Tag Archives: Jim Williams

Mother Mad At Cemetery After Son’s Grave Is Flooded

CHICAGO (CBS) — Flooding and sinking graves at an historic cemetery where some famous Chicagoans are buried.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams has the story from Oak Woods Cemetery.

Mayor Harold Washington, Olympic legend Jesse Owens, activist and journalist Ida B. Wells are all buried at Oak Woods Cemetery. But CBS 2 looked at the grave of one young man.

His site is in poor condition.

Rasell Bowman’s 26-year-old son, Eric Francis Harvey, died in his sleep. And every day since she buried him on March 1, she’s visited his grave at the Oak Woods Cemetery.

“I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. I have a hard time even trying to grieve him,” said Bowman. “It’s really eating at me.”

The evidence of flooding: A pool of water is along side her son’s grave. Other graves in the immediate area are sinking. Bowman took a photo of a hose extending to a sewer.

“It doesn’t even have to rain. It’s full of water all the time,” Bowman said.

She believes her son’s casket is surrounded by water. When asked how she’s convinced water is inside the grave itself. She offered this explanation:

“Because when they lowered my son in the grave and hundreds of people were out here. We were all witnessing the water pouring in from around the front and the sides.”

A spokesperson for Oak Woods had this statement:

“Our cemetery has been impacted by the inclement weather in the area over the past several weeks resulting in some pooling water in a small section of the cemetery. We are in the process of working with the Bowman family to help resolve their situation and provide closure.”

A letter sent to Bowman stated that Oak Woods is offering to bury Bowman’s son in another part of the cemetery, but only if the cemetery is not held liable for any damages to the Bowman’s son’s casket and body.

She is not willing to sign the agreement.

“What happens if we pull him up and he’s really messed up,” Bowman asked.

CBS 2 looked at other sections of the cemetery, including the grave of Mayor Harold Washington. All is well there, but not where Bowman buried her son.

“This condition has hurt my heart in ways that you can’t imagine.”

Bowman has now buried two sons at Oak Woods. An older son was murdered 20 years ago.

A Push To Get A New, Longer Sentence For Jason Van Dyke

CHICAGO (CBS) —  In a rare move, a push on Monday to get a new, tougher prison sentence for former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports it’s unusual because it’s coming from the state’s top attorney.

When Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke to seven years in prison for killing teenager Laquan McDonald, Chicago activists were outraged. They called the punishment lenient.

It appears they have an ally in Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

“This is the first step in asking the court to declare that the trial court improperly sentenced Jason Van Dyke for the murder and aggravated battery of Laquan McDonald,” said Raoul.

He and the special prosecutor in the Van Dyke case, Joseph McMahon, are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to order a new sentencing hearing.

Raoul and McMahon argue Gaughn should have sentenced Van Dyke on 16 counts of aggravated battery, not just on the second degree murder conviction.

“Ultimately it was to make sure that all the law was followed in all aspects. And this step by the attorney general and I is our effort to make sure that the law is applied equally to this case like it has been to every other case,” McMahon said.

Still, right after Vaughn handed down the sentence, McMahon appeared pleased with the outcome.

“This is a significant sentence. I and this team are satisfied,” said McMahon back in January.

On Monday, the lawyer handling Van Dyke’s appeal said politics is behind Raoul and McMahon’s petition.

“It’s ironic because the attorney general ran for office based in part on his record of reforming the criminal justice system, including sentencing reform. Now in essence he turns his back on everything that he stood for,” said appeals attorney for Van Dyke, Jennifer Blagg.

The second degree murder conviction was more serious Judge Vincent Gaughan said when he handed down the sentence on that offense.

But legal experts argue if the judge had sentenced Van Dyke on the 16 counts of aggravated battery, Van Dyke’s prison term would be much longer.

Hadiya Pendleton’s Killer Sentenced To 84 Years In Prison

CHICAGO (CBS) — 84 years in prison.

That’s the sentence handed down today for Micheail Ward. He’s the gunman who killed 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton – making her the tragic face of Chicago’s gun violence.

After the victim impact statements, after Micheail Ward’s family members took the stand asking for mercy, Hadiya Pendleton’s convicted murderer insisted he was framed.

“At the end of the day, now I’m going to jail for the rest of my life for absolutely nothing. I’m hurt,” Ward said.

Ward was found guilty of firing into a park in January of 2013. Prosecutors said he thought he was shooting at rival gang members. Instead he killed Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student. Her mother told the court she loathed Ward and had no sympathy for him or his family.

