the poor oppressed criminal... Reap your rewards

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    2. Hardcore NIMBY! You're probably the same jagoff that yells, "I hope you have probable cause!" when we put dude on the hood of the squad. Read up on the law, moron.

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    3. I don't know what's more sad - the original post or the police response.

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  3. There is a charge the police use frequently on the West and far South sides called, "wreckless conduct." It gets them off the street for the night at least.

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    1. Well first off its reckless conduct, second what are the elements of the crime? Is hanging out reckless? Also reckless conduct is a minor crime, might get someone off the streets for a couple if hours no longer.

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    2. Hanging out doesn't constitute RECKLESS Conduct (note spelling).
      (720 ILCS 5/12-5) (from Ch. 38, par. 12-5)
      Sec. 12-5. Reckless conduct.
      (a) A person commits reckless conduct when he or she, by any means lawful or unlawful, recklessly performs an act or acts that:
      (1) cause bodily harm to or endanger the safety of

      another person; or
      (2) cause great bodily harm or permanent disability

      or disfigurement to another person.
      (b) Sentence.
      Reckless conduct under subdivision (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor. Reckless conduct under subdivision (a)(2) is a Class 4 felony.

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  4. What if the suspect smells like pot...can the police pull him over and arrest him?
    What if his car stereo is obnoxiously loud? Can the cops impound his car?
    And of course the suspect could be pulled over if he runs a red light or stop sign.

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    1. In answer to your questions 1. No - smell is not accepted in a court of law as humans do not have a refined sense of smell like say a canine. 2. Maybe. How loud is loud? Statute states the noise in question must be heard past 75 feet (about the distance between two light poles) 3. Yes they can be pulled over for a traffic violation.

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    2. Absolutely. The odor of marijuana provides probable cause to stop and/or search the suspect.
      Loud is loud. If the noise can be heard from a distance away, they may be cited.

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  5. Trying to give CPD the benefit of the doubt (which is difficult), breaking up the idiots on Belmont would require manpower they don't have and pull them away from other more "hot" spots. It's a combination of us as residents to step up and file complaints but at the same time, CPD needs the bodies and the will to be more proactive and responsive.

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    1. "Trying to give CPD the benefit of the doubt (which is difficult)....."

      I guess that's a two way street. We don't really trust the largely liberal population, either.

      Generally speaking, liberal leaning members of the public are not usually very pro-police. In your minds we are all a bunch of super-conservative racists who go home and beat our wives after a work day spent fabricating charges and arrests against citizens from every demographic.

      On some levels you're not completely to blame. You have also been bombarded by YEARS of anti-police hate spewed forth from the media on a regular basis. BURGE BURGE BURGE! ABBATTE ABBATTE ABBATTE! Prolonged exposure to media with an obvious liberal bias has helped to shape your twisted view of the police.

      We see your hatred for us while we are on and off duty. Keep that in mind. We have to live in the city and many of us walk around and hang out in the same neighborhoods you do. I don't know how many times I've been off duty and had to listen to liberal citizens talk shit about a police officer merely driving by or entering and leaving a place of business.

      I bid to the 023rd District after several years working in the west side ghetto (and have since bid out). After being called to help a citizen with a problem I would OFTEN receive the under-handed compliment, "You were a lot more help than I thought you would be!" Thanks. So glad I could overcome your prejudicial hatred of the police. A post I read above rings 100% true. I can't count the number of times I put dude in handcuffs or on the hood of the car and received hateful glares and comments from the yuppies! "I hope you have probable cause....." That was common. Sometimes the yups would flat out BOOOOOO! us.

      I know co-workers that have been sued and have had to pay out punitive damages from their own pocket because an arrestee was found not guilty. During one civil suit members of the jury actually asked if they could make the officers complete community service in addition to the damages awarded. The judge told them that the police already service the community, so no. Community service?! Because making them pay twenty grand out of their own pocket wasn't enough! The jury really wanted to twist the knife!

      So.

      Now you want something done. Now you want us to violate people's civil rights because your property values are taking a hit. NOW!

      Despite everything depicted above, many of us still want to go out and help people. Despite a severe lack of manpower, lack of training, lack of support from our superiors, lack of equipment, and a lack of support from the citizens in our districts many of us still want to perform our job to the best of our abilities.

      I hear alot of discontent about police performance from many of the comments here. The problem I see is that you finally got the police force you wanted. We are now acting the way you always wanted us to act. Members of society from certain lower socio-economic neighborhoods have also taken note and are now behaving accordingly.

      Good luck.

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    2. If you really read this site, officer, you will know that many of those leaving comments are very open about their conservative leanings. I question these "liberal" stereotypes you throw out there, but I would say that responding to what you believe someone's stereotype is with insults and more stereotypes is not exactly productive. Rise above next time.

