Friday, January 17, 2020

CTA Photo Policy and Internal Documents Show Conflict of Policy vs. Rights

Millions of people travel on CTA rail lines each year, thousands or more per day as they make their way from point to point across the city. The prevalence of smartphones and HD cameras, as well as city-operated HD cameras aboard CTA trains and at CTA rail platforms have made photography & video recording of CTA buses, CTA trains, and CTA rail stations a normal part of life in the life of Chicago that is also something of a Chicago tradition.

Local Chicago photographer Barry Butler has snapped untold numbers of photos of CTA trains, and platforms over the years. Mr. Butler is a celebrated local celebrity for his work that has been featured in local major news media several times. Mr. Butler has a popular website, a Facebook and Twitter presence where his CTA photos and his other city based photos can be enjoyed by all.

Major news station camera personnel, as well as major news photographers have snapped untold numbers of photos centering on CTA travel for decades.

Chicago-One was made aware of several complaints about CTA personnel telling contractors, and CTA passengers alike that the CTA has BANNED ALL PHOTOGRAPHY.

A check of the CTA website shows that CTA has not banned photography, and actually shows that photography is absolutely allowed so long as certain rules and policies are followed. The CTA website shows two different photo policies, one governing everyday photography by the public, and one governing professional photography.

Chicago-One has spoken with CTA personnel on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media. say they are instructed by their training and by their management that photography is not allowed, and CTA employees say the CTA photo policies on the CTA website are out of date and incorrect.

Chicago-One News obtained documents from the CTA pertaining to photography incidents between January 1st, 2018 and November 18th, 2019. The CTA responded with documents on 14 January 2020 after asking for a time extension.

CTA employees who tell the public that the CTA or some law they often are unable to quote, will often reference terrorism and will say that CTA emoloyees are to report all photography to U.S. federal authorities.

The CTA itself says in the FOIA response letter that they have no shared documents between itself, Chicago Police, or Homeland Security on file, at least for the timeframe Chicago-One had them search, which spanned well over a year.

The CTA handed-over 7 documents involving photography incidents. Those documents show that the information given to Chicago-One is true. CTA employees are acting on the belief that the CTA has banned photography and video recording.

The first incident occurred January 9th, 2018 at 4PM on the Irving Park Blue Line. The complaint states a student went to that location to do a class project with a hand-held DSLR camera. The CTA employee there told her photography is not allowed due to terrorism concerns.

The second incident of 2018 took place at the Addison Red Line at 3PM when a contractor employed as a photographer with intersection, and displaying a CTA property permit alleged to be invalid by the CTA Customer Assistant, was told he would not be given access to CTA property or allowed to photograph. The contractor's supervisor was involved by the contractor employee who is alleged to have said the CTA employee was incorrect.

Complaint number 3 came about CTA Brown Line Run 407 southbound at Western on September 27th, 2028 at 11:15AM. This complaint also involved a CTA contractor working for Intersection. The photographer was working while displaying a CTA property permit on the Brown Line, assigned to go car to car at each stop. The complaint states the train operator yelled at the intersection photographer, called control, refused to observe his CTA permit, refused to listen to anything he had to say, and waved him off.

On November 26th, 2018, once again, a Brown Line operator displaying the same behavior complained about on September 27th, 2018, was reported by telephone. The run number was 420, and the location unknown.

On May 03rd, 2019, a father and his young son were on the Blue Line at Washington when a CTA employee again acted on the belief that all photography & video recording activities were banned. The complaint is posted here to allow the father to speak in his own words.

On March 29th, 2019, at the Wrstern Blue Line, a CTA customer states a person wearing a safety vest and who did not identify himself, "angrily yelled" at the customer while customer used a phone to snap a photo of an oncoming train. The customer states the safety-vest clad person harassed customer and "perpetuates his misunderstanding through customer harassment". Customer asked CTA to issue a memo to employees regarding the CTA photo policy.

The 7th complaint was dated for October 17th, 2019, and the narrative section is provided below.

Chicago-One confronted the CTA with the findings of this FOIA request. CTA Media Affairs offered no insight in these incidents, saying on this:

"CTA’s photography and video policy is located on the web here and reads as follows:

In general, simple personal (non-commercial) photography and video recording are permitted on CTA property and vehicles. Use of ancillary equipment, such as a tripod, or taking pictures or video of non-public areas of CTA property are not permitted.

