Hold on: Much-hyped “first gun arrest of 2019” took place in 2018

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced the “first” gun recovery of 2019. | Facebook

At 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson walked before a collection of TV news cameras to announce his officers’ first gun confiscation and arrest of 2019.

“And two minutes after the new year comes in…there you go, our first illegal weapon,” Johnson said as a police supervisor and nearly a dozen street officers stand at his side.

The Sun-Times reported “At 12:01 a.m., officers who were on a routine patrol pulled [Darrell] Rhyme over for a routine traffic stop in the 6100 block of South Eberhart, police said.” The gun was recovered from Rhyme, according to police.

But, in news first reported this morning by Second City Cop [SCC], it turns out that the “first gun arrest of 2019” was actually made at 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

“The arresting officers were told to hold the arrest until 12:01 to ensure Eddie’s visit,” and “selfish recognition” for the district’s leadership, a source told SCC.

The blog suggested that the times of events may have been “adjusted” on reports to push everything into the new year.

Chicago police radio traffic from New Year’s Eve clearly shows police unit 363 in a foot chase near 62nd Street and South Eberhart beginning at 11:25 p.m.

Three minutes later, a dispatcher reports “OK. 63-David has one in custody at 6111 South Eberhart,” she notes the time: “twenty-three twenty-eight” or 11:28 p.m.

“63-Eddie. Offender in custody. Weapon recovered,” an officer confirms a short time later.

“10-4,” says the dispatcher, giving the time as “23:31 for that weapon recovered.”

“The reason we are here tonight,” Johnson would tell the media 90 minutes later, “is because…tactical team 363 got the first illegal weapon off the streets of Chicago at 12:02. Two minutes after midnight.” He tapped the gun, which was sealed in an evidence envelope on his podium.

Rhyme’s attorney is almost certain to use the police department’s false claims about the incident and the subsequent media blitz to impeach the work of hard-working street cops.
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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com