|The Center on Halsted and Ukesone (Inset) | Wikipedia, Chicago Police Dept|
Just when you thought the antics at the Center on Halsted (COH) couldn’t get any crazier, they have. But, on the plus side, it looks like the sprawling social service agency will finally be sending one of its employees to court–but only because now he’s the one accused of committing the crime!
The COH security guard, who’s charged with battering an agency client, was just one of three arrests within a week inside the firm’s headquarters at 3656 North Halsted.
Neighbors have long urged the Center to send representatives to court when the organization or its employees are the victims of crimes.
The Center has publicly insisted that they do go to court when they’re the victims, but a 3-year review of court records recently found that the agency has no-showed in court 25 out of 26 times.
A Three-Pack Of Arrests
On November 25, a man was arrested at the Center on Halsted and charged with criminal trespassing, violation of bail bond, and two counts of resisting arrest.
|Lee | Chicago Police Dept|
A COH security guard told police that 21-year-old Tony Lee of South Chicago returned to the facility after being instructed to leave. Responding officers said they saw Lee walk into the building and tried to place him into custody for trespassing.
Lee resisted, and the officers had to utilize “emergency handcuffing techniques,” they said.
While searching Lee, the officers found an I-Bond that he was issued on November 17 after being arrested for trespassing at the Whole Foods, which is attached to the Center, police said.
|Casey | Chicago Police Dept|
The next day, a 24-year-old woman who lists the Howard Brown Health Center as her home, was arrested at the Center on Halsted for punching a 22-year-old man in the face.
Police said Tashena Casey “freely admitted” to hitting the man.
Casey was charged last February with battering a different man at the Center on Halsted, causing “lacerations and bruising,” but the victim did not show up in court, and the charge was dropped.
Then, there is the pièce de résistance.
At 4:20 p.m. last Monday, Center on Halsted security guard Adimabua Ukesone was arrested after a COH client told police that Ukesone battered him in an elevator.
The victim, a 29-year-old convicted prostitute with 23 cases on his Cook County criminal record, said Ukesone slapped his arm when he tried to video record Ukesone on the COH elevator.
Police stated that they inventoried “video evidence” in the case.
In addition to all of those arrests, the Center on Halsted was also the scene of at least two other violent incidents recently in which offenders managed to escape before they could be stopped, according to police records.
At 10:50 a.m. on November 27, a sizable fight broke out at the Center and at least one person was seen recording the battle on their phone. But, the main participants slipped away before police arrived and no charges have been filed.
Later that evening, around 7:40 p.m., a series of 911 callers reported seeing an armed security guard fighting with a man who tried to climb over a register at Whole Foods.
At least four people were believed to have been involved in the incident, including one who appeared to be armed with a handgun or pistol-like BB-gun, according to witnesses.
But, once again, the men escaped before being caught, and no charges have been filed.
It would seem that the Center’s policy of utilizing “restorative justice”–primarily “talking through” crimes with offenders and victims rather than pursuing a criminal case–isn’t working.
Maybe they should try something that is known to produce results. Maybe they should show up in court, so these people see that their behavior has consequences.
And maybe they should also come to this Wednesday’s community policing meeting to let neighbors know why the Center lied to them about their court policy. That’d be cool.