April , 2019

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Two gang members convicted of the murder of a Chicago Police Officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty in Chicago’s Englewood community have each been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison in a case prosecuted by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Kevin Walker, 24, and Christopher Harris, 25, were sentenced to the lengthy prison terms for the murder of Officer Alejandro “Alex” Valadez, who was fatally wounded while responding to a call of shots fired in 2009. Cook County Judge Jorge Alonso sentenced Walker to 120 years in prison and Harris was sentenced to 105 years in a hearing that took place March 19 at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago. A third defendant, Shawn Gaston, was convicted of the crime in 2011 and is serving a 125-year prison sentence.

Valadez was just 27 years old when he was struck down while he and his partner were investigating a report of gunshots fired in the 6000 block of South Hermitage in June of 2009. The three defendants were in the area seeking retaliation for an earlier confrontation with rival gang members when they came upon Officer Valadez who was responding to the call. The defendants began firing from their vehicle and Officer Valadez was struck in the head.

“These sentences should send a strong message to those gang members who want to take the law into their own hands and shoot up our streets. There is no place for this behavior on the streets of Chicago or in our society. You will be held accountable,” Alvarez said.

The murder of Officer Valadez served as a catalyst for the passage of tougher criminal penalties for gang members caught by police with loaded weapons. The State’s Attorney’s Office drafted and helped pass the “Valadez Law,” in 2010 which mandates a prison sentence for the crime of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Gang Member.

The law has proven to be an effective tool for police and prosecutors in the ongoing battle against gang and gun violence. Since its implementation, the Valadez Law has led to charges against more than 460 gang members with a conviction rate in those cases prosecuted of more than 90 percent.

State’s Attorney Alvarez, who led the prosecution for the trials of all three defendants in this case, thanked Assistant State’s Attorneys Frank Marek and Jeffrey Allen as well as the investigators and victim witness specialists from her office for their dedication and hard work. She also thanked the Chicago Police Department for their assistance and cooperation in the successful prosecution of this case.

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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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