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Archive for February 3rd, 2014

Man who lost 2 decades of his life behind bars sues City

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – In 1992, 17-year-old Daniel Taylor was in police custody on a disorderly conduct charge.  At the same time, someone committed a double-homicide, yet Taylor ended up spending more than half his life in prison for this murder.

Today, he and his attorneys with the MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern University School of Law and Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law filed suit in federal court against the city and its police officers for suppressing this and other facts that should have cleared him as a suspect.

The lawsuit charges:

· To get false confessions, Chicago police officers beat several young Black men, including Taylor, as they were handcuffed to the wall of interrogation rooms, threatening some with handguns, forcing some to urinate on themselves for lack of access to restrooms, and for those under-age, denying them access to their parents or guardians for prolonged periods of time;

· Police took advantage of a mentally disabled 15-year-old to coerce a false statement out of him implicating Taylor, himself and other innocent youths;

· To hide the fact that Taylor was in police custody at the time of the homicides, officers made up an alleged encounter they had with him near the crime scene around the time of the murders and then fabricated a police report about this “meeting”;

· When an eyewitness reported to police that she saw individuals leaving the crime scene and that Taylor wasn’t among them, police falsified her statement to say that he was; and,

· Despite a court order banning the practice of creating “street files”– reports and evidence hidden from defendants and their attorneys — police withheld witness statements and other evidence that would have cleared Taylor.

“He had a police time-stamped alibi,” said Jon Loevy, one of Taylor’s attorneys.  “For every innocent man with such luck, how many hundreds or thousands more innocent men are wasting away in Illinois’s prisons, but without a bullet-proof alibi?”

”This case is absolutely bone-chilling,” said Locke Bowman, Director of the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.  “Here is proof that when Chicago Police are intent on solving a crime without regard to the truth and the facts, there is absolutely nothing that will stand in their way—especially if you’re an African American youngster.”

A Press Conference with Mr. Taylor and his attorneys will be held today, Monday, February 3, at 2:30 PM, at the MacArthur Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law, 357 E. Chicago Ave, 8th fl

At today’s press conference, Taylor will be joined by his attorneys Locke E. Bowman, David M. Shapiro and Alexa Van Brunt of the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern University School of Law, and Jon Loevy and David B. Owens of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law.

Restoring Opportunity for All: President Obama’s Weekly Address

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, the President discussed the goals he laid out in the State of the Union address to expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead and have a shot at creating a better life for their kids.

Remarks of President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address, February 1, 2014.

This week, I delivered my State of the Union Address. Today, here’s the three-minute version.

After four years of economic growth with eight million new private sector jobs, our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in more than five years.  And with the economy speeding up, companies say they intend to hire more people this year.

But while those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Too many Americans are working harder and harder just to get by.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

Our job is to reverse those trends.  It’s time to restore opportunity for all people – the idea that no matter who you are, if you work hard and live up to your responsibilities, you can make it if you try.

The opportunity agenda I laid out on Tuesday has four parts. This week, I took them on the road.

Job one is more new jobs: jobs in construction and manufacturing, jobs in innovation and energy.

In Wisconsin, I talked with plant workers at GE about part two: training more Americans with the skills to fill those new jobs.

In Tennessee, I talked with students about part three: guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education, from early childhood, through college, and right into a career.

And with steelworkers in Pittsburgh, and retail workers in Maryland, I laid out part four: making sure hard work pays off for men and women, with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health insurance that’s there for you when you need it.

These ideas will strengthen the middle class and help more people work their way into the middle class.  Some of them will require Congress.  But wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families on my own, I will.  I’m going to ask business leaders, education leaders, and philanthropic leaders to partner with us to advance these goals.

And every single day, I’m going to fight for these priorities – to shift the odds back in favor of more working and middle-class Americans, and to keep America a place where you can always make it if you try.

