Judge refuses to detain man accused of carjacking Uber driver at gunpoint

Tamar Moses (Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — A Cook County judge refused to detain a Chicago man accused of carjacking an Uber driver, even though the man had been arrested for felony gun possession and fleeing police just five days earlier, according to court records.

Tamar Moses, 18, was arrested by Maywood police on April 9 after he allegedly sped away from a traffic stop, struck an unmarked squad car, and was found in possession of a loaded handgun.

Under provisions of Illinois’ criminal justice overhaul legislation called the SAFE-T Act, Moses was released from the police station without being brought before a judge, the court files say.

Just five days later, Chicago police arrested Moses after he was identified as one of two people who fired a handgun while carjacking an Uber driver on the West Side, a CPD arrest report said. The alleged hijacking occurred late on April 8, about three hours before Maywood police arrested Moses.

However, prosecutors didn’t tell Kelly about the gunfire allegations during Moses’ detention hearing, according to a transcript of the proceedings.

According to the CPD report, a 37-year-old Uber driver picked Moses and another person up in the 100 block of North Waller, the same block where Moses lives, around 11:30 p.m. As they neared the drop-off point, one of the hijackers fired a gun and ordered the driver to get out, the arrest report said.

Moses allegedly took control of the victim’s Hyundai and drove away. According to documents submitted by the prosecutors in the Maywood and city cases, Moses was driving the Uber driver’s Hyundai when he allegedly fled from Maywood police.

But prosecutors gave Kelly a different version of events in court. They said three men entered the Uber, with Moses sitting behind the driver. As the passengers settled in, the driver heard the sound of a gun cocking and felt what he believed to be a gun poking into his back, prosecutors said in court.

Moses allegedly told the victim to drive, but the victim declined. He demanded the man’s wallet and then ordered him to transfer money via banking apps, prosecutors alleged in court. The victim refused to do any of that and bailed out of the car, according to what prosecutors told Kelly.

When he looked back, he saw the three passengers get out of his car, and Moses was trying to drive away with the vehicle, prosecutors told Kelly. The Uber driver ran back to his vehicle, managed to speed away, and called the police.

After hearing the state’s presentation, Kelly revealed that he had read the police report and noticed it contained much different information.

“I don’t know why the state didn’t proffer this: While the victim was driving in the south alley of 5301 West Madison to drop off—to the drop-off location, offenders discharged a handgun and told the victim driver to get out,” Kelly said, reading from the police report. “[Moses] then took control of victim driver’s vehicle and drove off. That was never proffered to me. I don’t know if it’s related to this incident or if it’s related to another incident, but it was not proffered to this Court today with respect to the offense of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm as it relates to Mr. Tamar Moses.”

Kelly went so far as to say that the version prosecutors presented in court didn’t even include elements necessary to charge Moses with vehicular hijacking.

Kelly rejected the petition and released Moses with a 24-hour curfew, according to the transcript.

“I don’t know what’s going on in your life,” Kelly told Moses at the end of the hearing, “but whatever it is, it’s got to change immediately.”

This story is made possible by contributions to the Cook County Courtroom Transparency Fund.

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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