CTA rail and bus operations employees who interact with the public are expected to be aware of our policy."

Chicago-One spoke with Barry Butler on January 17th, 2020 for roughly 23 minutes about these findings, and read the article to him. The conversation is recounted here in essence, not verbatim. Mr. Butler stated his surprise to have received an e-mail from Chicago-One on this topic wherein these CTA documents were obtained.

The conversation centered on Mr. Butler's experiences working as a photographer on and around CTA property. Mr. Butler states that he has not personally had any of the issues presented in these findings made by Chicago-One. Barry Butler's advice to all photographers if confronted anywhere with these sorts of issues is to walk away, saying that in essence a battle isn't worth the shot. During this conversation, Butler stated he had photographed with security right next to him and had no issues.

Chicago-One brought forth the idea that moving to a different spot might even get a photographer a better angle from which to hey the shot.

Mr. Butler further stated that his experiences working with CTA media personnel has been a wonderful experience with no problems of any kind.

Chicago-One asked Barry what he has planned for future CTA shoots, and he said with a smile in his voice that he has some ideas, and some may just involve his creative skill for using the sun and the moon. He said "it's all about planning, and hoping the weather cooperates"

Mass Shooting at West Side Barber Shop on Pulaski

Address: 234 N. Pulaski

Time: 6:14PM

Date: 16 January 2020

Beat of Occurrence: 1114

Beat of Assignment: 1131

Paper car: 1131

RD# JD-118228

Event# 2001712698

UCR Code: 041A

Media staging: West End & Pulaski


BWC Event. Event#12698 011th District SDSC notified Zone-10 of a shot spotter notification of 10 shots fired at 3940 W. Washington. 1131 was assigned with Beat 1192 who confirmed having heard the shots.

All other responding units were notified via OEMC Zone-10 to a mass shooting involving 5 victims at the above address.

R/O's arrived to find 5 victims shot. 1 victim is 11 years old, 1 victim is 12 years old, 1 victim is 16 years old for a total of three children victimized, along with 1 30 year old male and a 40 year old male for a total of two adults victimized. One extra victim, a tender-age toddler who was inside the address at the time of the incident was noted as severely psychologically traumatized but not shot.

Victim injuries noted immediately at scene:

11 year-old: GSW, lower left back. Victim 2: GSW, right hip. Victim 3: GSW, left arm. Victim 4: GSW, left thigh. One victim is 12 years old with GSW right leg, tourniquet applied at 6:20PM.

At the time of the incident, victims ranged in condition from critical to serious. Victim conditions were later stabilized at local hospitals.

Offenders entered the above address, looked around, and exited the address. Offenders at that time drew weapons pointing in the doorway of the address, and fired multiple rounds striking five victims.

1120 assigned 1135 to Stroger with victims and report to 1131 for purposes of accurate documentation, and self-assigned himself to Sinai. One victim self-transported to Rush.

CFD Units assigned: 4-5-7, 4-4-11, Ambulances 33, 23, 15, 64, 44, and 10

EMS ops entered through the north and exited south for rapid victim transport.

Ambulances 23, 33, 15 to Stroger with child victims

Ambulance 10 - one adult male victim to Sinai

Timeline and assisting units as follows:

At 6:14PM, R/O's on Beat 1102S (011th District SDSC) notified Zone-10 of shot spotter notification of 10 rounds 3940 W. Washington.

1131 assigned. 1192 heard the shots and also responded.

6:16PM reports of person shot.

6:17PM report of mass shooting, 5 victims

6:18PM more cars, 1104 has casings and needs traffic blocked

1112 - traffic control. PuVictimaski & Lake
6:20PM - 1120 (Sgt) issues orders to start grabbing I.D.'a of people willing to cooperate so Area Detectives have contact info.

1125 - Traffic control. West End & Pulaski northbound, change to 1156 assigned.

1183 - Traffic control. West End northbound

1122 - Traffic control. Pulaski & West End

6734C (Organized Crime) - responding

4310 - has 3 cars C & D units.

4311 - has 3 cars available

1120 - Orders ambulance staging at Maypole & Pulaski

6:24PM - Fire initiates an EMS Plan-1

1171 - Traffic control. Pulaski & Washington blocking northbound traffic on Pulaski.

