Tag Archives: Chicago

Man lived inside Chicago’s O’Hare airport for 3 months before detection, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — A California man who police said claimed to be too afraid to fly due to COVID-19 hid out for three months in a secured area of O’Hare International Airport until his weekend arrest, prosecutors said Sunday.

Aditya Singh, 36, is charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport and misdemeanor theft.

In bond court Sunday, prosecutors said Singh arrived at O’Hare on a flight from Los Angeles on Oct. 19 and allegedly has lived in the airport’s security zone ever since, without detection.

Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz reacted incredulously Sunday after a prosecutor detailed the allegations.

“So if I understand you correctly,” Ortiz said, “you’re telling me that an unauthorized, nonemployee individual was allegedly living within a secure part of the O’Hare airport terminal from Oct. 19, 2020, to Jan. 16, 2021, and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly.”

Early Saturday afternoon, two United Airlines employees approached Singh and asked to see his identification. Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Hagerty said Singh lowered his face mask and showed them an airport ID badge that he was wearing around his neck.

The badge actually belonged to an operations manager who had reported it missing Oct. 26. The employees called 911. Police took Singh into custody Saturday morning in Terminal 2 near Gate F12.

Hagerty said Singh reportedly found the badge in the airport and was “scared to go home due to COVID.” She told the judge other passengers were giving him food.

Singh lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Orange with roommates and does not have a criminal background, according to Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood. She said he has a master’s degree in hospitality and is unemployed.

Smallwood acknowledged the circumstances were unusual but noted the allegations were nonviolent. It was unclear what brought Singh to Chicago and if he has any ties to the area.

As a condition of bail, Ortiz barred Singh from stepping foot in the airport again if he is able to post the $1,000 he needs for his release. He is due back in court Jan. 27.

“The court finds these facts and circumstances quite shocking for the alleged period of time that this occurred,” the judge said. “Being in a secured part of the airport under a fake ID badge allegedly, based upon the need for airports to be absolutely secure so that people feel safe to travel, I do find those alleged actions do make him a danger to the community.”


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4th victim dies after gunman’s attacks in Chicago, suburbs

CHICAGO (AP) — A 61-year-old woman became the fourth person to die from a series of shootings this month by a Chicago gunman who was later killed in a suburban police shootout, authorities said Sunday.

Marta Torres, an Evanston woman who had been in critical condition for a week after being shot at an IHOP, died Saturday at a hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her autopsy was scheduled for Sunday.

According to police, 32-year-old Jason Nightengale, of Chicago, shot seven people in a series of attacks Jan. 9 over a roughly four-hour period. Most of the attacks happened on Chicago’s South Side before Nightengale drove to Evanston, just north of the city, where he shot Torres before officers killed him during a shootout. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 81 years old.

Authorities have not released a motive in the killings, which they described as random. Nightengale posted numerous disturbing and nonsensical short videos on Facebook before the killings. In one one he brandished a gun; in another he threatened to “blow up the whole community.”

The other three people who were killed were Yiran Fan, a 30-year-old University of Chicago student from China, 20-year-old Anthony Faulkner and 46-year-old security guard Aisha Nevell.

Updated conditions on the three others injured, a 15-year-old girl, 77-year-old woman and 81-year-old woman, were not immediately available.

Tiffany McNeal, the mother of the 15-year-old girl, Damia Smith, told The Chicago Tribune last week that her daughter was fighting for her life at a children’s hospital.

“She’s holding on,” McNeal said. “They’re just saying it’s not looking good. But I’m believing. I’m believing in God.”

Nightenagle, a father of twin girls, listed work over the years as a janitor, security guard and forklift operator, according to his LinkedIn page.

“He was fighting some demons,” a relative, Annette Nightengale, told The Chicago Sun-Times. “He had some problems.”


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18 Chicago police officers disciplined after video shows cops lounging around congressman’s office during George Floyd unrest

CHICAGO — Eighteen Chicago police officers have been disciplined for their roles in last year’s incident at U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s South Side campaign office, where cops were depicted on video making popcorn, drinking coffee and sleeping on a couch while nearby businesses were being looted amid civil unrest, officials said.

Of that group, seventeen officers were given suspensions and one was issued a reprimand, a light punishment that doesn’t result in any docked time, according to the Chicago Police Department. The department did not disclose the severity of the suspensions but said the officers have the option of appealing their punishment, per union contract rules.

