Proposed laws: No search warrants after 7 p.m.; Make stealing $1,999 a misdemeanor; more…

Chicago police would essentially be prohibited from executing search warrants before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m. under an ordinance that has the support of at least five aldermen.

The thresholds for thefts to be considered a felony in Illinois would increase by a factor of at least 6 — from $300 and $500 to $2000 — under a proposed state law.

Under another proposed law, citizens of the city and Cook County would finally have mechanisms to recall Chicago’s mayor, Chicago aldermen, and the Cook County State’s Attorney.

Hey, one out of three ain’t bad.

Friendly Raids

Earlier this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Supt. David Brown announced changes to the police department’s search warrant policies in response to a mistaken raid on Anjanette Young’s home.

Changes include requiring on-site supervision of raids by a lieutenant, requiring a female officer to be at the scene of all search warrant actions, and automatic review of “wrong raids,” according to the city.

CPD now requires a deputy chief or higher to sign off on search warrants, and no-knock warrants are banned except when there’s a danger to life or safety.

But some aldermen want even more changes — going so far as to essentially limit the execution of residential search warrants to business hours.

“The execution of all residential search warrants must be conducted between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., absent verifiable exigent circumstances,” the proposed ordinance says. Police would also be required to take “all available measures to avoid executing the warrant when children…are present.”

Cops would also be required to wait “no less than 30 seconds” for someone to flush evidence down the toilet. Sorry, that’s a typo. Cops would have to wait “no less than 30 seconds” for someone to answer the door at search sites.

The ordinance would also require CPD to publish a long list of details about every residential search, including the address, demographic information of everyone who’s home during the raid, and more.

Also among the 20 itemized requirements of the legislation: officers must wear body cameras during raids; officers “must take all available measures to avoid damage” to property, and cops cannot question children unless it’s necessary to protect people in the home from harm.

$2,000 for a felony

Two bills in the Illinois House would sharply increase the amount of property or money that someone can steal without facing felony charges.

Both laws propose $2,000 as the new cut-off point. One bill focuses on retail theft, increasing the felony threshold from $300.

The other law increases retail theft and most other kinds of theft to $2,000 from current thresholds of $300 and $500 respectively.

The laws would also limit prosecutors’ ability to upgrade theft charges to felonies based on the accused’s criminal background.

After taking office in 2016, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx ordered prosecutors in her office not to pursue felony shoplifting charges against individuals unless the value of the stolen merchandise exceeds $1,000 or the accused has more than ten felony convictions.

An analysis of Chicago police records by CWBChicago in October 2019 found retail theft reports were up 20% across the city since Foxx took office.

Along the posh Rush Street shopping district, reported incidents more than doubled. And on State Street, famed in movie and song for its shopping opportunities, retail theft cases were up 32%.

Theft reports of all kinds declined sharply last year as shopping habits changed during the COVID pandemic, and downtown stores were closed by waves of looting in the spring and summer.

Recall potential

The “Laquan McDonald Law,” proposed by Illinois Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, a Democrat from Naperville, would establish a procedure for voters to recall Chicago’s mayor, aldermen, and the Cook County State’s Attorney.

As of Monday afternoon, 426 people had submitted witness slips to express their support of the law, according to the Illinois General Assembly website. Only eight people expressed opposition.

With overwhelming support like that, it is almost certainly doomed.

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About CWBChicago 5781 Articles
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