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The third Chicago police officer accused of excessive force over the past week has now been charged with a crime related to his conduct against a teenager. Authorities are accusing the officer of intentionally using his flashlight in an inappropriate manner and jamming it between the teen’s buttocks while he was making an arrest. 

The officer, who is a lieutenant on the force, has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct, both of which are felonies. According to investigators, the teen was handcuffed at the time that he was sexually assaulted. After the incident, the officer told him, “That’s what you get for carjacking.” 

The entire incident was caught on a bodycam. The teenager was fully clothed at the time of the incident, but it has raised enough red flags that the lieutenant has surrendered his badge and will now have to defend himself in criminal court. Unfortunately, there is no possible reason that you can give that would make it okay to sexually assault a teenager. 

Last year, the attorney general of the Joliet Police Department launched an investigation to determine whether or not there was an ongoing pattern of abuses within the department. The investigation is set to determine whether or not there has been a pattern of unconstitutional policing in Joliet. 

The investigation came after a man died while in police custody. Video footage, which surfaced five months after the initial incident, shows police attempting to communicate with a handcuffed suspect. At one point, they can be seen pinching his nose and striking him while his hands were cuffed behind his back. The suspect appears unresponsive. He died at the hospital later that evening. The official cause of death was ruled a fentanyl overdose. 

The investigation is civil in nature, not criminal. It could result in the reorganization of the department. None of the officers connected to the death were criminally charged. The investigation is focused on systemic problems and not individuals, according to the attorney general. The investigation was part of a joint effort by the city council and the mayor to open up an investigation into the department.

A Des Plaines police officer who accidentally shot a teenager while pursuing a bank robber will not face charges for the incident, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recently announced. The investigation led to the conclusion that the officer was justified in using deadly force against the bank robber. Unfortunately, it was not the bank robber he shot. The investigation concluded that the officer acted reasonably.

The Decision

The decision not to pursue charges against the officer was based on a legal concept known as mens rea or “guilty mind.” Figuratively, it refers to evil intent and is a requirement for many types of crimes. Two crimes that certainly require mens rea to be established for a conviction are first- and second-degree murder. The decision not to charge the officer boiled down to whether or not the decision to fire the weapon at the bank robber was justified. The investigation concluded that it was reasonable to discharge the weapon in that situation.

Two Chicago physicians are charged with prescribing opioids to patients who had no legitimate need of them, according to a federal indictment announced on the Department of Justice’s website. According to the charges, the two prescribed high-dose narcotics such as fentanyl and oxycodone to patients without conducting a meaningful examination or medical tests. The doctors are accused of knowingly dispensing the drugs to patients whom they knew for a fact had no legitimate medical need for high-powered opioids.

Further, the two physicians are accused of colluding after one of the two named in the indictment lost his license to prescribe medicine. That physician used another physician to fill prescriptions, and now they are both going to be charged with fraud, trafficking controlled substances, and more. Another element of the crime is the fact that the physicians sought Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement for the improper prescriptions. 

The Opioid Crisis

eBay has become a haven for sports card enthusiasts and other collectors acting as a veritable stock exchange for valuable collectibles. However, not everything that happens on eBay is legal. For example, if you place a bid on your own item or bid up items you have no intention of purchasing, you are committing a felony known as shill bidding. As another example, if you try to sell vaccination cards on eBay, you can be charged with 12 counts of stealing government property.

Chicago pharmacist Tangtang Zhao sold 125 vaccination cards to 11 buyers for about $10 per card. While not quite as lucrative as a Mantle rookie, Zhao pulled in roughly $1,000 from the fraud and will now face charges before a federal magistrate.

When discussing the charges, federal authorities were appalled at the low price Zhao got for the vaccination cards. According to a spokesperson for the FBI, “To put such a small price on the safety of our nation is not only an insult to those who are doing their part in the fight to stop COVID-19, but a federal crime with serious consequences.”

