Sadly, Chicago’s soft-on-crime policies led to the death of Police District Commander Paul Bauer (pictured above) in downtown Chicago Tuesday afternoon. A career bad guy, wearing body armor and carrying an illegal gun in the heart of Rahm's paradise, ran from police. Minutes later, Commander Bauer saw the suspect. Even though off-duty, he sprang into action to help his fellow officers and to protect his fellow residents.
After some shouting, witnesses say the offender produced a gun and fired as many as five times. Not long after, the officer was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Hello Illinois General Assembly, and the Cook County Criminal Justice System: His death is on your hands. On your watch.
Our state's political leaders lack the will to put career criminals in prison and keep them there.
And because of that, some ne'er-do-well stole a good man's life.
And on the eve of Valentine’s Day, his little girl lost her dad and his wife lost her husband.
Actually, the day's events all began in 1998. Police report that the suspect had a long felony record which included gun charges, armed robbery and unlawful use of body armor dating back to last century. Go figure, right? Yet despite those convictions and Illinois’ strict gun control laws, this predator still prowled the heart of Rahm’s paradise with a pistol while wearing body armor.
The Chicago Sun-Times outlined the career criminal’s history:
The 44-year-old suspect’s felony record goes back to 1998, when he was charged with armed robbery. He was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
In 2007, the man was charged with being a felon in possession of body armor, possession of a defaced firearm and possession of heroin. He got three years in prison on the gun charge, records show.
In 2011, he was charged with resisting an officer and battery. He was convicted of battery and given 30 days of community service, records show.
Finally, the suspect was convicted of drug possession in 2014 and received a two-year prison term.
Meanwhile, Commander Bauer stood out as bold cop and beloved leader among his officers. He also spoke the truth to residents of his Near North district. “Even when we catch somebody,” he admitted at one meeting, “there’s still a long way to go to get them off the street.”
He publicly criticized Cook County prosecutors and judges for the revolving door justice system. Career criminals, caught at long last, would soon return to the streets only to victimize still more innocent people. From one such meeting reported by the Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown blog:
Another man, named Willie, previously convicted for numerous burglaries, was caught but allowed back on the street three days later, electronically monitored, such as an ankle monitor, while waiting for court dates.
…In August, Chief Judge Timothy Evans replaced all the judges who presided over bond hearings in Cook County and directed new judges to set bail in amounts more affordable to defendants. This is at odds with Chicago police, who would prefer to see higher bail amounts for career criminals.
“That guy, Willie, he’s a case in point. He needs a high bond. We got him for a number of burglaries. He’s on parole for burglary. He needs to sit. We got to get him off the street. It’s just like if you have kids, if there’s no consequences to your action, those actions are going to repeat.”
Bauer also publicly criticized the Cook County Sheriff for emptying the jail of bad folks.
“The Sheriff of Cook County, for whatever reason, is very proud of the fact he has reduced the population of the county jail. Maybe I’m jaded, I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of.”
Bauer would like to see more career criminals in jail. “You can say, we don’t know if that’s going to reduce recidivism. This is how I look at it, I want them off the street. We’re not talking about the guy that stole a loaf of bread from the store to feed his family. We’re talking about career robbers, burglars, drug dealers. These are all crimes against the community. They need to be off the street.”
It is frustration police deal with every day as they try to make communities safe, says Bauer.
“This has been going on for quite some time but it’s getting worse.”
Indeed. Most of Chicago PD’s brass love to blame the ever-popular “guns” for the violence and crime in their city. Then again, most of the brass owe their positions and future promotions to politically connected people. Obviously Bauer was not one of those.
No, he didn't blame guns. Or promote softening penalties on violent criminals like these two:
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was a major cheerleader. From a 2015 Chicago Tribune story:
"Anyone who can remember their teenage years or knows a teenager knows teens are impulsive. They don't think of the consequences of their actions," Preckwinkle said. "Knowing about teenage behavior told us that it was the right thing to do, to create a separate system to keep juveniles focused on rehabilitation for everything except the most serious crimes."
And State Senator Kwame Raoul of Chicago was a driving force in Springfield, telling the Tribune.
"We need to shift to a more individualized assessment of an offender," said sponsoring Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago. "Anybody who is charged and convicted is not the same as someone else charged. The facts are different, the background is different, the culpability can be different. So when you tie a judge's hands, the judge can't say if this kid would be better served if kept in juvenile court."