The department initially refused to disclose to The Chicago Tribune on Thursday afternoon how many officers were disciplined in the incident, but did so after repeated inquiries. Officials would not, however, go into detail about the severity of the punishments, which is typically a public record.

The incident at Rush’s campaign office was captured on surveillance video during the early morning hours of June 1, a little more than 24 hours after major civil unrest spread throughout Chicago in the wake of George Floyd’s killing on Memorial Day by police in Minnesota.

The shopping center at 54th Street and Wentworth Avenue, where Rush’s campaign office is located on Chicago’s South Side, was looted on May 31, during the outbreak of crime in the city.

During a news conference in June, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the video of the officers began in the early morning hours of June 1, and the officers were there four or five hours. “That’s a personal embarrassment to me,” Lightfoot said then.

A Rush spokesman has said his staff learned about the building being burglarized on May 31, when the alarm system went off, but did not discover the police presence until two days later, when a security service provided video footage that was reviewed June 3.

Rush has said he got a call that his campaign office had been burglarized and later saw surveillance footage of officers “lounging in my office,” including three supervisors, with their feet up on desks and another asleep on the couch.

“They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves and to pop popcorn, my popcorn, in my microwave while looters were tearing apart businesses within their sight and within their reach,” Rush said at the news conference.

City Hall did not release the video from inside Rush’s office, providing only selected screenshots in a slideshow that played behind the mayor during the news conference. The Police Department did not provide a timeline and would not say when the officers were inside Rush’s campaign office.

One police official at the news conference ripped the officers’ conduct as “absolutely indefensible,” saying that at the same time the officers were inside Rush’s office, others were standing shoulder to shoulder elsewhere in the city being pelted with rocks during the unrest.

At the time, John Catanzara, who leads Chicago’s largest police union, called the news conference “despicable” and said the looting at the shopping center was done by the time the officers shown in the images arrived.


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Union: 17 Chicago cops resting in burgled office suspended

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Police suspended several officers captured on video during last summer’s widespread unrest who were lounging — and apparently even sleeping — inside a burglarized congressional campaign office as people citywide vandalized and stole from businesses, a police union official said Thursday.

Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara told the Chicago Sun-Times that the suspensions of 17 officers and supervisors ranged from one day to 20 days. He also said the union has filed grievances challenging all of the suspensions. Catanzara did not return calls Thursday for comment from The Associated Press

The department did not confirm the suspensions but in a news release said that the Bureau of Internal Affairs has concluded its investigation and that the members of the department involved “have been notified of the results of the investigation.”

The video was recorded as Chicago police and other departments nationwide were scrambling to quell widespread vandalism, theft and arson in the wake of George Floyd’s death after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the Black man’s neck for several minutes.

The video in which Chicago officers could be seen relaxing and apparently sleeping in the campaign office on the city’s South Side of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), with some officers apparently brewing coffee and making popcorn, quickly turned into a national news story that angered and embarrassed Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Police Superintendent David Brown and others.

“We should all be disgusted,” Lightfoot told reporters after Rush watched the video and turned the footage from May 31 and early June 1 over to her. “We should all feel hurt and betrayed in this moment of all moments.”

Brown asked incredulously during a press briefing at the time: “Sleep during a riot? What do you do on a regular shift when there’s no riots?”

Shortly after the video became public, Brown vowed to suspend those involved.

As he did after the video was made public, Catanzara this week said looting at the strip mall where Rush’s office was located was over by the time officers arrived, He said the officers secured the area before they went inside.

”They had already secured the whole property…” he told the newspaper. “They came around the front. There was nothing going on. That was done. Period. Are they supposed to stand at attention in the mall?”


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August Wilson’s Uncompromising Vision “For Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Most of the film’s action takes place in a Chicago recording studio on a sweltering day in 1927. Ma Rainey and her four-man band are scheduled to record several tracks, including the song that Wilson took as the title of his play. As in all of Wilson’s Cycle, the script is bursting with sublime language: boasting and jiving, tall tales and philosophical debates, angry clashes and painful confessions, all rendered with an uncanny eloquence that is uniquely African American. Wilson garners tremendous suspense from the power struggle between Ma Rainey and the two white men who are ostensibly in charge of the recording session. Throughout the long, hot afternoon, the blues singer wages a battle for both her artistic integrity and her personal dignity. “They don’t care nothing about me,” she says of her manager and the record company chief. “All they want is my voice. Well, I done learned that, and they gonna treat me like I want to be treated no matter how much it hurt them.”

Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, and Colman Domingo as Cutler, in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

David Lee/Netflix

The leaders of the Ma Rainey creative team embody August Wilson’s vision of Black self-determination in the arts. The film’s director, George C. Wolfe, began his long and distinguished theatrical career with the piquant satire The Colored Museum and the musical drama Jelly’s Last Jam, about jazzman Jelly Roll Morton. The screenwriter, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, was a frequent Wilson collaborator. While remaining faithful to Wilson’s text, they have added a prologue and an epilogue to the film version that only enhance the power of the work. The casting of Glynn Turman as the pianist Toledo will warm the hearts of Black film lovers who have revered the actor since his role in the 1975 classic Cooley High. Finally, after portraying such Black icons as Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and the superhero T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman capped his career with a scorching performance as the trumpeter Levee, his last appearance on-screen before his tragic death at 43.

By insisting on a Black director for a movie adaptation, August Wilson proved himself to be as much of a badass as his Ma Rainey, who knows that, aside from her talent, her greatest power as an artist is the power to say “no,” and to keep on saying it, until she gets exactly what she wants. As producer of the Century Cycle, Washington has approached an array of acclaimed Black directors, including Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, and Barry Jenkins, to helm future adaptations.

Thanks to the movies, people worldwide will get to discover August Wilson’s extraordinary poetry, grounded in the intensity of his listening to his Black elders in Pittsburgh. In his introduction to Seven Guitars (set in 1948), he paid tribute to his mother, Daisy, saying that the everyday content of her life was “worthy of art.” During that heated Town Hall debate in 1997, an audience member asked August Wilson about his mixed racial heritage, in effect, raising the specter of Frederick Kittel Sr. The playwright’s response was swift and to the point: “My father was German. What about it? … The cultural environment of my life is Black. I make the self-definition of myself as a Black man, and that’s all anyone needs to know.”


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Author: Jake Lamar

Feds say Chicago man charged with entering US Capitol during attack posted photo outside Nancy Pelosi’s office

CHICAGO — A Chicago man was arrested Wednesday on federal charges alleging he participated in last week’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, posting a photo of the plaque outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ransacked office.

Kevin Lyons, 40, of the Gladstone Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side, was charged in a criminal complaint in Washington with misdemeanor counts of knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Authorities said he also took phone videos while in the building.

He was arrested at his home in the 5500 block of North Mason Avenue and appeared via a telephone link from jail before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Fuentes, who ordered him released on a $10,000 recognizance bond.

As part of the conditions of release, Fuentes ordered Lyons to have no contact with anyone involved in the Jan. 6 riot or anyone planning “any act that would impede or disturb the normal course of business” of Congress or any other federal agency.

Lyons spoke quickly when asked if he understood each condition, at one point laughing as he said, “I understand and agree, your honor.”

His court-appointed attorney, Lawrence Wolf Levin, did not address the charges during the hearing.

Before the incident at the Capitol, Lyons had posted a message on his Instagram account stating “STOP THE STEAL” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s false claims the election was stolen. He also posted a map showing he was headed from Chicago to Washington with a caption that read, “I refuse to tell my children that I sat back and did nothing.”

It appears from that account that Lyons works as an HVAC technician.

According to the 12-page criminal complaint, Lyons was interviewed by the FBI in Chicago two days after the riot. At first, he was “evasive” about whether he’d been at the Capitol, saying he’d had a “dream” where people were being herded by a mob and there was “a lot of banging on doors” and “paper being thrown about.”

Agents then confronted him with a photo he’d posted to Instagram and then deleted showing the name plate outside Pelosi’s office with the caption, “WHOS HOUSE?!?!? OUR HOUSE!!”

“Wow you are pretty good, that was up for only an hour,” Lyons said to investigators, according to the complaint.

Lyons then admitted he had indeed entered the Capitol but claimed he’d been swept up by the mob and that there was “very little that he could do to escape the crowd because he weighed 140 pounds,” according to the complaint.