Offender Description:

2 male blacks, 5 foot 10, 30 to 40 years of age, one wearing a grey jacket, both with short hair, one wearing an olive green jacket, fled on foot westbound on Maypole from Pulaski.

Zone-10 dispatcher had to tell units to keep victim information off the air.


1100, 1120, 1110, 1199, Area North Violent Crimes, Ops Command, 3D55 (News Affairs), Car 51, CW2 / Area North Forensics for photographs and evidence collection.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Chicago's 911 Records Show 221 Ambulance Responses to 911 Center

On December 06th, 2019, Chicago-One News received a tip from a source inside the workings of Chicago city government that the calltakers and dispatchers of the city's 911 operation, the very people the public depends on to send emergency help during moments of life-threatening danger are themselves routinely in need of emergency assistance due to what they say are shocking, life-threatening and inhumane working conditions.

The source who tipped-off Chicago-One News asked to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation for speaking out. The tipster stated that mostly female workers from minority backgrounds are forced into what amounts to a dangerous environment where calltakers and dispatchers who are often forced to work overtime are subjected to discipline for performing necessary female self-care, and are intimidated by supervisors and management into coming into work while sick with flu symptoms and symptoms of other various medical issues that normally would cause a reasonable person to believe that time off from work to seek medical care is needed.

The tipster also complained about unsanitary conditions at the city's 911 center. 

That same day, Chicago-One News  performed a multi-part public records request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act for the below items:

"OEMC Sanitation and Health Safety Policies affecting OEMC Dispatch personnel for fire/EMS and police operations"

"Records showing fire/EMS responses to OEMC from Jan 1st 2016 to December 4th, 2019"

Internal memos and communications within OEMC administration offices between Jan 1st, 2016, and Dec 4th, 2019 regarding illnesses and health conditions occurring within the working environment of police and fire/EMS dispatch operations"

"Internal memos and communications within OEMC administration offices between Jan 1st, 2016, and Dec 4th, 2019 regarding illnesses and health conditions occurring within the working environment of police and fire/EMS dispatch operations"

"Grievances & complaints filed within OEMC police and fire/EMS dispatch operations relating to the treatment of female calltakers and dispatchers and health/safety concerns in the OEMC fire/EMS and police operations floors between Jan 1st, 2016, and Dec 4th, 2019."

Chicago OEMC responded to Chicago-One on 06 January 2020, stating that they have no sanitation or health safety policies at OEMC, but that "the city follows all federal OSHA guidelines with regard to health and safety (

The city contended that the rest of the request was unduly burdensome except for two items. Chicago's OEMC turned-over an Excel worksheet listing no less than 300 calls for Chicago Fire Department ambulance service to the 911 center itself for OEMC employees who experienced serious medical crisis while at work.

Beyond those 300 calls for CFD Ambulance responses, OEMC disclosed that they had two employee grievances on file pertaining to bug infestation, but bites occurring at an employee workstation, and unsanitary conditions filed on March 25th, 2016 and one on December 17th, 2017.

Below is a screenshot from the e-mail sent to Chicago-One News by Chicago OEMC. Text highlight performed by OEMC. The e-mail was signed by A. Martin, FOIA Officer for Chicago OEMC.

The 300 calls for an ambulance response included:

* 5 incidents of an unconscious OEMC employee,

* MULTIPLE incidents of OEMC employees being sick enough to require ambulance response

* 5 calls for a "CVA" (Cardiovascular Accident) which is the medical term for a stroke

* 24 calls for an OEMC employee being short of breath

* Several calls for OEMC employee(s) in psychiatric distress

* MULTIPLE calls for chest pain

* Several calls for things like hemorrhaging and head pain

See the Chicago OEMC Ambulance call log here

Recently, just after the 2020 new year, a Chicago Police Dispatcher was heard on the air working while barely able to talk. A Chicago Police Officer suggested on the zone she take some medical time, to which the dispatcher replied "they discipline people for that".

