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Details are beginning to emerge about the suspect in the recent Weathertech shooting. According to reports, 37-year-old Charles McKnight is accused of shooting and killing another 37-year-old man and wounding two others. McKnight was found in possession of some of the victim’s belongings. Two Weathertech employees confronted McKnight near the end of his shift after they accused him of stealing the personal belongings of another employee at gunpoint. An argument ensued and McKnight shot at the men confronting him. 

McKnight worked for a temp agency and managed to pass a background check although the press was able to discover that McKnight had been arrested several times for minor offenses. McKnight was never prosecuted on any of those charges which ended up being dropped. All the offenses were minor offenses such as simple battery and disorderly conduct. According to the temp agency, they use another company to conduct criminal background checks and McKnight’s came back clear. 

One of the victims was treated and released from the hospital while the other is in critical condition. McKnight will likely face one charge of first-degree murder and potentially two charges of attempted murder. His bond has been set at $5 million.

A white Chicago officer has been officially charged after an altercation with a Black woman who was walking her dog. The defendant has since resigned from the police force and has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. The 52-year-old officer resigned prior to an official disciplinary hearing. 

The altercation ensued when the officer found a woman walking her dog along the beach. The officer detained the woman and told her the beach was closed. The woman said she felt threatened and asked the officer to step back. At that point, the officer grabbed the woman. The incident was not only caught on bodycam but a bystander recorded much of the altercation. 

The victim told the press that she believed the incident was racially motivated. She also said that she did not believe that all cops were bad people, but this particular cop was a bad apple. As a criminal defense attorney, you wish that people remembered the entirety of the cliche. A few bad apples can spoil the bunch. 

Pursuit issues have long been a public safety problem, but the majority of these issues are related to vehicles. Police are afraid that pursuing vehicles can result in pedestrian deaths, personal injury lawsuits, auto injuries, and property damage. They are likewise afraid of making a bad situation worse. It is more complicated by the fact that fleeing a police officer is itself a criminal act and in some states, the stakes are very high. While you will not see prosecutions like this in Illinois, certain Southern states can charge you with murder if a police officer murders your friend who is also fleeing police. In other words, there is a lot of controversy over pursuit of suspects, how to do it safely, and how to avoid lawsuits.

What we have not seen is a foot pursuit policy. This is largely because if a police officer accidentally steamrolls a bystander, they are not critically injured in the process. Nonetheless, foot pursuits do result in avoidable shootings and one of the most recent examples of this involved a 13-year-old boy. 

It is believed that the new foot pursuit policy will help prevent shootings related to minor offenses. Police will now have an identifiable policy on when they are allowed to place themselves, bystanders, or the suspect in danger. This should help reduce the overall number of police interactions.

Here’s the story. The police showed up at a woman’s house claiming that someone had called in saying she discharged a weapon inside of her home. They found a .22 caliber single-shot Remington rifle on the property and promptly charged her for possessing a weapon without a FOID card. The weapon had not been discharged, and witnesses at the apartment complex said they did not hear a gunshot. It turned out that the call was made by an estranged ex who wanted to engineer a criminal prosecution against the defendant.

The defendant argued that Illinois’ FOID Law was unconstitutional. The circuit court agreed and vacated her prosecution. However, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on the Constitutionality of Illinois’ FOID card law and would not rule that it was unconstitutional. The prosecution may be remanded back to the circuit court leaving the prosecution unclear under the law. Below, we will discuss the law and why it may be unconstitutional.

Is Illinois’ FOID Card Law Constitutional?

A 19-year-old man and seven others are accused of forcing their way into a Louis Vuitton store and stealing an estimated $77,000 in merchandise. In this case, each of the bags had trackers in them, and police were able to recover the trackers along the interstate. From the trackers, they were able to recover a palm print along with “other evidence” that placed one suspect at the scene of the crime. 

In terms of retail theft, the type of charge you face is related to the value of the merchandise. The law was updated in the past few years and now it is a felony to steal any merchandise valued at $1,000 or more. Prior to that, you only had to steal $150 worth of merchandise to qualify for a felony. However, due to inflation, the law was updated to reflect the minimal amount of buying power that $150 represents.