Lyons told agents he walked into the building through a set of rear doors and wandered to the Rotunda to get his bearings. He went up to the second floor but didn’t go to the House chambers because he didn’t know where it was located, according to the document.

He said when he entered the “big boss” office — a reference to Pelosi — he saw a broken mirror and up to 30 people inside. A Capitol police officer then entered with his gun drawn and ordered them out, according to the complaint. Lyons said he put his hands over his head and walked out of the building and to his car, and then returned to Chicago.

At the request of the agents, Lyons uploaded the videos he’d taken of the incident to YouTube and later sent a link to investigators.

“Hello Nice FBI Lady,” Lyons emailed a special agent on Jan. 9., according to the complaint. “Here are the links to the videos. Looks like Podium Guy is in one of them, less the podium. Let me know if you need anything else.”

“Podium Guy” was an apparent reference to Adam Johnson, 36, who was charged with participating in the riot after he was allegedly caught on camera carrying the House speaker’s lectern.

Neighbors on Wednesday said Lyons had lived in an upstairs apartment in the quiet block and worked for a local heating and cooling company. His company repair van was still parked out front Wednesday afternoon.

Lyons’ Instagram profile, meanwhile, contained numerous posts decrying Chicago violence and the recent civil unrest over police shootings of Black people.

Most of the other Instagram posts that remained accessible Wednesday had to do with Lyons’ work in HVAC: his tools, scenes from his jobs around the city and inside jokes aimed at fellow HVAC workers.

In others, he showed off his guns, including one photo of a firearm resting between his legs as he sat in the driver’s seat of a car. “All I want in life is to bring people comfort,” he wrote. “Please don’t make me bring the pain.”

In October, he posted a photo of what purported to be an arrest report. Lyons wrote in the caption: “Schaumburg PD didn’t appreciate me taking the fight to Antifa today,” he wrote.

Another post showed Lyons carrying what appeared to be a black pistol and wearing a gas mask and flak jacket with the words “HVAC TECH” on the vest. “Just donning my P.P.E. to run service calls in Chicago,” he wrote in the caption.

Court records show Lyons’ only Cook County conviction was a misdemeanor battery dating to 1998. Details on that incident were not immediately available. He also was charged in 2014 with obstructing an officer after allegedly “taunting” police who were arresting someone else after a traffic stop. That case was dismissed shortly after it was filed.

Lyons is the second person from the Chicago area to be charged with directly participating in the events last Wednesday, when supporters of the Republican president stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from ratifying the electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden, leading to the deaths of a police officer and four others.

Last week, Bradley Rukstales, of Inverness, then-CEO of a Schaumburg tech firm, was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington with being part of the same mob.

———

(Chicago Tribune’s Paige Fry contributed to this report.)


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Feds say Chicago man charged with entering US Capitol during attack posted photo outside Nancy Pelosi’s office

CHICAGO — A Chicago man was arrested Wednesday on federal charges alleging he participated in last week’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, posting a photo of the plaque outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ransacked office.

Kevin Lyons, 40, of the Gladstone Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side, was charged in a criminal complaint in Washington with misdemeanor counts of knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Authorities said he also took phone videos while in the building.

He was arrested at his home in the 5500 block of North Mason Avenue and appeared via a telephone link from jail before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Fuentes, who ordered him released on a $10,000 recognizance bond.

As part of the conditions of release, Fuentes ordered Lyons to have no contact with anyone involved in the Jan. 6 riot or anyone planning “any act that would impede or disturb the normal course of business” of Congress or any other federal agency.

Lyons spoke quickly when asked if he understood each condition, at one point laughing as he said, “I understand and agree, your honor.”

His court-appointed attorney, Lawrence Wolf Levin, did not address the charges during the hearing.

Before the incident at the Capitol, Lyons had posted a message on his Instagram account stating “STOP THE STEAL” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s false claims the election was stolen. He also posted a map showing he was headed from Chicago to Washington with a caption that read, “I refuse to tell my children that I sat back and did nothing.”

It appears from that account that Lyons works as an HVAC technician.

According to the 12-page criminal complaint, Lyons was interviewed by the FBI in Chicago two days after the riot. At first, he was “evasive” about whether he’d been at the Capitol, saying he’d had a “dream” where people were being herded by a mob and there was “a lot of banging on doors” and “paper being thrown about.”