Senator Kirk, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and Local officials highlight $18.5 Million in Anti-Gang Initiative Funding

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Peoria is home to more than 10 street gangs with 400+ total members

PEORIA, IL – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, Peoria County State’s Attorney Jerry Brady, Peoria Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tate Chambers and Peoria Park District ELITE Program Director Carl Cannon hosted a press conference to highlight $18.5 million in federal resources included in 2014 annual federal funding bill which was signed into law in January.

These federal resources are part of a more than six-month effort led by Senator Kirk to provide local law enforcement officials, prosecutors and communities with funding to fight “gangs of national significance.” More than 10 street gangs with a total of more than 400 gang members operate in Peoria according to the Peoria Police Department.

“Peoria gangs like Zone 4 and Bomb Squad bring murder and mayhem to our communities,” Senator Kirk said. “We need federal resources to back up local law enforcement to stop the spread of violence and drugs in our state.  Illinois leads the nation in per capita gang members, and we are a top distribution hub for heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine.  Mayor Ardis and other leaders are tackling this problem head on and I will work with them to make Peoria safer.”

Mayor Ardis and local leaders are spearheading an initiative called “DON’T SHOOT,” which aims to reduce gun and gang violence through a series of programs and citywide community education. Partners, including the FBI, ATF, IRS and Peoria Police Departments implement “focused deterrence,” which messages to at-risk communities, and ensures support from law enforcement and citywide professionals. A School Anti-Gun Violence program, a Community Outreach and Education program, and a Most Violent Offender program are also part of the Peoria initiatives. Cities which have tested these anti-violence and recidivism programs have seen a decrease in homicide and gun assaults by over 30 percent.

Below is a breakdown of law enforcement resources included in the 2014 omnibus appropriations act:

$18.5 Million to Fight Gangs of National Significance

·         $7.5 million for U.S. Marshals Service to operate anti-gang investigative units using their Regional Fugitive Task Force network.  Chicago is home to the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lake Regional Task Force Headquarters.

·         $8.5 million for Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction account (Project Safe Neighborhoods) under State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, “aimed at reducing homicides and gun-related violence crime in communities overwhelmed by gangs of national significance, and illegally trafficked and purchased guns.

·         $2.5 million in Gang and Youth Violence Education and Prevention in the Office of Juvenile Justice Programs.

Report from DOJ on its strategy to combat gangs of national significance, including best practices for arresting and prosecution large gangs and most effective prevention and intervention techniques.

Report focuses on gangs of national significance that are “linked across the country and internationally to trafficking drugs, guns, money and humans” and “include violence street gangs.”

Lifts hiring freeze at FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Attorney Offices.

·         ATF:  Total funding of $1.179 billion, an increase of more than 10 percent over the previous year’s funding to reduce violent crime and enforce firearms laws. Includes funding for “Violent Crime Impact Teams” which “focuses law enforcement’s attention on areas plagued by gang violence.” Includes updating and expanding the National Integrated Ballistic Imaging Network.

·         FBI:  Total funding of $8.343 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent over the previous fiscal year. $60 million increase to expand the existing capacity of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for firearm purchases.

·         DEA:  Total funding of $2.018 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent from the previous fiscal year.

·         Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Total funding of $214 million, an increase of 2 percent from the previous fiscal year.

·         State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance (includes JAG Byrne Grants): Total funding of $2.274 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous fiscal year.

US Attorneys: Total funding of $1.944 billion, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous fiscal year.

The Next Generation

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By William Spriggs


My “day” job is to train the next generation at Howard University and students who hopefully can fulfill the legacy of the likes of David Dinkins, Elijah Cummings  and Kamala Harris. February is normally a month to look back at because it is Black History Month. But I like to think of it as a time to look ahead, especially to the next generation of black leadership.

Last week, during his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said it was time to give America a raise. He announced he was doing his part, requiring new federal contractors to pay workers a minimum of $10.10 an hour. He called on Congress to follow the lead of local communities like SeaTac, Wash., and states like California that took big steps last year to raise the wages of America’s workers.

