* Fox Chicago ran a story this week about a man who spent 14 months in Cook County Jail after being busted for violating a state Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon law that was recently tossed out by the Illinois Supreme Court. A total of twenty people are being released from Cook County’s lockup in the wake of the ruling and another 60 will have charges dropped.
From the story…
Edward Hambrick has already spent more time behind bars at the Cook County Jail than some who’ve been convicted of violent crimes. His case began 26 months ago, when he said he left Pierre, South Dakota, where he’d been working as a computer programmer, to return to his native Englewood for a 20th high school class reunion.
Hambrick was staying at his mother’s house. Law enforcement sources told FOX 32 News it’s on a block controlled by a faction of the Black P Stone street gang. While his South Dakota license plates might have drawn attention, Chicago police said they stopped Hambrick on 79th Street because he wasn’t using his truck’s seat belt. That’s when an officer found his loaded, .45 caliber Taurus handgun and two magazines with 10 rounds each.
“‘Whose gun is that in the car?’ I said, ‘It’s mine.’ He said, ‘Well, why do you have a gun?’ I said, ‘For the same reason you have a gun, to protect myself,’” Hambrick says, describing his conversation with the cop.
Hambrick said he showed the police his Illinois Firearm Owner’s ID card, as well as a concealed carry permit valid in South Dakota. Precisely because he’d grown up on the bloody streets of Englewood, he said, he felt he needed a gun to protect himself. Hambrick, who said he once belonged to the National Rifle Association, admits he became belligerent as he then addressed the alleged shortcomings of Chicago’s gun laws.
“He said, ‘Well, Chicago has this ordinance that bans guns and you can’t have a loaded weapon, blah, blah, blah,’” Hambrick recalls. “I said, ‘Officer, did you take an oath to the constitution?’ He said, ‘Yes. We all did.’ ‘So, right now you’re violating your oath and you’re violating my rights.’ They subsequently ignored all that and arrested me for Aggravated UUW.”
It’s that charge, aggravated unauthorized use of a weapon for personal possession, that the State Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional last week. That’s why a spokeswoman said State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez will send assistant prosecutors into courtrooms Tuesday asking to dismiss AUUW charges against about 80 defendants, including 20 or so like Hambrick who couldn’t bond out and are in County Jail.
The 40-year old Hambrick said he wouldn’t plead guilty even to a lesser charge because it would instantly end his career in information technology.
So, isn’t the release of this guy an admission by State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez that people who have a valid FOID card and aren’t committing any other felonies can now carry loaded, concealed guns in Cook County?
Either way, I’m still amazed that the recent ILSCt ruling hasn’t managed to generate more interest from the Chicago media. Baffling, even.