Agents then confronted him with a photo he’d posted to Instagram and then deleted showing the name plate outside Pelosi’s office with the caption, “WHOS HOUSE?!?!? OUR HOUSE!!”

“Wow you are pretty good, that was up for only an hour,” Lyons said to investigators, according to the complaint.

Lyons then admitted he had indeed entered the Capitol but claimed he’d been swept up by the mob and that there was “very little that he could do to escape the crowd because he weighed 140 pounds,” according to the complaint.

Lyons told agents he walked into the building through a set of rear doors and wandered to the Rotunda to get his bearings. He went up to the second floor but didn’t go to the House chambers because he didn’t know where it was located, according to the document.

He said when he entered the “big boss” office — a reference to Pelosi — he saw a broken mirror and up to 30 people inside. A Capitol police officer then entered with his gun drawn and ordered them out, according to the complaint. Lyons said he put his hands over his head and walked out of the building and to his car, and then returned to Chicago.

At the request of the agents, Lyons uploaded the videos he’d taken of the incident to YouTube and later sent a link to investigators.

“Hello Nice FBI Lady,” Lyons emailed a special agent on Jan. 9., according to the complaint. “Here are the links to the videos. Looks like Podium Guy is in one of them, less the podium. Let me know if you need anything else.”

“Podium Guy” was an apparent reference to Adam Johnson, 36, who was charged with participating in the riot after he was allegedly caught on camera carrying the House speaker’s lectern.

Neighbors on Wednesday said Lyons had lived in an upstairs apartment in the quiet block and worked for a local heating and cooling company. His company repair van was still parked out front Wednesday afternoon.

Lyons’ Instagram profile, meanwhile, contained numerous posts decrying Chicago violence and the recent civil unrest over police shootings of Black people.

Most of the other Instagram posts that remained accessible Wednesday had to do with Lyons’ work in HVAC: his tools, scenes from his jobs around the city and inside jokes aimed at fellow HVAC workers.

In others, he showed off his guns, including one photo of a firearm resting between his legs as he sat in the driver’s seat of a car. “All I want in life is to bring people comfort,” he wrote. “Please don’t make me bring the pain.”

In October, he posted a photo of what purported to be an arrest report. Lyons wrote in the caption: “Schaumburg PD didn’t appreciate me taking the fight to Antifa today,” he wrote.

Another post showed Lyons carrying what appeared to be a black pistol and wearing a gas mask and flak jacket with the words “HVAC TECH” on the vest. “Just donning my P.P.E. to run service calls in Chicago,” he wrote in the caption.

Court records show Lyons’ only Cook County conviction was a misdemeanor battery dating to 1998. Details on that incident were not immediately available. He also was charged in 2014 with obstructing an officer after allegedly “taunting” police who were arresting someone else after a traffic stop. That case was dismissed shortly after it was filed.

Lyons is the second person from the Chicago area to be charged with directly participating in the events last Wednesday, when supporters of the Republican president stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from ratifying the electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden, leading to the deaths of a police officer and four others.

Last week, Bradley Rukstales, of Inverness, then-CEO of a Schaumburg tech firm, was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington with being part of the same mob.

———

(Chicago Tribune’s Paige Fry contributed to this report.)


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Nigerian diplomat’s family sues Boeing over 737 Max crash

CHICAGO (AP) — The family of a longtime Nigerian diplomat killed in the 2019 crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia has joined litigation against the company in U.S. federal court.

Lawyers for heirs of Abiodun Bashua accused Boeing of negligence in development of the Max.

The 67-year-old Bashua had held many foreign service jobs for Nigeria and worked with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa over a 40-year career. He was among the 157 people killed when a Max operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

“Thinking of him sitting in a plane, a place he was very comfortable … watching a bunch of people falling to the ground and knowing that they were about to perish, knowing that for the first time in a long time he could not do anything about it, is one of those memories that haunts me today,” one of his sons, Lekan Bashua of Chicago, said Wednesday during a news conference organized by the family’s lawyers.

The Bashua family lawsuit, which also named Boeing contractors Rosemount Aerospace and Rockwell Collins Inc., was filed last month in U.S. district court in Chicago, where lawsuits filed by dozens of families have been consolidated into two cases — one for the Ethiopian crash and the other for a 2018 Max crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

Most of the other lawsuits were filed in 2019. Lawyers said it took longer for the extended Bashua family to decide on its legal team.