Unfortunately, President Obama didn’t acknowledge the brave efforts of America’s workers to fight for a wage increase-whether the historic walkouts by fast-food workers, or the bravery of Walmart workers who risk their jobs in a jobless economy. It would have been a great moment to acknowledge the rising tide of history, where America’s workers are pushing back against crushing inequality.

While the president missed this moment, the nation got a glimpse of a new generation of leaders. Kain Colter, quarterback for Northwestern University’s football team, announced efforts by the Northwestern football team to form a union. He is a young man directly in the shadow of Curt Flood, who fought Major League Baseball all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to break the hold owners had on baseball players’ careers and open the flood gate of free agency and unionization for professional athletes.

But, more importantly, Colter is also following a path blazed by A. Philip Randolph, who organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and joined together civil rights and workers’ rights in one blow for justice. This past August, the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of Randolph’s triumphant March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His union fought from 1925 to 1937 to sign a contract with the Pullman Company. At the time, many refused to see the value of their work, believing the tips the men earned was adequate reward.

Many scoff at Colter’s case to organize student athletes, arguing that scholarship athletes should be grateful for their educational opportunities and are not employees, so they do not deserve a place at a bargaining table. But most fully understand that a long time ago colleges crossed the line between the educational value of healthy minds and healthy bodies and the pursuit of athletic excellence to cold hard business. College football at the NCAA Bowl Sub-Division level is a multibillion-dollar industry with spin-offs from the licensing of athletic wear to video games. Simply not paying athletes does not make this part of the “educational” program.

Colter has raised the same issues unions raise-worker safety, worker welfare and workers’ voices in determining working conditions. It is a great business model to have million-dollar coaches and million-dollar TV contracts and silent performers. My own experience as a labor leader grew out of a move by some departments at the University of Wisconsin to require teaching as part of their graduate degree program, and to transform their paid teaching assistants into students paying to teach. The model of many research universities is to use teaching assistants as a low-cost way to cover freshman- and sophomore-level courses. Many state labor laws recognize this, and allow teaching assistants to unionize, refusing to put the veil of faculty governance and academic standards over a business model choice.

Whether Colter succeeds is secondary to acknowledging a new generation prepared to take on the mantle of leaders like Arlene Holt Baker, who last year retired as executive vice president of the AFL-CIO. He assures us that there will be a continuation in the struggle for workers’ rights.

President Obama should note the workers and students who are fighting now to change the path of inequality in America. In his State of the Union address, the president said that inequality was growing for nearly 30 years before the Great Recession. But, while he only mentioned technological change and global competition as causes, America’s working families know the problem runs deeper. As Colter shows us, they know the path to prosperity will change through organizing to change the rules of the game.

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs. Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142

Collins, colleagues wear red for heart disease awareness

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Along with colleagues, staff and visitors to the Capitol, Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th), co-chairwoman of the Illinois Conference of Women Legislators, wore red to promote awareness of the number one cause of death in women: heart disease.

“As women, we should be aware that heart disease claims more of our sisters’ lives than all forms of cancer combined, and a woman is even more likely to die of heart disease than a man,” Collins said. “COWL is proud to partner with the American Heart Association again this year to encourage women to know their risk factors, talk to their doctors and adopt healthy lifestyles.”

An estimated 43 million women in the United States suffer from heart disease each year, and cardiovascular disease kills one American woman every minute. While 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease, only 20 percent identify it as their greatest health threat. Women are still underrepresented in clinical trials pertaining to heart disease and are less likely to call 911 when they themselves are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack than when another person reports symptoms. The gap between the survival rates of men and women with heart disease continues to widen each year.

Both male and female legislators wearing red suits, dresses, ties and lapel pins gathered in the rotunda before the governor’s State of the State address to show their support for the Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement, which is sponsoring its tenth annual National Wear Red Day on February 7.

