Category Archives: Chicago

Van Dyke Could Serve Just Over Three Years For Murder Of Laquan McDonald

CHICAGO (CBS)—Before Judge Vincent Gaughan handed down a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence to former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke for killing Laquan McDonald, he acknowledged the sentence wouldn’t sit well with either side. “I realized that my decision will not make everyone 100 percent happy,” Gaughan said to a packed courtroom. Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months for second degree murder—a little more than six and a half years. CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said that with time served, Van Dyke will likely serve a little more than three years. Van Dyke showed no reaction after hearing his sentence. His wife quietly absorbed its meaning. Activists immediately called the sentence a travesty. “Today we got something we didn’t expect to see,” activist William Calloway said. “81 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections– that’s a slap in the face to us and a slap on the wrist to him.” Van Dyke’s sentencing came more than eight hours into his often-emotional hearing. More than a dozen people gave statements for the prosecution; including several men who testified they were victimized by Van Dyke during routine or unwarranted traffic stops. The defense’s testimony came from former officers and family members–including his wife Tiffany—who described Van Dyke as a wonderful father and said there’s no hatred in her husband. “He is my other half. He’s my heart. My husband is a kind and gentle man. He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said. At the end of the hearing, Van Dyke read from a prepared statement, saying he prays daily for McDonald’s soul. Prosecutor Joseph McMahon had asked the judge for 18 to 20 years. “This is a significant sentence,” McMahon said. “I and this team are satisfied, we achieved our goal in holding Van Dyke accountable for his actions the night that he shot and killed Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke’s family said nothing and left the courthouse arm in arm, surrounded by police officers and shouts for justice. Van Dyke’s attorney Dan Herbert says the father of two is relieved. “He’s certainly not happy about going to jail, he’s certainly not happy missing his family, but he’s happy about the prospect of life ahead of him, and that, to me, was one of the greatest feelings.”  

Wrong Towing Company Hauls Woman’s Car Away; Charges Her $4,000

CHICAGO (CBS)—A Chicago woman has a warning to other drivers after a tow truck driver took her car and tried to charge her thousands of dollars to get it back. Jaeleigh Jackson was pulling into a parking garage in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood Monday night when she hit a patch of black ice and damaged her car. A tow truck arrived to help, but it was from a different company than she had requested through her insurance company. Jackson figured the company had decided to send someone else. It wasn’t until she got a phone call from her insurance agent that she realized something was wrong. “I come to find out this company must have been listening to a police scanner of some sorts heard my name heard my location and showed up,” Jackson said. Jackson said the towing company tried to bill her insurer $4,000 for the tow. She said the tow truck company wouldn’t return her calls— so she called police. They found her car at a lot on the South Side. Jackson had taken photos of the tow truck, which had a decal with the name Ondevas Towing, Inc. CBS 2 tracked the company back to a warehouse, but no one was there on Friday. The owner, Jose Ortega, said on the phone that he fired the tow truck driver when he found out about the situation. According to court records, four complaints have been filed against the company, which has been in business since last summer. Ortega said he’s aware of those complaints and says they’ve been handled. Jackson is urging others to take pictures of the tow truck, the license plate, and more importantly, to ask questions before the tow. If you have any issues, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Commerce Commission.    

Activist Calls Van Dyke Sentence ‘A Slap In The Face’

CHICAGO (CBS) — Judge Vincent Gaughan said that his sentence was not going to make anybody 100 percent happy. He said that before he handed down the sentence of 81 months to Jason Van Dyke for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.  Reaction has been emotional on both sides. But Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon seemed resigned to the sentence. “We know that no sentence will bring back Laquan McDonald or undo the hurt to his family and friends, just like no sentence will fix the concerns of the African American community in this city,” McMahon said. Members of the African American community have been speaking out since the sentence was handed down. Many of them very angry, including activist William Calloway who believed the sentence was far too light.

“We don’t agree with the judge’s ruling at all. We feel that what Jason Van Dyke did with shooting Laquan (McDonald) 16 times, he deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars,” said Calloway. “That’s the consensus the among activist community, the black community and most Chicagoans at large. Today we got something that we didn’t expect. 81 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections. That’s a slap in the face.” Calloway went on to urge everybody to register to vote. He said that is how change can happen. The family of Jason Van Dyke left the courtroom without commenting to reporters.

CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said the time Van Dyke will serve is actually less than 81 months. “Basically he (Van Dyke) is going to have to do three-and-a-half more years. In Illinois, on a second degree murder conviction, you only do half the time that the judge imposes,” said Miller. “Frankly, he walked in there today expecting to do another 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. They found out now he’s going to do three years. It’s a pretty good day for the Van Dyke family.” The prosecution does have an option for appeal. Miller said they can take it up to the Illinois Appellate Court claiming Van Dyke should have been sentenced on the more serious charge, which is aggravated battery with a firearm. “If the appellate court agrees with the prosecutor that the judge was wrong, that could result in the appellate court could send it back down to the trial courts, sending it back to Judge Vincent Gaughan and have Van Dyke re-sentenced. This did not end today. It has the potential to go on into the future with an uncertain outcome.” Several family members for both McDonald and Van Dyke testified at the hearing. Miller said it had an impact. “Typically Judge Gaughan makes up his mind early in a case and sticks to it. But this was such emotional testimony that he heard today from the wife and the daughter and the other members of the family. I think it did have an effect on the sentence and his overall rulings in the case.”

