CHICAGO — A man who has been charged with crimes twice since Illinois’ cashless bail system debuted in mid-September—and was released to await trial both times—struck out on Saturday when prosecutors accused him of committing armed robbery.
Judge Charles Beach ordered Emmanuel Hart, 28, detained to await trial after prosecutors explained that, while the victim was surrounded and robbed by about 10 people, he was able to identify Hart by his distinctive facial tattoos.
The victim was riding his bike home from work on Friday when two women asked him if he wanted to buy some pot in the 800 block of North St. Louis. He declined, and a group of men suddenly surrounded him.
Hart punched the victim in the face when he tried to stop Hart from stealing things from his pockets, prosecutors said. The man again tried to get his things back, including about $580 in cash, but he backed off when someone in the group lifted their shirt to display a firearm, according to officials.
Prosecutors said he rode off on his bike and reported the robbery to a Chicago police unit that was about a block away. The cops searched the area and spotted Hart, who allegedly ran away while grabbing his waist. Officers arrested him nearby.
“That’s definitely him,” the victim allegedly told the officers after noticing Hart’s face tattoos, which include a large dollar sign between his eyes.
But Hart’s defense attorney argued that police set out looking for Black men wearing black clothing and ski masks, a description she claimed was too general and could describe many people in the neighborhood.
Facial tattoos are also common in Hart’s neighborhood, she said, and Hart is not accused of possessing any robbery proceeds.
He is charged with armed robbery, robbery, and aggravated robbery.
Judge Beach granted the state’s detention petition for the robbery allegations. He also noted that Hart was on pretrial release for two other cases.
On September 28, the tenth day of no-cash bail in Illinois, Judge Barbara Dawkins released Hart after he was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing to a vehicle. Less than a week later, he was charged with two felony narcotics charges, according to court records.
Prosecutors subsequently asked Judge Peter Gonzalez to revoke Hart’s pretrial release in the trespassing case, but he rejected the request, and Hart went home again.
In light of the new robbery charges, Gonzalez will again be asked to revoke Hart’s pretrial release on Thursday.