Illinois Road Conditions Improve Statewide; Motorists Still Advised to Take it Slow

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Snow, Ice, Freezing Rain Cause Slick and Dangerous Travel

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced that the condition of roads and bridges are improving in some areas, but motorists are still advised to use extreme caution when travelling in Illinois. Currently, the majority of state routes have ice and snow patches, with areas from Effingham to Champaign and Jacksonville to Springfield snow and ice covered.

Roads are slick and dangerous in impacted areas, and motorists should only travel if absolutely necessary.

IDOT has more than 860 trucks and more than 1,100 employees assigned to impacted areas to remove snow and ice from state routes to help ensure the safety of the motoring public. Due to current weather conditions, IDOT encourages motorists who must travel to check the latest winter road conditions and road closures at www.gettingaroundillinois.com. Currently, all roads are open. However, the Cave in Rock, Kampsville and Brussels Ferries are closed due to ice. IDOT will continue to monitor the winter weather statewide and respond accordingly.

“IDOT winter weather crews are seeing road conditions improve, but are still out in full force clearing snow and ice from impacted areas,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Temperatures are expected to drop, which will create very slick and dangerous road conditions. Motorists are advised to only travel if absolutely necessary, to take it slow, give plow drivers plenty of room to work, buckle up and avoid distractions when behind the wheel.”

Drivers are reminded to exercise caution when snow and ice affect roadways, and IDOT advises travel only when absolutely necessary during winter storms or when temperatures are extremely low. During the severely cold weather expected, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises that Illinois residents limit exposure to cold temperatures, dress in layers, check in on others who may need additional assistance, keep vehicles in good repair, and bring pets indoors.

For a list of warming centers in Illinois, visit

http://www2.illinois.gov/KeepWarm/Pages/warmingcenter.aspx. Those traveling by Amtrak trains are encouraged to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices.

Safety tips to remember:

· Allow extra time for travel during the winter months.

· Don’t crowd the plow – a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.

· Be aware that black ice can form on roads that appear clear and the unseen ice can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, which is often invisible.

· Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.

· Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary – if you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.

· Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.

· Carry a few extra blankets in your car, and perhaps an extra coat to ensure protection in case of a breakdown.

· Carry a cell phone and dial *999 for roadway assistance in case of emergency (but remember using handheld phones while driving is illegal if it is not an emergency situation).

· Always wear a seat belt, front seat or back – it’s the law.

· Check travel and road conditions routinely before any trip. You can get road condition information by calling 1-800-452-IDOT (4368), Illinois Tollway information by calling 1-800-TOLL-FYI or online at www.gettingaroundillinois.com and click on the “winter road conditions” icon.

CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General Madigan alerts families to dangers of TV tip-over accidents

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

In Recognition of National TV Safety Day, Madigan issues guidelines for securing TVs at home

CHICAGO, IL ─ In recognition of National TV Safety Day, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is alerting Illinois parents and caregivers about the serious risk for injury and death due to television tip-over accidents.

Madigan issued the alert in light of an increasing number of television tip-over accidents recently reported, including the tragic death of a 4-year-old Aurora girl this week. Studies show that every 45 minutes a child visits an emergency room because of a tip-over accident, and every three weeks, a child dies from a television tipping over. A majority of these children are five years old or younger.

Madigan urged families to follow guidelines provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to secure televisions in their homes:

  • Anchor televisions and furniture to the wall or floor;
  • Place televisions on sturdy, low-base stands or furniture, or anchor the furniture and the television on its base, and push the television as far back to the wall as possible;
  • Keep remote controls, toys and other items of interest to children off of television stands or furniture;
  • Keep television and cable cords out of reach; and
  • Ensure that freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

“It’s important for parents to learn about these hidden hazards in our homes,” Madigan said. “I encourage anyone living with small children to take time this weekend to safeguard their homes from these potential dangers.”