Chicago-based Boeing did not immediately respond for comment.


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Illinois man accused of threatening inauguration violence

Prosecutors say a suburban Chicago man has been arrested on a federal charge that he threatened to take the lives of President-elect Joseph Biden and other Democrats at the upcoming inauguration in Washington, D

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said in a news release that Louis Capriotti of Chicago Heights faces a federal charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, hours after Capriotti’s early morning arrest, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes ordered him to remain in custody until a detention hearing on Friday.

Capriotti, 45, is accused of leaving a threatening voicemail for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 29. Prosecutors said the caller said if people “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that (expletive) White House on January 20th, they’re sadly (expletive) mistaken.”

He continued, “We will surround the (expletive) White House and we will kill any (expletive) Democrat that steps on the (expletive) lawn,” according to the release.

Capriotti did not enter a plea and did not make any statements about the allegations. He confirmed to the judge he was on the call — because of COVID-19 many hearings are held remotely — and after the judge called a brief recess he could be heard on the line asking if his attorney had called his mother.

According to the criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent who investigated the case, Capriotti has repeatedly made profane and threatening phone calls to members of Congress since 2017, and after an investigation revealed the calls came from his phone he admitted to the FBI that he had made other calls, saying that he was “just (expletive) with” members of Congress.

According to the complaint, Capriotti left profane and threatening calls to three members of Congress in November and December last year. In each of the calls, the man who would not give his name said he was in the Marine Corps and had killed terrorists before. And after he accused one of member of Congress of being a terrorist, he said he “will continue to kill them (terrorists) because that’s what I was trained to do.”

Capriotti told federal investigators when they first reached out to him in February last year that he has never served in the military.

The Dec. 29 call that, according to the complaint, was made by on a phone on Capriotti’s account, followed a similar pattern, with the caller saying that he was trained to kill terrorists and that Democrats are (expletive) terrorists.”

The call was made several days before a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol building. Five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died in the Jan. 6 assault on Washington. Dozens of people have been arrested in the attack, which temporarily halted congressional business to confirm Biden as president.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel A. Fuentes. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dunne.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot was told by staff in November 2019 that errant raid was ‘pretty bad’

CHICAGO — A top aide to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told her the botched raid on Anjanette Young’s home, in which Chicago police handcuffed the social worker naked, was “pretty bad” in November 2019, newly released emails show.

In an email sent on Nov. 11, 2019, former deputy mayor for public safety Susan Lee forwarded a summary of WBBM-Ch. 2′s reporting on the case to Lightfoot and said, “please see below for a pretty bad wrongful raid coming out tomorrow.”

The summary said Young was handcuffed by police and officers “allegedly left her standing for 40 minutes handcuffed and naked while all-male police officers search her apartment.” The email noted that Young had been asking for the body camera footage but hadn’t heard back from police.

Half an hour later, Lightfoot responded to the thread by adding chief risk officer Tamika Puckett. Chief of staff Maurice Classen and communications director Michael Crowley also received the email.

“I have a lot of questions about this one,” Lightfoot said. “Can we do a quick call about it? Is 10:00, ie 10 minutes from now possible?”

A day later, Puckett emailed Lightfoot, Classen and Lee with an update on the city’s reforms to search warrants, including increased training for cops who have applied for search warrants twice or more within the past 18 months.

“We need to escalate the training for the 2+ search warrant affiants,” Lightfoot responded. “We cannot afford any additional hits.”

The mistaken raid on Young’s home in February 2019 has become a major crisis for Lightfoot, who initially said she had only learned of it earlier this month after CBS aired police body camera footage that showed Young, who was naked and handcuffed, repeatedly telling officers who barged into her home that they had the wrong place.

Lightfoot later acknowledged that members of her staff told her about the raid via emails in November 2019, as CBS was reporting on search warrants being served at the wrong addresses, though her office took nearly two weeks to do so. She also said she had no recollection of the emails.

“It was literally somebody saying, mayor, here’s another one, (some) words to that effect, I’m paraphrasing, and I said let’s talk about it, let’s get (former chief risk officer Tamika Puckett) involved, and there was a subsequent email from her because I was pushing her on what are we doing, where are we on revising the search warrant protocols, and she gave a detailed update,” Lightfoot previously said, summarizing the exchange.

