Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shiller's 911 Calls, a Baseball Bat, and Silence (Updated)

(Photo: CNB file image of N. Broadway and W. Wilson, taken August 2009; click to enlarge) An odd incident occurred at Alderman Helen Shiller's office, 4533 N. Broadway in Uptown, happened at 11:18 a.m. Police removed a homeless man from the ward office without incident, but Shiller's staff refused to say why the police were called to handle a man thought to be homeless. (See related post, "Cops Called to Ald. Shiller's Office, Staff Mum.") Shiller's chief of staff, Denice Davis, told Chicago News Bench that it was "none of your business" why an emergency call was made to the police. Despite Shiller's staff's reluctance to discuss an emergency call for help at an elected official's public service office, Chicago News Bench has obtained confirmation that the incident did in fact happen. A Chicago police officer with the 23rd District sent this message by email on the morning of Nov. 4: "On the 3rd at 1118 Hrs 23rd District units were dispatched to Ald. Shiller's office to handle a disturbance. The tactical restored peace and left. The disturbance is alleged to have involved a homeless male....That is the information available on our call system." THE SECOND INCIDENT happened in mid-afternoon. Trustworthy sources in Uptown told Chicago News Bench today that Alderman Shiller herself is believed to have phone 911 around 3:00 p.m. Our source, who heard the afternoon calls go out on a police scanner, told us that "a couple of Hispanic men" were reportedly harassing people in Shiller's ward office. CORRCTION/RETRACTION, Nov. 5: Upon further investigation, we have determined that our source was mistaken about the so-called second incident, said to have happened on the afternoon of Nov. 3. We regret any confusion. One of the peculiar things about Shiller's ward office is the baseball bat openly displayed just behind the front desk. Unless the staff is always ready to play an inning of ball at a moment's notice, there is probably only one reason for that bat to be there: Defense. Shiller's office is located in a very rough part of a rough neighborhood, plagued with violence. In fact, it was only last week, on Thursday, Oct. 28, that a shooting occurred across the street from Shiller's office. "A mid-afternoon shooting in Uptown sent pedestrians near the corner of Broadway and Wilson diving for cover, and bullets smashing into the windows of the Wilson-Broadway Currency Exchange at 4599 N. Broadway," according to Lake Effect News. According to reporter Lorraine Swanson, "Twenty-third District police swarmed the scene around 2:15 p.m. Thursday. Witnesses said that four males began shooting across the Broadway and Wilson intersection with no regard for traffic or pedestrians at a person standing near the currency exchange. A mother and her three children dove for cover on the sidewalk, as bullets slammed into the currency exchange’s windows, witnesses said." (Photo: Lake Effect News) The October 29, 2009 shooting is by no means the first shooting at or close to the intersection of Broadway and Wilson. A smart gambler would bet that it won't be the last. Alderman Shiller tried to downplay the 2:02 p.m. October 29 shooting, insisting that the gunmen were not shooting at anybody in particular. That's not only a ridiculous statement, it is patently untrue. Chicago police officers told the Beat 2311 CAPS meeting on Nov. 3 that the shooters "were shooting at each other." The officers said that another shooting happened about two hours later in the course of a narcotics-related chase and arrest in Clarendon Park, about half a mile east of the currency exchange shooting. The officers said they did not know whether the two shooting incidents on Oct. 29 were related. Shiller's staff is typical of Shiller herself. Reluctance to discuss crime and violence, even that which occurs inside of and across the street from her own ward office, for example. Shiller's dismissal of the October 29 shooting as nothing more than harmless hijinx is also in character. At last night's CAPS meeting, Shiller's chief of staff (Denice Davis) tried to shout me down as I asked the police for information about the 911 call to Shiller's office that morning. This is the behavior and attitude - indeed, the mentality - that has cost Shiller so much support in her 46th Ward. Her virtual silence on the issue of violence is deafening. Uptown's silent scream of frustration, however, will be given a loud voice in late summer of 2010, when the aldermanic campaigning will reach a crescendo. After 22 years in office, it's now widely believed that Helen Shiller cannot win another term. RELATED: Cops Called to Ald. Shiller's Office, Staff Mum (Updated) Conservative Caps, Shirt and more! Leave a Comment - Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Visit us on Twitter!