Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Alderman Shiller's Bloody Hands

Yesterday, The Bench asked "Why Did Ald. Shiller Vouch for This Guy???" Seems the aging radical Helen Shiller - known for not being cop-friendly - went to bat for one cop. Trouble is, that person has a questionable incident (to put it lightly) in his/her background. The Sun-Times reported on it yesterday, noting that "Dozens of applicants made the hire list despite drug records, battery arrests and rejections from other departments." They cited three Chicago alderman as patrons of some of those rejected: Three were endorsed by aldermen despite prior problems with the law. Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) backed a woman arrested for impeding a shooting investigation; Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) vouched for a man who threatened to shoot someone, and Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) supported a man who sold drugs in the late 1990s. Today, the good folks at Uptown Update note that "There's At Least One Cop Ald. Shiller Approves Of." UU notes: There's a widespread assumption that Ald. Shiller is thumbs-down on the CPD. Let us count the reasons why.... Her non-appearance at CAPS meetings (unless they're sham meetings at election time that the mayor can attend). Her remarks that CAPS is elitist and discriminatory. Her son's willingness to sue the CPD, even when the evidence is flimsy or non-existent. Her support of Couraj, which has spawned the Copwatch program and has been sued by the police for making false accusations against police officers. Her bias against blue light police cameras. Remember that triple (yes, triple) shooting on August 29 in the 4800 block of N. Sheridan? That corner of Shiller's ward is well known as a major trouble spot. Yet Shiller has fought, screaming and kicking over the years, to PREVENT a police camera from being installed at the nearby intersection at W. Lawrence, just a couple hundred feet from the shooting. Drug transactions, pickpocketing, sidewalk defecation and aggressive panhandling regularly occur there. Shiller has described both the police cameras and CAPS as being "anti-poor people," a sentiment that is bigoted in its assumption that only poor people break the law. Shiller draws much of her political support from CHA residents. One week ago, I attended a CAPS meeting for Beat 2311. Near the end of the meeting, Aqueela Ali blamed "Jim Crow laws" for breaking up families. There were a few horrified gasps from the mostly white group of 40 attendees. What Ali meant was clear: Whitey is to blame for the shootings, the wife beatings, the drug selling, the drug usage, rampant alcoholism, teenage prostitution, the utter lack of parental supervision, the raging epidemic of teens having babies, the multi-generational habitation of public housing, and on and on and on. Alderman Shiller supports this mindset with her opposition to more police presence. She does it to appease a large voting bloc. It is not "Jim Crow laws" that are tearing families apart, as Aqueela Ali said at the Beat 2311 CAPS meeting. It is the gangs. It is the lack of family unity. It is the constant drum beat of - and embracing of - victimhood. I was at the scene of Pittman's murder at 4:00 p.m., August 29, half an hour after he was killed. Later that evening, I observed a makeshift memorial where Pittman died, one young woman yelled at us, "What you lookin' at, why you still here? Why don't you go up the street and ask why this happened!" The answer is not up the street, I felt like telling her, I'm looking at why this happened. It happened because Tim was killed - and two others were shot - by a black gunman in the prime of his life. It happened because parents have not instilled values and respect for human life in their children. It happened not because there didn't happen to be a cop standing there expecting somebody to start shooting at Tim, it happened because a young black man made the conscious choice to kill. It did not happen because a gun decided to kill; it happened because a man decided to use a weapon, in this case a gun, to murder. The gunman might just as well killed with a knife or a blunt instrument, which happens commonly. Tim Pittman was murdered because people like the girl who yelled at me cannot see that their own community honors and respects and breeds and gives refuge to people like the man who killed Timothy Pittman. Alderman Helen Shiller is one of the those people. She both encourages such behavior and shuns the police who try to keep all of us safe, the same police who might have saved Tim Pittman's life. Had Shiller been less disdainful of CAPS and more willing to encourage the policing of her ward, Timothy Pittman - and perhaps others - might be alive today. They might not be in prison. They might not be in gangs. They might not be dealing drugs. They might not be life-threatening dangers to their neighbors. "LAKESIDE'S FINEST" Ali, the self-appointed president of the Lakeside Square Apartments Tenants Association (LSATA), would probably describe herself as a "community organizer." Look up LSATA on the Internet and you will nothing except a few items where Ali is described as its president. It seems to have no official status. Helen Shiller, however, just loves LSATA and its "president." After all, Shiller gets much political support from Ali and her comrades on Lakeside. You remember Lakeside, right? That's where "Lakeside's Finest," Timothy Pittman, 19, lived before he was fatally shot on August 29 in the 4800 block on N. Sheridan just a few steps from Aqueela Ali's LSATA World Headquarters. Pittman had 12 arrests on his record, according to the police, and about half of those arrests were made within two blocks of where he was killed. "Lakeside's Finest" was surely known to Ms. Ali. Timonty Pittman was a neighbor who was involved with a bad sort of community organizers. Alderman Shiller's anti-CAPS stance, her anti-police attitude and her resistance to police cameras just might have enabled Pittman's string of criminal behavior and, ultimately, his tragic death. Helen Shiller and her supporters have blood on their hands as surely as the gunman who killed "Lakeside's Finest." RELATED: Uptown Update: The Ripple Effect Tribune Letter To The Editor: "Time For A Regime Change" Uptown Update: 46th Ward Office Experiences Broken Windows Uptown Update: Ald. Shiller Turns Her Back On Uptown Crime ... Why Did Ald. Shiller Vouch for This Guy??? Shiller’s critics praise her motives even as they turn up the heat Chicago Uptown Crime Blotter We Won't Put Up With It Uptown Residents Stage Anti-Crime Rally Uptown residents pack meeting to address crime Uptown Justice Group....Says Anti-Crime Group Opposes Low-Income