“Please the give murderer of my first born child, Hadiya S. Pendleton, that the law will allow. The absolute max,” Cowley said.

Ward’s mother and grandmother described a bright and helpful young man who helped take care of his younger siblings.

“My neighbors would watch what he was doing and said ‘your grandson is doing a good job,’” said Ruby Cavin.

Judge Nicholas Ford, citing Ward’s lengthy juvenile record and chances he had been given to stay out of trouble, sent Ward to prison for 84 years.

“I heard the defendant’s protestation of innocence. He placed blame on any source you can imagine, other than his own conduct,” Ford said.

“We believe the sentencing was just, based on the crime committed, basically a life sentence,” said Pendleton’s mother Cleo Pendleton. “Hadiya has lost her life and now he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

Ward’s attorneys plan to appeal. They said his confession was coerced. If the appeal fails, Ward would not be eligible for release from prison, even with good behavior, until he’s very old man.

His co-defendant, Kenneth Williams, is awaiting sentencing.

Judge Who Brought Gun To Court To Remain Off Bench

CHICAGO (CBS)–A veteran Cook County Judge has been stripped from the bench and placed on administrative duty pending further notice from an executive committee.

Judge Joseph Claps was seen on surveillance video July 3 at the Criminal Courts building at 26th and California as a gun he was carrying under his jacket slipped out and fell to the floor.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams was at the courthouse Wednesday, where he examined how the Judge was able to carry a gun inside.

Cook County Criminal Courts

Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California in Chicago (Credit: CBS)

Legal analyst for CBS Irv Miller tells Williams that judges are exempt from metal detectors used to screen other people streaming into the building. A private entrance allows them access to the building from their designated parking area.

“No metal detectors. No metal detectors for them. They have a clear shot right into the building,” Miller said.

Even though officials say Claps has a firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card and a concealed carry license, Cook County judges aren’t allowed to brings guns into the courthouse. He is changed with a misdemeanor.

Miller previously worked with Judge Claps in the state’s attorney’s office.

“Even though he may be a friend of mine, I still would be critical I’d he wasn’t good,” Miller said. “But he is–he’s a very good judge.”

judge Judge Who Brought Gun To Court To Remain Off Bench

Judge Joseph Claps was seen on surveillance video July 3 at the Criminal Courts building at 26th and California as a gun he was carrying under his jacket slipped out and fell to the floor.

Regardless of the side of the bench someone is sitting on, guns and court don’t mix in Cook County.

A deadly courthouse shooting at the Daley Center 35 years ago prompted security increases at courthouses across the county. Eyewitnesses in a divorce court hearing reported seeing 54-year-old Hutchie Moore stand up from his wheelchair and pull out a gun from a blanket before shooting Henry A. Gentile and attorney James Piszczor, 34.

Moore was convicted of the two murders and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Also in 1983, a man walked into a judge’s chambers and held a group of attorneys hostage for nearly nine hours.

Judge Clap was first put on administrative duty on July 5, and the executive committee’s decision Wednesday means his administrative status will continue.

Man Accused Of Defrauding Seniors Wants Out Of Jail

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s back to jail, at least for now, for a man accused of defrauding more than 100 Chicago seniors.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports a federal judge hasn’t yet decided if Mark Diamond should be released on bond.

Barbara Bailey’s mother was a victim.

She says she wants the man responsible to stay in jail.

“If Mr. Diamond is out, he can still go into the neighborhood or contact people to still scheme and defraud people,” says Bailey.

Mark Diamond is accused of stealing from 120 seniors by convincing them to take out reverse mortgages, then pocketing millions in equity.

He has been in custody for more than a year.

His attorney argues Diamond should be eligible for bond.

“He’s 61-years-old with no criminal background,” says Diamond’s attorney James Tunick. “He’s made attempts to rectify some of his wrongdoings. Just like any defendant he should be entitled to a bond.”

In court, Tunick said Diamond is transitioning from male to female and was abused by other inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Later outside of court, Tunick said Diamond is actually not transitioning but is still suffering in custody.

He is now at the Livingston County Jail.

Diamond is getting little sympathy from family members of his alleged victims.

“I don’t wish bad on anyone but I was abused too,” says Bailey. “So maybe he should feel like I feel.”

Diamond’s attorney suggested in court that his client be confined to his mother’s home under electronic monitoring with no access to a computer.

Prosecutors argue lawsuits filed 15 years ago did not stop Diamond from committing more fraud.

A judge is now considering a request for bond.