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    3. It's always reassuring to know that a CPD officer is insulting and stereotypical.

      This is our (as a neighborhood and a city) fault, apparently. Got it. We're all liberals who hate cops. Got it. That sort of thinking is why the CPD has to settle on average of $50 million worth of misconduct lawsuits a year over the last decade.

      All I can say is that document everything. Residents need to call 911 and step up to file complaints. If they don't, CPD won't act, especially in the 19th. Calling 911 and then not filing a complaint doesn't help anything. You file a complaint, then call Tunney's office and inform them.

      Both sides, the CPD and citizenry, need to step up.

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  6. Yeah right, mobs of people having parties out of cars and you need a signed complaint = bullshit!!
    I don't know about anybody else, but I'm starting to get the feeling that the police officers and the commander
    don't give a suit about us.
    .

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    1. And the police are getting the impression that a lot of you people here expect other people to do everything for you, step up and work with the police or this is what happens. Loitering laws - unconstitutional, smoking joints on the street - ticket at best, other issues have been discussed already... Vote in politicians who will actually craft laws that put these thugs on the run.

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    2. You have to realize that the diverse residents and business owners of prior decades forced the cops away with threats of civil rights violations and lawsuits. You're dealing with the fall out of this now.

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    3. READ up on your laws, YOUR voted in politicians made. The Police hands are tied on matters like hanging out with loud music or simply one being loud. YOU the citizen must sign a complaint, not complain anonymously here or over 911. Be brave, take your neighborhood back and make it a point to work WITH the Police. Sign a complaint, be a witness supporting the Police etc.

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  7. A complaint in response to a call? An officer has the right to ask anyone for ID. A tact car or a cruiser can sit and observe the what is going on and use that as PC to approach the group to question. Unfortunately as we all know, and as well as all cops know, the courts will throw out whatever the defendant is charged with. So why do it when you don't have the backing of the bosses, alderman and courts?! As residents of this area we need to stand up to these mobs. Make some noise. Film these idiots in action and distribute the footage to the media. Oh wait....

    Nothing will be done in the Belmont area or North Avenue Beach until some resident is killed or some resident kills one of them. Count on it.

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    1. What? If an officer observes an offense in plain view he may act. Thats what police do.
      You as a private citizen may also arrest. Don't just dump everything on the cops.
      Sign a complaint and go to court. Or, arrest:
      (725 ILCS 5/107-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 107-3)
      Sec. 107-3. Arrest by private person.
      Any person may arrest another when he has reasonable grounds to believe that an offense other than an ordinance violation is being committed.
      (Source: Laws 1963, p. 2836.)

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    2. Yeah, good luck arresting on your own the stereotypical person committing crimes in our area. Hope you enjoy the trip to the hospital.

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    3. Unfortunately someone getting killed on Belmont is only a matter of time. But even then it'll end up as a "death investigation."

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  8. How about a positive loitering group on Belmont?

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  9. You guys just got bitch slapped by the CPD again. Go to City of Chicago.org/noise ordinance Article XXI. Part B 11-4-2800. It's against the law to do what they're doing. The CPD, while short handed, simply can't be bothered and your so called alderman should and probably does know the laws/ordinances. On second thought, maybe not. Good luck Chicago.

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  10. I'm in for a positive loitering group. I'll risk it because I think it's important to do and get some video too. I won't go alone. If you're with me and interested, I know that CWB can put you in touch with me. Please post if you're interested and I am ALL ABOUT IT. Scared, yes, but is it necessary? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELTY. Someone please step up with me.

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  11. WOW, come on guys out there is Sarah G the only one with balls cuz you guys dont.

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    1. I'll be among the positive loitering group at Pride Fest this weekend. Come join me for a beer.

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  12. I remember going to Albany Park CAPS meetings in 2007 or so (when I lived there), and having the cops there encouraging us to call 911 for public intox. In his words, his commander "LOVED" to nail people for that one.

    So, what's changed? Is it citywide? No more public intox arrests? Or does the Belmont area get a pass because of the "entertainment" district?

    Also, couldn't citizens arrange a phone tree to sign these complaints?

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    1. Hmm. I like the phone tree idea. If the cops need people to sign complaints and we had a phone tree they could contact in various areas that could be a great way to solve the challenge. Organizing the phone tree would be a great activity for the CAPS officer. I know I would signup.

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    2. What in the hell is a phone tree? Also if you are signing a complaint you are signing a legal document affirming that everything on that complaint is true. If you didn't see anything how can you affirm the offense? Are you suggesting that a phone call comes in and the police will ask you to sign a complaint for something you know nothing about?

      As to that public intoxication charge... There is drinking on the public way. There is also a new section in the disorderly conduct statute that now covers public intoxication but certain elements must be present, like being disorderly and potentially causing harm to others etc....