Sewage Flushing Directly Into Chicago River’s North Branch

CHICAGO (CBS)–A business owner in Chicago’s Ravenswood Manor neighborhood recently found out his toilets dump directly into the Chicago River, but the worst part of the discovery is that it’s been happening for a century. Mark Aistrope found his company’s dream building in a neighborhood that he was hoping to help revitalize. “We obviously love it because of these old buttress ceilings,” Aistrope said. Aistrope’s business is one of a handful of commercial properties dumping sewage into the north branch of the Chicago River. He said he wants to fix the problem, but he needs the city’s help. “I’m very idealistic about we can be a pillar of this community and effect change here,” Aistrope said. The business was going to move in December, but a plumbing problem delayed those plans. Standing in the men’s bathroom, Aistrope explained how his plumbing system works. He said his toilets are connected to a water main that feeds into the river. CBS 2 tested the plumbing system by flushing non-toxic food dye down the toilet. After a few flushes, the dye spilled out of a drainage pipe directly into the river. “It was kind of this Erin Brockovich moment,” Aistrope said. “It’s been going on for 100 years and no one knows about it?” The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the City of Chicago Department of Water Management knew about the problem in the 1980’s when they corrected the icky issue for most of the properties in the area. It’s unclear why this building and at least a few other residential buildings nearby were left out. Friends of the Chicago River say they want more water-quality monitoring to locate all the places where sewage could be leaking in. Aistrope said his hands are tied because he’s facing financial problems. “In the absence of them taking responsibility, they’re saying, we’re responsible for it,” he said. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District issued a statement that said, “The property owner will be liable to cover the costs since it is a commercial building.” “This is not something that I planned for or have the reserves for,” he said. The City of Chicago Department of Water Management described the sewage problem as a “legacy infrastructure issue” that they’re working to fix. The city did not respond to a request for how much the repairs could cost.  

Cop In Fatal Shooting Of Jemel Roberson Identified

CHICAGO (CBS)–Two months after the fatal shooting of security guard Jemel Roberson, the identity of the Midlothian police officer who shot him at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge has been identified. A newly-revised wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jemel’s mother Beatrice Roberson on Jan. 18 names Midlothian police officer Ian Covey as the person who allegedly shot Roberson as he held down a man who had shot up the bar in the early morning hours of Nov. 11. Covey allegedly mistook Roberson for the gunman who started shooting inside the bar. Roberson’s mother is seeking $1 million in damages in the lawsuit, which names the Village of Midlothian and Covey as plaintiffs. The lawsuit says Roberson endured “pain and suffering, mental trauma, fear, anxiety, monetary loss and eventually death” as a result of the fatal shooting, described as “intentional and willful” in the court document. The Roberson family has been demanding answers from police since the shooting, but few details about what happened that night have emerged. Witnesses say Roberson held the gunman down and pointed a weapon at him. That’s when Midlothian police arrived to a call for back-up from Robbins police. There are conflicting stories about what happened next, but Illinois State Police say Roberson did not comply with demands to drop his gun. Roberson’s family is holding a press conference Saturday, Jan. 19 at 12 p.m. outside the bar where Roberson was killed.      

Sony Music Reportedly Drops R. Kelly From Roster Of Artists

(CBS) — Sony Music has decided to part ways with embattled R&B singer R. Kelly, who faces numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, according to reports. Allegations of Kelly’s sexual abuse go back decades and have prompted a nationwide protest called #MuteRKelly to boycott his music. Calls for Sony Music to drop Kelly from its roster multiplied following the recent debut of a Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” featuring interviews with the music artist’s alleged accusers. R. Kelly, who has sold more 40 million albums worldwide and won three Grammy awards, started his career under record label Jive Records, which in 2003 was acquired by Sony BMG. RCA, a Sony subsidiary, has represented Kelly since 2012. As of Friday, he is no longer listed as an artist on RCA Records’ website. Sony has long maintained its ties to the singer because he has not been charged with a crime and has maintained his innocence, Variety reports. The R&B star’s longtime record label did not immediately return CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment. Music streaming service Spotify last year removed Kelly’s music from its playlists before reversing its decision.

5-Year-Old Girl Struck By Stray Bullet In Harvey

CHICAGO (CBS) — A 5-year-old girl is in the hospital, after she was wounded by a stray bullet Thursday night while inside her home in south suburban Harvey. Harvey spokesman Sean Howard said the girl was at home near 150th and Rockwell around 9 p.m. when she was wounded by a stray bullet from a gang-related drive-by shooting outside the home. The girl was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where her condition was stabilized. Howard said it’s too early to know if the house was targeted, but said there has been a large amount of gang activity in the area in the past week. No one was in custody Friday morning.