Pfleger To Deliver Keynote Speech On 50th Anniversary Of Rev. King’s Death

CHICAGO (CBS) — Fifty years ago tomorrow, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis; thousands of people are traveling to Tennessee to mark the sad anniversary, including a prominent Chicago priest.

Rev. Michael Pfleger has a task he calls “intimidating.” He was invited to be the final speaker at a ceremony honoring Rev. King at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, at the former Lorraine Motel where King was slain outside his hotel room on April 4, 1968.

“I speak up until 6:01, the moment he was killed, and then they’re going to have the bell ringing,” Pfleger said.

At first, Pfleger wanted to decline the invitation to speak.

“It is intimidating, and it’s frightening,” he said. “I’ve been to that room twice, and both times just wept.”

T0 fully understand why, you have to go back to 1966, when King spent most of the year living in Chicago, protesting racial segregation and discrimination in housing, education, and employment practices.

During an open housing march in the Marquette Park neighborhood, a teenage Pfleger saw his neighbors respond viciously to King’s protest.

“The hate, the racism, the taunting; they’re trying to turn over cars and start them on fire. I mean, throwing the rocks, throwing bottles,” he said.

Despite the violent response, King remained calm.

“I remember saying ‘This man is either really crazy, or he’s got some kind of power,’” Pfleger said.

King became Pfleger’s hero.

On April 4, 1968, while in college, Pfleger saw U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy deliver the awful news of King’s assassination on television.

“I remember going into the church on the West Side of Chicago that I was working at the time, Precious Blood, and going in the sanctuary, and just crying like a baby; because this was my hero. This was my mentor. This was my vision of what I wanted to do with my life, and now what?” Pfleger said.

He determined the answer was to become a pastor himself. That path led him to St. Sabina Church, where Pfleger has been an activist who frequently speaks out about violent crime, discrimination, and education.

“People say to me today ‘Why are you a priest today?’ I say, ‘Because of Martin Luther King Jr.,’” Pfleger said.

On the spot where King was slain, Pfleger is set to give perhaps the speech of his life on Wednesday.

“It’s so overwhelming to think at that moment on that balcony, speaking. I hope I can hold it together,” he said.

Pfleger is close to the King family. He said King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, called Pfleger “her son.”

Many other Chicago area residents will head to Memphis to mark the somber anniversary of King’s assassination.

About 50 people boarded buses in Matteson on Tuesday to head south.

Trip organizer Maureen Forte said everyone from millennials to senior citizens were going to be part of the historic day.

“We have black, white, Hispanic. We’ve all unified together to make this delegation very powerful. We’re speaking. This is a movement, it’s not a moment. Today is a movement. So it’s a powerful day,” she said.

Organizers in Tennessee have said they expect more than 15,000 people to attend events marking the anniversary of King’s death.

Chicago Serves Up Professional Tennis This Fall

CHICAGO (CBS) — This September when the baseball season is winding down and the football season is just starting, Chicago will host another big sports event.

A team tennis tournament at the United Center.

Some legends of the sport came to town for a preview.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams was there.

The court was small.

The weather a bit chilly.

But tennis royalty joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make the announcement.

“A great city that embraces with big shoulders  a great event,” says Emanuel.

The Laver Cup, named for the legendary Ron Laver is coming to Chicago in late September at the United Center.

It’s team tennis.

Europeans against the rest of the world.

“I’m very excited to be here in Chicago for the very first time,” says Roger Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam events.

He’ll play for the Europeans.

“We had deep-dish pizza so we’re warm on the inside,” says Federer. “I love seeing The Bean finally in person. Standing in front of it is actually very cool.”

John McEnroe, who won his last tournament in Chicago, will coach.

“It’s great to be in this tremendous city of Chicago,” says McEnroe. “Almost as great as New York. I had to say that, I’m sorry.”

The mayor says he pushed hard to lure the event here.

“I made that call every 28 seconds,” says Emanuel.

Federer, the number one male player in the world, and a big force behind the event, said he wanted to be here because of Chicago’s rich sports history.

“Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, that was a big deal for me,” says Federer. “I’ve never been to Chicago before so I always wanted to experience the city and play tennis here once before I retire so all the stars aligned and here we are.”

The top ranked Australian player Nick Kyegios sat next to Federer.

The Laver Cup is September 21-23.

Tickets go on sale Friday.

March Madness: It Could Be Harder To Make Predictions This Year

CHICAGO (CBS) — Have you been a little distracted today, filling out your March Madness bracket?

