CHICAGO — If you ride the CTA, you’ve undoubtedly heard the recorded message that warns ne’er do wells that crimes committed on Chicago’s transit system will be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
In reality, that does not appear to be the case. Check out what happened with two men charged with separate robberies aboard CTA trains this month.
Free to go
After a man was physically attacked and robbed on a Blue Line train earlier this month, Chicago police detectives released surveillance images of the suspects, hoping someone would identify the perpetrators.
Within days, an 18-year-old man turned himself in to face charges.
He was set free within 24 hours to await trial because prosecutors didn’t even ask a judge to keep him in custody.
The robbery occurred on a Blue Line train around 12:35 p.m. on November 14. Chicago police said two men approached a North Lake man and began kicking and hitting him. They took his phone and fled when the train stopped at Cicero, according to CPD.
Chicago police detectives pulled surveillance images of two suspects from CTA video footage and distributed the pictures to the media.
Shannon Davis and a 17-year-old boy turned themselves in at CPD’s Austin (15th) District station on November 20.
In his arrest report, police said Davis identified himself and the 17-year-old as the people seen in the images that CPD released to the public. The report said the victim also identified Davis.
Davis appeared before Judge David Kelly the next day on charges of robbery and aggravated battery of a transit passenger. A Chicago police spokesperson said the 17-year-old faces identical charges in juvenile court.
But court records show prosecutors didn’t even file a petition asking the judge to keep Davis in custody.
Instead, Kelly released Davis with instructions to show up for court and avoid contact with the victim. Davis is not required to observe a curfew or wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, either.
Detention not requested
At about 7:30 p.m. on October 29, a 15-year-old boy was robbed as he rode the Blue Line near Jackson, according to a CPD report.
The robber displayed a black handgun and said something to the effect of “Give me your stuff, or I will shoot this b**ch up,” the report stated. After getting the boy’s iPhone and AirPods, the robber fled.
Chicago police transit officers arrested 18-year-old Aaron Bermudez in the 300 block of South State a few days later. In his arrest report, they said they recognized him as the person who had been identified as the robber.
Prosecutors charged him with armed robbery with a firearm, a Class X felony. But they did not ask Judge Susana Ortiz to keep him in jail to await trial, court records show. So, Ortiz released him on electronic monitoring.
Bermudez was on pretrial release for a pending misdemeanor retail theft case at the time of the October 29 robbery. According to court records, prosecutors dropped the charge on October 31, even though he didn’t show up for court.