Chicago-One News reached out via telephone on January 07th, 2020, to OEMC and spoke with Melissa Stratton, Director of Media, who stated that she was aware of the Chicago-One FOIA, and more specifically, a water main outage that OEMC disclosed to Chicago-One that took place and for which the below memo was sent out. Director Stratton requested an e-mail from Chicago-One regarding all of the issues discovered by Chicago-One. Stratton acknowledged that e-mail later in the evening on January 7th, 2020, saying "I’m looking into this but need to connect with some folks. I’ll circle back once I have more information." Chicago-One never heard back from Stratton after that.

On January 15th, 2020, Melissa Stratton, a Media Affairs Director for Chicago OEMC, sent the following statement via e-mail:


"OEMC's operations are critical to the city of Chicago. Any known health, safety or unsanitary issue at the city's 9-1-1 center are addressed immediately. While OEMC seeks to maintain needed staffing levels for handling critical 9-1-1 calls, employees are not encouraged to come to work sick, nor penalized for taking medical time off.

As for the ambulance runs to the 9-1-1 facility during a three-year period, over 25% of those calls were refusal of transport to the hospital. Employees may experience sickness or shortness of breath for any number of reasons; however, any concern affecting the overall work environment brought to management's attention is addressed. Given the importance of the role of call taker or dispatcher and the nature of their responsibilities, it can be stressful at times, requiring full attention. Female call takers and dispatchers compose a majority of the total 9-1-1 workforce, with over 80% female call takers/dispatchers on the police side.

Employees on the OEMC Operations floor who are ill have many options to get well. For example, they may use sick time negotiated into their collective bargaining agreement, medical leaves of absence, and/or family medical leave time.

OEMC makes every effort to provide a safe, healthy and comforting environment, providing a Quiet Room, work out room, kitchens and recreational activities for employees' use to encourage health, fitness and comfort."

Stratton also noted that although the report showed 300 ambulance calls, "the previously issued FOIA report erroneously included test calls and calls for service that occurred externally near the building that reflected OEMC’s address. After reviewing it further with Fire Operations, it appears there were 221 calls for ambulances to OEMC."

Regarding the allegations made in the grievance shown here, Stratton provided this response:

The Illinois Department of Labor - Division of Occupational Health and Safety found no apparent safety or health hazards identified and there were no health or safety violations identified at the facility.

• Air Quality Reports indicated no anomalies. No dust deposition, no mold, no signs of insect/animal infestation and all humidity, temperatures, and CO2 rangers are in line.

• OSHA tested carpet and found no anomalies. OEMC addresses any carpet issue whenever an IOD report is filed.

• The OSHA found conditions at OEMC to be satisfactory on all fronts. The report specifically cites the fact that OEMC’s air quality was good, no bugs or rodents present and whenever we receive a complaint, it’s taken seriously.

Chicago Police Area Central RBT Mission Team Arrests Suspect in Vehicular Hijackings

Today, the Chicago Police Department has charged a man Area Central Detectives and the Area Central RBT Mission Team say is responsible for two vehicular hijackings.

Chicago Police issued the following statement:

A south side man was charged in two separate Vehicular Hijackings after extensive investigation by Area Central Detective Division R.B.T. Mission Team.

Caleb Morales was positively identified and subsequently charged in connection to two separate vehicular hijackings.

On January 5, 2020 at approximately 2:46 PM, this offender entered 2019 Porsche Cayenne on the 300 block of West Illinois Street and attempted to force the victim from the vehicle while implying a weapon. The offender partially forced the victim from the vehicle and then drove off, throwing the victim from the vehicle, causing the victim to incur several injuries.

On January 12, 2020 at approximately 12:56 PM, this offender entered a 2014 Ford Escape on the 1400 block of West Fulton Street and forced the occupants out of the vehicle at gunpoint, including two minor children. One of the minor children was removed and slammed to the ground, before the offender fled in the vehicle. An extensive investigation was conducted which lead to the positive identification of this offender. Caleb Morales was charged with two felony counts of Vehicular Hijacking and will appear today in Central Bond Court.

Monday, January 13, 2020

U.S. Secret Service File Release Highlights 2008 Threat Made Against Obama Chicago Presidential Election Rally in Grant Park by High Ranking Member of White Supremacist Group "World Church of The Creator"

The U.S. Secret Service is slowly but surely releasing files regarding the agency's 2008 activities surrounding the November 4th, 2008 election of U.S. Senator Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. President, including the agency's activities in and around Chicago's Grant Park.