CBS 2’s Jim Williams talked to a bracket expert, who explains why it’s harder this year to predict what team is going to win the NCAA basketball tournament.

We pour through the box scores and study the tape. But all that analysis still might leave us empty handed, according to CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm.

The character of this tournament — how does it differ from years past?

“It’s a much more wide open tournament because there hasn’t been a dominant team in college basketball this year,” Palm said.

Still, the bracketologist offers his fearless Final Four prediction:

North Carolina.

“There’s not a lot of weaknesses on North Carolina.”

Purdue, which Palm attended.

“They are a legitimate Final Four contender.”

Arizona, he says, gets into the Final Four by beating the overall number one seed, Virginia.

“I’m going with talent because talent tends to show up in this tournament. And as good as Virginia is, Arizona is one of the most talented teams in the country.”

But Duke, he believes, will beat Arizona in the championship game.

“The Duke pick is the most talented team, the best coach — that’s why I picked them to win the whole thing.”

As for the Chicago favorite, Loyola, Palm sees at least one win for the Ramblers.

“Loyola got a team in Miami that is not going to overwhelm them athletically. Loyola is a team that won at Florida earlier this season. Florida was a pre-season top ten team.”

Want an edge in the office pool? Palm suggests looking at small school teams that have had success against bigger schools this season, or teams with lots of seniors.

To check out Palm’s filled out bracket, click here.

Some Schools Threaten To Discipline Students Who Join Walkouts

CHICAGO (CBS) — In one week, students across the country are planning to walk out of their schools to draw attention to the cause of stricter gun control, particularly in regard to greater school safety.

While many parents are supporting their children, some school administrators are deciding what discipline to hand down if their kids leave class.

Two mothers in the Hinsdale school district, for example, are applauding students’ activism.

“They’re really engaged,” Andre Thome said.

Catherine Greenspon adding, “It gives me hope in our nation and our future generations because these children are inspired, and they’re using their voice.”

However, if students at Hinsdale Central High School join their peers across the nation and walk out of school next Wednesday to protest, they might be punished.

In a letter to parents, the two Hinsdale high school principals and the district superintendent wrote: “Discipline would be case-by-case and depend on what happened.”

Greenspan and Thome insist there should be no punishment for the brief demonstrations.

“They need to have the ability to express whether they choose to participate in the peaceful protest or not,” Greenspon said. “They need to be able to make that choice.”

Students have already walked out of schools in the Chicago area to protest, but some districts site students safety for opposing walkouts.

In Plainfield, for example, administrators say they have to protect 9,500 students.

“We truly believe our students will be safer inside the schools… with alternative plans that will allow students to have a voice and engage in this protest in a meaningful way,” a district spokesman said.

Barrington officials said students who leave will be marked absent, and will therefore have to make up their missed school work.

“They leave the school grounds for fire drills. We have lockout drills. They go outside and watch the solar eclipse. So why not go outside — it’s 17 minutes we’re talking about. We’re talking about one minute to mark 17 lost lives,” Thome said.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said educators, along with students, will decide how they want to protest in Chicago, adding that the district will support them.

Organizers behind the Women’s March are assisting the students, and together have called for the 17-minute walkout on March 14 to “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

Charity Basketball Game Honors Fallen Cmdr. Paul Bauer

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police officers tipped off against Cook County Sheriff’s officers in a charity basketball game Monday at the United Center honoring fallen Cmdr. Paul Bauer.

The “Battle of the Badges” game helps raise funds for the Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation of Cook County and the My Block, My Hood, My City organization, which helps at risk youth.

“A lot of Chicago teenagers have never been downtown, never been to a Bulls game, never waited for a taxi, never been on an elevator. Their whole world view is shaped just by infrastructure of their neighborhood,” said Jahmal Cole, My Block, My Hood, My City founder.

In addition to broadening their horizons, he also tries to improve teens’ often strained relationship with law enforcement.

“It’s important to me that, we as officers, bridge the gap with our youth in our community,” said Claudia Martin, a probation officer who organized the basketball game.

Before the game, they paid tribute to the late Cmdr. Bauer, who was shot and killed outside the Thompson Center three weeks ago.

“You are a true American hero, and you will never be forgotten,” one officer read.

“I don’t know if I can solve the problem, but I know I can be a part of the solution,” Martin said.

Not only was Martin able to book the United Center as the arena for Monday’s event, she said CMS also donated a trophy and a plague for Bauer’s family.

CPD beat the County officers 53-45, and $5,000 was raised.