The daughter-in-law of a Cook County board president has been charged with a grisly murder that occurred inside of an Atlanta home. Prosecutors have accused 40-year-old Ronisha Preckwinkle of murder, evidence tampering, and false imprisonment. When the couple lived here in Chicago, police records indicate that there were numerous domestic calls to their residence. However, Preckwinkle’s husband called the charges against his wife “preposterous.” 

Ronisha Preckwinkle is accused of helping a registered sex offender carry out a disturbing attack on a 23-year-old woman. Since the attack occurred in her apartment, she is being charged with the assault. However, her husband says that is not where she was living.

Preckwinkle is accused of helping Dennis Lane, a recently paroled sex offender here in Illinois. Lane has been charged with felony murder and necrophilia. Police are currently running his DNA to tie him to other killings. Preckwinkle and Lane’s brother are accused of helping Lane dispose of the body and remove key pieces of evidence from the apartment.

An Indiana man is in deep water after a gun he purchased in Indiana was used to shoot two Chicago police officers recently — one of them fatally. Police say that the semi-auto handgun was purchased in Indiana as part of a straw operation.

Essentially, felons skirt federal background check requirements by setting up straw buyers to purchase weapons on their behalf for a fee. The gun, however, remains registered in the name of the straw buyer. When that gun shows up on the streets after being used to injure one cop and kill another, you can bet that the police will come after the individual who purchased the gun illegally, placing it into the stream of commerce, with the result that one cop was fatally killed.

According to police, the defendant purchased the weapon at a federal firearms dealership in Indiana. Shortly thereafter, it was used in violent crimes against police.

Two people are facing charges related to sexual assault and the concealment of a dead body. Police have charged a 40-year-old man and an 18-year-old girl with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and manufacturing of child pornography, among other related charges. The 40-year-old man assaulted the teen girl while the 18-year-old videotaped the incident. 

Police were called to the scene after an area person called in a body. The girl was pronounced dead at the scene. She was later identified as a girl who had been reported missing.

What Happened?

Baby-shaking prosecutions involve parents or guardians who shake their babies to get them to stop crying, usually, in a fit of rage. In one case, an Australian man was convicted when two forensic experts testified that baby-shaking was the likely cause of the child’s homicide. The man was imprisoned for nine years.

The controversy surrounds a “triad” of injuries that appear to indicate a baby-shaking homicide. These include bleeding of the brain, retinal hemorrhage, and swelling of the brain. In many cases, there are no external injuries to the baby at all. The belief that “triad-only” symptomology is at a 1:1 correspondence to baby shaking is now at the center of a hot controversy between prosecutors and scientists. Some forensic experts say that the triad automatically indicates shaking or abuse, while others are not so sure. The latter’s argument is gaining traction due to a recent article contesting the science behind such prosecutions.

The article specifically called out the two expert witnesses who testified in the baby-shaking case mentioned above. The scientist concluded that there was no finding of fact that implicated the defendant in that lawsuit to baby shaking, and the theory behind such prosecutions was based on studies conducted in cases where individuals allegedly confessed to the crimes. By comparing confessions to abuse, the experts were able to (by analogy) claim that the defendant was guilty of baby-shaking.

A Black man assaulted by a group of white men is facing criminal charges related to the incident. According to the man, who is a local civil rights activist and a member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, called 911 after being assaulted by five men. The men accused him of trespassing on private property. The victim apologized and said he was not aware, but the situation escalated quickly when the men tried to teach him a lesson. 

According to the victim, the men threatened to break his arms and “get a noose.” One of the men was wearing a confederate flag hat, while others were chanting white power. Cellphone video captured some of the event. 

Two of the white men face charges of felony criminal confinement and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury. The white men maintained that they were threatened first and that the complainant was trespassing. Their lawyers claim that the two are victims of a smear campaign to jacket them as white supremacists. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources recommended charges be filed against all involved in the incident, but Monroe County prosecutors initially only filed charges against the two white men. Now the victim will have to face charges related to trespassing and battery. The FBI also said they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

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