Those charged with felony retail theft can never expunge the offense from their record. Those charged with misdemeanor retail theft can. Hence, the stakes are quite high for 19-year-olds charged with retail theft. The state will still have to prove that the value of the stolen merchandise was greater than $1,000. Additionally, the palm print evidence may not be as strong as fingerprint evidence.

A man with an extensive felony record has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder after stabbing another man aboard a CTA Blue Line train. At the time of the stabbing, the man was on bond for another case. 

Police say that the attack was not random, but that the two men appeared to know each other. Earlier in the evening, the men were seen together on surveillance footage purchasing liquor from a store. The defendant withdrew money from an ATM. Later that evening the defendant fell asleep aboard the train and his companion, the victim, attempted to reach into his pocket. The defendant then pulled a knife and began slashing and stabbing the victim. The victim died of his injuries. The defendant is now facing first-degree murder charges. 

Police say that the defendant got off at the next stop and left his companion to bleed to death. He was found by another passenger and the matter was referred to the police. The defendant, meanwhile, ended up at a hospital the next day for a condition unrelated to the stabbing. There, he became aggressive with hospital staff who matched his image to a police bulletin concerning the stabbing. 

Billionaires and Republican donors are out in full force raising the ire of their constituencies against San Francisco’s elected District Attorney. San Francisco is miles away from Chicago in terms of gun violence, population size, and murders per year, but voters are ready to pull the plug on their District Attorney. Why are progressive prosecutors having such a difficult time even in liberal cities like San Francisco?

For decades, the Americans have been treated to only one position on crime: You are either “tough on crime” or you are not. If you are “tough on crime” then you are one of the good guys. If you are not, then you are aiding and abetting criminals. It is all very simple and appeals to the sort of black and white thinking that people employ when they are fed up with a situation. Do San Francisco residents have due cause to be fed up with their elected prosecutor?

Black and White

The pandemic has actually increased the overall number of shootings in Chicago, but our numbers are still going down from where they were last year and the year before. This year, we had 254 shootings in May whereas 2021 and 2020 showed numbers well above 300 shootings. The last year we posted a number lower than 200 was 2019, before the pandemic began. 

Despite showing signs of slowing, the numbers are not where law enforcement hoped they would be and there is concern over what the summer could hold. Chicago, with the help of federal law enforcement and Project Safe Neighborhoods, has been attempting to get guns off the street and reduce the overall amount of gun violence in the city. However, even as more and more gun busts are being reported, there has only been a marginal dip in the overall number of shootings and murders. 

What is Working and What is Not

She was the “first African-American woman” to hold the title of Director of Special Investigations for the State of Illinois. She was the only woman to ever hold the position. She was the only African-American to ever hold the position. She was the only person ever to have held the position, largely because the position did not exist. It was invented by the only person ever to have held it. But the spectacle of her having received awards and commendation for the position was videotaped for all to see. The defendant had hired the participants to act in these ceremonies including individuals who posed as judges. According to the participants, they were never paid. Therein lies the fraud. The fraudster told the actors that judges were not available for her swearing-in ceremony which is why she required paid actors. The theft of services adds up to over $21,000.

In addition, the defendant coaxed others into advancing her money under false pretenses; money she had no intention of ever paying back. She was also charged with writing fake checks to landlords, letting the checks bounce, and then forcing the landlords to evict her when she refused to pay. She was able to sustain housing like this for an extended period of time.

She has since pleaded guilty to five counts of theft by deception and one count of impersonating a state employee. The prosecution has agreed to recommend a five-year sentence, but the defendant’s actual sentence will be up to the court.

In terms of senseless tragedies, this one makes as little sense as any. One man is facing charges after he allegedly poured lighter fluid on a sleeping homeless man and ignited it. The homeless man, who was featured in a documentary, was known to Chicagoans as “the walking man.” He is not expected to survive the attack. 

A 27-year-old man has been charged. If the victim dies, the defendant will face charges of first-degree murder. Surveillance cameras show the man scoping the area for traffic before dumping the lighter fluid from a cup onto the sleeping man. The homeless man began thrashing wildly when a security guard noticed him and put out the blaze. 911 was immediately called. 

Police used the surveillance footage to track down the suspect, who told them that he had found a cup full of gasoline and wanted to set some trash on fire. When asked why, he told police he was an angry person. The defendant maintains that he was not aware that a person was sleeping there. Medical personnel have described the burns as “non-survivable.”

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