Posts Tagged 'Chicago Police Department'

Chicago Police & Accountability

In his weekly crime column for Reason magazine, reporter Radley Balko writes about the notoriously corrupt Chicago Police Department’s efforts to block people from using the only methods available to them to hold police accountable – namely, recording encounters and filing lawsuits for misconduct. Running down all the scary cases of bad CPD behavior, Balko argues there should be a clear policy that prohibits police from interfering with audio or video recordings, which is a great idea that we wholeheartedly agree with but seems like a pipe dream at this point.

Chicago to Give Security Guards More Power?

In what has to be the king of bad ideas, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago said a proposal to give private security guards the authority to write tickets might just be a good thing for the city.

The Chicago Tribune reports that two South Side alderman proposed the idea to allow the private armed security guards that patrol their districts to have ticket-writing authority  for minor infractions, like loitering, graffiti and parking violations. They reason that that will free up the real cops to focus on violent crime.

“It’s not a bad idea,” Daley said. “The more police you have out there … I like the concept … it will help us.” Does Daley really understand the proposal? They are not proposing more police on the street. They’re proposing to give non-police more police-like authority.

In a city known the world over for its colossal corruption problem, giving what amounts to hourly contractors the authority to ticket whomever they see fit is rife with problems. Questions that immediately pop to mind…. Who are the security guards accountable to? Will they have additional training in law enforcement? What happens when the guy they’re trying to ticket for tagging pulls a gun?

It seems like, counter to the plan, you will see an uptick in violence and unrest coming from altercations with inexperienced guards and petty criminals, along with wrongful citations and claims against the city.

Thankfully the police union denounced the idea, and let’s hope the proposal doesn’t go far.  In the Chicago Sun-Times, the Fraternal Order of Police’s Greg Bella said,  “When you put somebody out there who does not know the job, it makes double work for us.”

While I am no fan of cops writing citations, I would much prefer to get one from them over a clueless power-tripping security guard with no real background in law enforcement. Can you imagine if these guys had that power?

Article from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times

Court Clears Chicago Photojournalist

Photo by CatalogThis

For those of you who followed the story here back in October and November, you’ll remember that Mike Anzaldi is the freelance photojournalist who was unjustly (some would say ridiculously) arrested twice in Chicago for trying to shoot footage at crime scenes. The conclusion to the story is that a judge finally ruled in his favor, but the path to that point was predictably convoluted and drawn out.

After several court dates over the past few months, and coverage by the Chicago Tribune, the city and state decided that they would indeed press forward and charge Anzaldi with breaking the law. (Anzaldi heard that the coverage by the Tribune was in part responsible for the decision to move forward.) He was charged with two ordinance violations by the city and three counts of obstruction by the state.

Anzaldi picks up the story here:

Several court appearances went by with no real clear indication of what I was being charged with. The judge agreed, but allowed the state to amend their charges so that they made sense. This happened a few times. If it sounds silly, believe me, it was better being there. Even after the judge held the state’s hand through these pre-trial follies, the state still didn’t satisfy the court. 

The day of the trial, my attorney made a few pre-trial motions to dismiss a couple of the charges. The state was arguing that I obstructed the commander by filming. My attorney argued that it was impossible to obstruct by filming. The judge agreed, and tossed out that charge. The problem for the state was that their whole case was based on that notion; they argued that my filming created a chilling effect to the people who were gathered around me when the commander came over to interview them about the shooting. Never mind that it never happened. There was no interviewing, and no one was chilled.

 But, that was their made-up story, and they were going with it. Again, the judge threw that out before the trial began, so it was like the whole day, and their whole strategy, was out the window by 10 a.m. The rest of the charges were equally hollow and ridiculous.

At the end of the day, the judge admonished the state for failing to defend their claims.  He also mentioned that the commander’s testimony was surprisingly different than what was recorded on tape. While stopping short of calling him a liar, he said he didn’t understand why he would testify something different from what we would see on tape.

That said, the judge also indicated that if the state had successfully argued that their case was based on me chilling potential witnesses due to my filming, that he would have likely accepted that claim. Again, that didn’t actually happen, nor did the state have that opportunity due to their own incompetence.

Anzaldi is contemplating his next move. And he still has his video of the first incident, which he says is fairly tame, but it does prove his innocence without question. He says he may or may not release it one day.

Chicago Photographer Arrested Again – CPD on the Warpath

bond2Monique Bond, CPD Spokesperson

UPDATE: Mike Anzaldi has been cleared of all charges. Read the post here.

We checked back in with Mike Anzaldi, the freelance photojournalist who was arrested by the Chicago Police Department October 22 at a crime scene. Thinking we’d hear about the status of his arrest, we were shocked to learn he’d been arrested again – and the second offense is even more outlandish than the first!

As we posted before, Anzaldi was arrested and his equipment was confiscated, and about 500 images were deleted from his memory card, when the Chicago police decided that he wasn’t allowed to film a crime scene from a neighbor’s private property. He was charged with obstruction and resisting arrest and his status hearing is set for November 19.

On November 3, Anzaldi responded to a report of shots fired at a church. When he got there, it turned out a man had brought a plastic gun into a shelter and there was no crime after all, but Anzaldi decided to shoot a few minutes of footage just in case. As he was doing this, he was approached by an officer who told him he couldn’t stand where he was standing and then asked to see his credentials.


This officer called his name into the dispatcher – here’s where it gets weird – and the dispatcher apparently told her to detain him. The officers on the scene were confused and clearly not in the loop, but nonetheless were following orders from above. After some back and forth with higher-ups, the officer told Anzaldi that there was some sort of problem with his ID but the computer in her car was broken, so she asked him to come to the station to clear things up. They promised it would take 15 minutes and they’d return him to his car. Anzaldi admits it was foolish of him to willingly go with them, but understand it from his point of view – it was not a crime scene, he had done nothing wrong, it was not a confrontational situation, and he never imagined anything would come of it.

Continue reading ‘Chicago Photographer Arrested Again – CPD on the Warpath’

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