On Monday, January 13th, 2020, the U.S. Secret Service released 42 pages of documents to Chicago-One News as the result of a federal Freedom of Information Act Request, some of which were more highly redacted than others.

The file highlights threats made against Obama investigated by the Secret Service between the dates of November 1st and November 5th, 2008. The most serious threat the USSS responded to is one suspected to have been made by someone the agency referred to in a protective intelligence document as "a high ranking member of white supremacist group World Church of The Creator"

The above document shows that the suspect, only known as "subject 2", had an address in Chicago at the time of the investigation.

The World Church of the Creator is a white nationalist organization that was born from the white supremacist "creativity movement" founded by Ben Klassen (1918-1993) who committed suicide. Klassem was responsible for founding an organization recognized by his worldwide following as a "church" they called "Church of The Creator" until one of their "ministers" was found guilty of the murder of a black U.S. veteran. The person found guilty was George Loeb.

An individual named Matt Hale took over the group in 1996 after a lawsuit won by the family of the murder victim forced it out of business.

A check of the online FBI Records Vault maintained by the FBI did not return results, but that does not mean files on Klassen or his organization do not exist.

The same night on November 4th, 2008, the Rosemont Police Department stopped an individual with several weapons who the Secret Service was told had an interest in Obama.

Yet another person with ties to Chicago caught the interest of the USSS when he got frustrated with the Obama campaign's text messages to his cell phone. See what he did to draw the ire of this agency by checking out or downloading the entire 42 page file below.

USSS November 04th 2008 Protective Intelligence File

Commentary on Second City Cop - "Why Do These Files Exist?"

SCC's Response to the recent Cook County Circuit Court ruling mandating the city to produce nearly 5 decades of police misconduct files that CPD officers say shouldn't exist

The answer:

Generations of CPD brass, FOP leadership, COPA / OPS, and CPD Records Division chain - of - command dropped the ball.

Another answer from the legal side of this:

There is no state or federal law tied-in with FOIA, and no current or past provision in Illinois FOIA mandating citizens, or anyone else who is legally in possession of records they obtained via the FOIA process to destroy their copy of those records.

What that means:

Even IF there were strict enforcement of records retention laws / policies / regulations / FOP contractual mandates, the records may STILL exist somewhere. That means records could be posted online as part of someone's research or as part of a commentary on those records, even as part of a news piece. Remember, free press isn't limited to multi-million dollar corporate news companies. Due to decades of federal and state court rulings, everyone is the press under the 1st Amendment.

Here's an example of FOIA at work vs. FOP contractual agreements and CPD policies:

Any Officer / Detective / Sgt, or someone else up the chain either creates an official document, or is the subject of official documentation of ANY kind. That document has a destruction date once it's complete. Whether by law, by dept policies, or FOP contractual obligation. Before that document reaches its destruction date, it is perfectly responsive to FOIA. There could possibly be TENS, HUNDREDS, THOUSANDS, or even scores more people holding perfectly legal copies of that document. Now that documents are mostly electronic or are easily digitized, there honestly is no such thing as a "destroyed" document.

Any I.T. expert will tell you that once something exists in digital form, it's forever. Deleting it doesn't make it go away. Overwriting that digital space won't make it go away, either.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Area Central Detectives Issue Two Robbery Pattern Alerts For The 018th District

Area Central Detectives have issued a community alert in the 018th District for a pattern of violent robberies that have occurred on the city's North side since December 24th, 2019. This is Area Central crime pattern 20-1-009B.

These robberies involve more than one offender who have used two different vehicles as the means to commit these robberies and flee the scene.

200 block of East Delaware at 7:44PM on January 8th, 2020

200 block of East Walton 7:54PM on January 8th, 2020

900 block of North Dewitt at 11:04 p.m. on Dec. 24

200 block of East Pearson at 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 30

800 block of North Dewitt around 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 30

800 block of North Dewitt at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 2

900 block of North Dewitt at about 6 p.m. on Jan. 3

200 block of East Chestnut at 8:35 p.m. on Jan. 6

Offender Description:

Two to three black males, early- to mid-20’s, 5’6” to 5’10” tall and weigh 145 to 185 pounds

Anyone with information, anyone who thinks they see these offenders, or who knows where these offenders are can call 911 or Area Central Detectives 312-747-8380

The next robbery/theft alert below affects CTA rail passengers