Two individuals are facing charges after Chicago police dispersed a gathering in Englewood. 21-year-old Jaquan Hayden is charged with one count of aggravated use of a weapon and two counts of resisting arrest. 42-year-old Sedrick Monroe is facing one count of being a habitual criminal in possession of a firearm.
Monroe was arrested after laying down his weapon in front of a car. He attempted to flee on foot but was eventually caught by officers. Hayden was arrested after a call for shots fired. Police caught up with him running through an empty parking lot. Officers were able to recover a revolver from Hayden. Neither man had a license to carry concealed weapons.
Three others were arrested and charged with misdemeanors.
Navigating Illinois Quarantine Laws
Dispersing crowds is something that many folks associate with civil rights violations. In our current situation, however, with the pandemic still going on, the laws are uniformly applied. On the one hand, these laws are supposedly there to protect the public from spreading the virus. On the other hand, they give police probable cause to enter situations like the one above and disperse gatherings that would otherwise be legal.
As a defense attorney, my job is to defend those who have been charged with crimes in Chicago. The point may not be that every client is a good person who needs to be protected from a tyrannical government, but the adversarial pushback of defense attorneys on prosecutors ensures that the state cannot overstep its bounds when it comes to law enforcement. This protects not only individual clients but ensures that America remains a land where we place limits on what the government can and cannot do.
National emergencies, like the one we are experiencing now, mean that other laws go into effect and these laws make it easier for governments to enforce both existing laws and laws that may be related to the state of emergency itself.
There are a few things that you should take away from this. First, police officers will have probable cause to disperse gatherings of more than 10 people. Then, if in the administration of their duty to disperse the gathering, other crimes are committed, they are entitled to make arrests and prosecute those crimes even though under normal circumstances, the police would not have had probable cause to do so.
Both men mentioned above appear guilty of unlawful possession of a weapon. Since the older of the two has multiple felonies on his record, he has been charged with being a habitual criminal in possession of a weapon. If convicted of aggravated use of a firearm, Hayden, the younger of the two men, would also be eligible for habitual criminal penalty. However, unless police can connect the discharged weapon they heard to the individual they caught, Hayden will not have to face aggravated gun use charges.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
David Freidberg has over 20 years of experience defending clients on a broad range of weapons charges. If you are being accused of unlawful possession of a weapon, call us today at (312) 560-7100.