Anyone who has ridden a CTA bus or train has seen the signs: “For your protection, any person who commits a crime against a customer or employee of CTA will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” But, contrary to what the signs say, people who are accused of committing crimes on the CTA are often prosecuted at levels far below the law’s fullest extent.
Even the judge couldn’t believe that a man on probation for a felony would only face misdemeanor charges for allegedly having a loaded gun on a CTA platform. But that’s exactly what happened.
Chicago police responded to the Sheridan Red Line station around 9:15 Sunday morning after someone reported that a man had a pistol on the platform. When officers arrived, they saw a man on the platform who matched the suspect’s description. He was wearing a shiny black coat, and the cops asked him to show his hands, Assistant State’s Attorney Emin Drnovsek would later say.
Instead, the man, identified as 21-year-old Isaiah Crawford, ran down the stairs, fled from the station, and jumped a fence, Drnovsek said. Police ran after him and eventually arrested Crawford near Broadway and Irving Park Road. But his coat was missing.
Cops searched the nearby area and found Crawford’s shiny black coat on the roof of a garage along with a loaded handgun, according to Drnovsek.
Crawford is on probation for felony criminal damage to property, and he has a pending misdemeanor case for obstructing identification, Drnovsek told Judge Susana Ortiz during a bond hearing Monday morning.
“So, we have a felony conviction and allegedly in possession of a loaded firearm, but I’m setting bond on a misdemeanor,” Ortiz summarized. “Is that correct?”
“Your honor, he has a misdemeanor [unlawful use of a weapon] on this pending matter,” Drnovsek replied.
“Correct. And he has a felony conviction for criminal damage to property is what I’m being told,” Ortiz reasserted. “I just want to verify that I heard everything correctly.”
“Yes, your honor,” Drnovsek confirmed. “Correct.”
Ortiz then set Crawford’s bail at $5,000, meaning he must pay a $500 deposit to get out of jail.