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    3. No, I wouldn't just blindly sign a complaint but if they need someone then I could come out and see the situation and then agree or disagree as the case may be to sign the complaint. If you had a list of nearby residents willing to help like that we might actually be able to make difference. I also agree with what I think is essentially your other comment that they really to check with the department/city attorney to see what statues they can use and if the restrictions on their actions are true restrictions. Sometimes these restrictions are more assumed in broader context than they really apply. Its not uncommon for a very narrow situation to occur in terms of allowed actions and people naturally over apply the restriction into larger context that it doesn't really apply. Leadership should be speaking regular with the attorneys to evaluate different options for addressing the problems with a focus on, "can you defend the police department if we do ..." They will likely find they have more tools available to them than they think.

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    4. "I also agree with what I think is essentially your other comment that they really to check with the department/city attorney to see what statues they can use and if the restrictions on their actions are true restrictions."

      I wonder if there is a way for neighborhood residents can request that attorney to attend a CAPS meeting with information and answers to those questions?

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    5. Best comment ever Michael! In fact why doesn't the community send out a request for the judges in branch 29 and 42 to attend as well so they can see how the community feels.... Can this be done?

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    6. LOL. I bet THAT would frost Tunney's stickbuns and Vulgaris' belly if we started showing up at CAPS meetings with attorneys and judges in tow!

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    7. No, I actually think the commander would love for the judges to come to the meetings and be held accountable for their "let em go" court rooms...

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    8. And the ASA can explain why they won't agree to felony charges and/or agree to lesser charges instead of actually prosecuting a case...

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  13. Read what Alderman Cappleman has done to help improve his neighborhood and stop crime. We deserve the same from our alderman.

    http://www.uptownupdate.com/2014/05/weiss-plaza-turns-things-around-from.html

    Tunney should be doing the same. Why isn't he filing complaints??
    If he's not part of the solution- he's part of the problem.

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  14. ......and when we stop members of these large groups on the street, all you yuppies grow balls and start filming us with your cell phones waiting for the fist fight to start.

    You can't have it both ways.

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    1. Sounds like you're a little paranoid. CWB posted one of the pics I took of your colleagues making an arrest recently.(http://crimeinboystown.blogspot.com/2014/04/cops-deliver-surveillance-patience-pay.html) Another one of your colleagues or maybe it was you came up to me with a dirty ass look and unpleasantly told me to go away. You all would benefit from more good publicity. You should encourage people to take pictures and video of you doing your job correctly.

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    2. You'd probably consider me a yuppie, live here and rest assured I support you guys doing whatever it takes to turn the tide. Don't make assumptions, I won't.

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    3. To the last post, you might be a yuppie, that is fine. I think the officers point was, many in this community would prefer to film encounters with the police and other people than actually help or mind your own business. All too often a tape goes viral on YouTube showing police misconduct, but it only a small portion of the encounter. Many times a cop gets exonerated in use of force issues that on a 12 second tape look like a cop should be jailed for, but when you actually use the tape of the entire encounter, or piece together several pieces of footage you get a completely different story.

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    4. Why are cops so distrustful? Here is a little story for you to ponder...

      I'm working alone on patrol, I see a person matching the description of a wanted robber so I put a stop on him. He's bigger than me, strong. I get out of the car and I can already tell this is going to go sideways, he's already jawing at me. I approach him and he grabs me without warning, I didn't even have time to speak to him. The fight is on, through good fortune mostly I wind up on top of him and get a grab on one arm. I can't get the other arm, he's resisting and keeping his arm under him. I call for assistance on the radio knowing help will come but most likely will take a minute or so. I look up and see three separate grown men standing there recording the whole thing on their phones! Not one of them could be bothered to at least hold an arm to help me. At about this time the offenders partner, whom I did not know about as he was a driver in the robbery, came up and hit me from behind. Thanks to God, instead of trying to disarm me or beat me the pair ran off to get away. Dazed and bleeding, my help finally arrived and radioed for an ambulance for me, they noticed the trio of men still recording me but doing nothing to assist a uniformed police officer who was now bleeding... When one of the trio was asked if they could provide the recording to assist in identifying the pair of offenders the guy stated "no, you need a warrant for that." The other two individuals did show the responding officers their footage but when asked why they didn't help, both of them said it "wasn't their job to get involved."

      To make a bad case even worse, two weeks later I was served with a disciplinary complaint from the citizen who refused to help at all stating he felt that I and the responding officers had harassed him and attempted to infringe upon his civil rights.

      Maybe this story might hit a spot in some viewers eyes as to why police are a bit jaded. Yes this was my worst case scenario, but I've had plenty more like it dealing with citizens who have been taught to "fight the power" "don't snitch" "don't trust the police"

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