Newly released emails also show that city officials planned to release the body worn camera footage of the incident to Young, but the Chicago Police Department decided not to after officials with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it would impede their investigation on the incident.

The controversy erupted earlier this month after Lightfoot’s Law Department attempted to block CBS from airing the body camera footage of Chicago police officers mistakenly raiding Young’s home.

Lightfoot’s office later disclosed that it failed to give Young’s attorney all of the body camera footage of the wrongful police raid on her home, a recurring problem for the city’s Law Department.

The Law Department’s top attorney, Mark Flessner, resigned over the scandal, and two of his high-ranking staffers also left.

In response to the controversy, several aldermen requested an investigation by city inspector general Joe Ferguson. Lightfoot said she is supportive of such an effort but also asked former federal Judge Ann Claire Williams to review the case and its handling.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is looking into the Police Department’s handling of the raid, but Lightfoot has been critical of the agency for being too slow in completing its investigation. A city spokesman previously said 12 Chicago police officers involved in the botched raid of Young’s home have been placed on desk duty.

Video of Young’s ordeal angered residents and activists. But the Lightfoot administration also has faced criticism for how it handled the recording and its release.

City lawyers initially filed a request to have Young sanctioned for allegedly violating a confidentiality order on the video, though the city later said it only wanted her lawyer sanctioned, before filing paperwork seeking to drop the matter altogether.

A federal judge rejected the Lightfoot administration’s unusual request to prevent a television station from airing a news report. The courts long have ruled against efforts to prevent news companies from publishing reports, saying it’s an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.

Lightfoot has criticized the Law Department for taking the action and denied knowing about it beforehand.

The mayor also angrily disputed that the city declined to give Young a copy of the video in her incident before later acknowledging she was wrong.

Lightfoot’s email release so far is limited to the events leading up to, and following, Lee’s email notifying the mayor about the raid.

But the emails also offer a window into how Lightfoot officials managed a situation that would later become a national scandal.

On Nov. 8, 2019, deputy press secretary Patrick Mullane emailed Puckett, top Lightfoot press aides, and the police department’s spokesman with a summary of the incident provided by CBS that said Young was handcuffed while naked. He also asked a CBS producer when the FOIA requested was filed by Young.

Days later, on Nov. 11, the city’s prosecutor, Natalia Delgado, sent Mullane and other media officials a denial of CBS’s FOIA request and said there are people watching the videos without identifying them. “They are currently working on reviewing and redacting the video to be released to the subject,” Delgado said.

Pete Edwards, the commanding officer of the police department’s FOIA section, said he would work on getting the video “completed” for release by Nov. 12.

Also included in the emails is a note from Fred Waller, the former chief of operations, to then-Superintendent Eddie Johnson and City Hall officials telling them that no evidence was recovered from the raid. The email noted “Ms. Anjanette Young” was on scene but doesn’t say anything about how she was treated.

On Nov. 18, Edwards said the video already had already been redacted as he forwarded an email from COPA asking for the videos to be withheld because of their ongoing investigation.

Jason Szczepanski from COPA told Edwards and other FOIA officials that the case is under investigation and the file is exempt from release because it would interfere with their investigation.

Delgado emailed Mullane and other Lightfoot media workers to tell them COPA said release of the videos would “impede” their investigation. No one appears to challenge the rationale.

On Dec. 3, 2019, Lightfoot forwarded a CBS story to herself headlined “Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul Calls Wrong Raids By Chicago Police ‘Disturbing.’”

She then sent it to Puckett, Flessner, Lee and Classen to ask for an update on a new protocol for the execution of search warrants. Puckett responded with a series of possible reforms.

On Jan. 13, Mullane reached out to Puckett and other officials to talk about media strategies for rolling out the department’s new search warrant policies. Days later, Mullane emailed Puckett and said they’re thinking about giving the news to CBS, “preferably later in the week when (Lightfoot) is in D.C.”

Then, in February, police spokeswoman Margaret Huynh emailed Chicago police leaders to note CBS would soon air a story with the interview.

“So much for them forgetting about it,” wrote back Michele Morris, the department’s director of risk management.


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