As more families purchase flat-screen televisions, their older, heavier television models are moved to bedrooms or basements where children may play unsupervised. The increase in injuries prompted Madigan and other safety advocates in Illinois to launch an awareness campaign to alert families to the risks of tip-over accidents. To view or download a copy of the Illinois Safe Home Coalition’s Furniture Tip-Over Awareness poster, visit Madigan’s website.

In observance of National TV Safety Day on Saturday, Safe Kids Worldwide is teaming up with Consumer Electronics Association to make homes safer by encouraging families to recycle older cathode ray tube televisions, which can be a hazard if not placed on a low, stable piece of furniture. For information regarding recycling televisions, visit the Safe Kids website.

Consumers seeking more information on the risk of furniture tip-over or copies of the poster should contact Madigan’s Product Recall Hotline at (888) 414-7678, TTY (800) 964-3012 and (866) 310-8398 for Spanish speakers.

Elmwood Park man charged in child pornography case

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

An Elmwood Park man has been charged with distribution and possession of child pornography after investigators recovered numerous images and videos depicting children engaging in sex acts on a computer in his home, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Jason Olson, 39, of the 2100 block of North 73rd Ave., was charged with one count of Child Pornography/Dissemination (Class X Felony) and four counts of Child Pornography: two Class 2 Felonies (moving images) and two Class 3 Felonies (still depictions by computer).

According to prosecutors, a search warrant was executed at Olson’s residence following an investigation by Cook County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Elmwood Park and Bartlett Police Departments. During the search, investigators recovered a computer from Olson’s residence and a forensic review of the computer revealed numerous downloaded video and picture files depicting young children engaging in a variety of sex acts.

Olson was arrested by Elmwood Park Police on Wednesday (Jan. 29) and appeared in bond court at the Maywood Courthouse where his bond was set at $200,000 by Judge Kristyna Ryan. Olson’s next court date is Feb. 19 in Room 102 at the Maywood Courthouse.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office administers the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which investigates and prosecutes criminal acts such as child pornography, sexual solicitation of a child or missing child investigations. The task force also offers guidance and information for parents and educators on internet safety.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Simon announces tax transparency tool

Posted by Admin On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Lt. Governor highlights need for increased government accountability, openness

CHICAGO, IL – When Illinoisans file their taxes online this year, they will receive a receipt that shows how their money is spent, thanks to the work of Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and the Illinois Department of Revenue.

“This is about transparency, openness and accountability,” said Simon. “If you receive a receipt for a $5 purchase at a gas station you should be able to get one for your income taxes. The people of Illinois deserve to know where there money is going and how it’s being spent.”

Since introducing the idea in spring of 2013, Simon has worked with the Illinois Department of Revenue and Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) to develop an income tax receipt to shine a light on government spending and increase public awareness. The option to view the new receipt appears after an e-filer submits their IL-1040.

Taxpayers will enter the amount of state income taxes paid and a calculator estimates how the money is divvied up between education, public safety, and other general revenue expenditures. For example, an Illinoisan who paid $1,000 in state income taxes would see a helpful table and pie chart showing that $237.44 went to education, $145.02 to pensions and $41.07 to public safety during the past fiscal year.

January 31 was the first day the Department of Revenue accepted e-filed returns at http://tax.illinois.gov. Nearly 500,000 tax returns were e-filed on the Department’s website last year. People who file on paper or by using other e-filing software or services can view the receipt online here.

“This won’t make filing your taxes more fun, but it will be more informative,” Simon added. “After almost a year of hard work and development from the Department of Revenue and GOMB, I am happy to see this useful tool become available. More transparency is always a step in the right direction.”

Simon has been leading by example when it comes to increased transparency. Each spring, she and her senior staff release personal financial statements that go above and beyond what is required by law. The disclosures empower the public to learn if these officials are serving taxpayers’ interests, or if they harbor any conflicts of interest.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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