Originally Posted By: CWB Chicago

Over half of murder cases Chicago police ‘cleared’ last year didn’t result in prosecution. Here are some of them.

June 10, 2022 CWB Chicago

The Chicago Police Department announced on June 1 that its Bureau of Detectives had “cleared” 139 murder cases so far in 2022. “A homicide clearance rate of 58%,” the press release said.

But “clearing” a murder does not mean someone is charged with the murder. CPD can also “clear” a homicide if it believes the killer has died or if it’s confident about the case, but the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office refuses to pursue charges.

In fact only 63% of the 82 murders CPD cleared in the first three months of this year resulted in charges being filed, according to records provided to CWBChicago in a Freedom of Information Act request. Prosecutors refused to charge in 26% of the cases and 11% of the alleged killers were deceased.

And many of the cleared cases that are contributing to the department’s clearance rate are old. Five of the 82 murders cleared as of March 30 were committed before 2001. Another 19 were committed between 2003 and 2019.

Last year, CPD “cleared” 400 murder cases. Slightly fewer than half of those — 196 — were cleared by filing charges. Prosecutors refused to prosecute 136 cases and another 68 cases were cleared because the suspected murder was dead.

Six of last year’s cleared murders occurred before 2001. None of those was cleared by filing charges. Another 121 occurred from 2001 to 2019. Only 19 of those were cleared by filing charges. Per CPD’s records, 43 of last year’s cases were cleared by “death of offender” and 59 by “bar to prosecute,” meaning the state’s attorney’s office declined to pursue charges.

We wanted to learn more about the cases that CPD cleared without prosecution. Today, we begin a recurring series about what we found.

An admission

Nayya Malik Z. Thames-El, 22, was shot and killed as he sat in a car on the 5200 block of West Newport on the evening of April 16, 2020. Police said he was shot in the leg, arm, and head. The driver of the car he was in took him to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he died.

Nearly 18 months later, homicide detectives met with 20-year-old named Alexander Martinez in a CPD interview room and read him the Miranda warning, according to police records. Martinez allegedly waived his right to remain silent and provided a video recorded interview.

According to a police summary of the interview, Martinez admitted to taking part the homicide. He told cops he was completing a drug deal in the back seat of a car when the front seat passenger pointed a gun at his face and announced a robbery, the police summary said.

Martinez got out of the vehicle, drew his own gun, and began shooting into the car, killing Thames, according to CPD’s notes. At the time of the shooting, Martinez was on probation for felony unlawful use of a weapon, according to court records.

After the interview, police presented the case to an assistant state’s attorney for review. She rejected murder charges “after careful consideration of the facts of the case,” the police summary said.

Detectives released Martinez and cleared Thames’ murder on October 26, 2021.

One month later, on the day after Thanksgiving, Martinez was shot in the head and killed while traveling on the Eisenhower Expressway at Harlem Avenue. His murderer remains at large.

Four shooters

Prosecutors say four different gunmen were involved in a shootout that left one of them dead and four bystanders injured outside a Wicker Park nightclub in October. Prosecutors charged one man with firing some of the shots. But the two surviving gunmen, including the one who shot another gunman dead, have not been charged.

“It just shocks the conscience that any dispute now, it appears, is handled with bullets,” Judge John Lyke said after about the shootout during a hearing for the one man that prosecutors have charged, Teanius Sykes.

Sykes, his girlfriend, and the gunman who was killed, identified as 32-year-old Raymond Jones, were all leaving The Point nightclub when Jones began firing toward a crowd of people who were standing outside the bar around 3:42 a.m., Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Someone fired back at Jones, and he was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest.

After the initial burst of gunfire ended, people began to stand up and walk around, Murphy said. That’s when Sykes allegedly grabbed a gun from his girlfriend’s glovebox and fired into the crowd.

According to CPD records, cops presented a murder case against another man involved in the shooting to the state’s attorney’s office, but they declined to prosecute.

Chicago police “cleared” the case on January 10.

Full Article: CWB Chicago

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