He is a former Romeoville resident; he moved because he grew tired of having to live in a place where he says he has to always fear police harassment. Now as a result of what he calls police abuse Juan Pinto has brought a federal lawsuit against Chief of Police Andrew Barto, The Village of Romeoville, and one Officer Matthew Nelson for civil rights violations.
Pinto said he was driving west on Murphy Drive in Romeoville on July 10, 2007. His three children were inside the car as he drove to a friend’s home. He said he noticed an unmarked police squad behind him and after a time it seemed that he was being followed. He continued to drive in the direction of his home in the Highpoint subdivision at the time.
After a short drive Romeoville Police Officer Matthew Nelson stopped Juan Pinto and advised him there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest allegedly for unpaid child support. Pinto was instructed to stand outside his vehicle while they awaited the arrival of a marked police vehicle.
During the wait Pinto’s girlfriend and his mother-in-law arrived to take care of the children. The police towed his car and transported Pinto to the station. While he was inside the police station being processed Officer Matthew Nelson came inside and announced that he had found cocaine in Juan Pinto’s car. Pinto later signed an affidavit and swore under penalty of perjury that he did not have cocaine inside his car and swore that Officer Nelson lied when he said he found the drug in Pinto’s car. Pinto said, “At first I thought he was joking.”
Officer Nelson did not display the drugs he claimed he found in Pinto’s car. After four hours he was taken to the Will County Adult Detention Center. Juan was held for 24 hours and then he was released after posting a bond for the child support charge.
No charges were pending against him for the narcotic Officer Nelson alleged he found in Pinto’s car. Since there were no charges pending to justify the towing of his car Pinto asked the return of the $500 administrative fee and the cost of the tow. Lieutenant Mark Turvey explained that they would have to conduct a hearing on the matter.
About two weeks later as Pinto left his apartment to go to work, he was followed and arrested by the Romeoville Police. He was charged with possession of cocaine. Officer Nelson claimed he gathered a total of .001 gram of cocaine from four different locations within Pinto’s car.
Juan Pinto hired an attorney and went to trial. Officer Nelson did not appear. On the second day of trial Officer Nelson did not appear, in fact no Romeoville officers appeared. Will County Associate Judge Robert P. Livas found Juan Pinto Not Guilty.
Juan Pinto has alleged public embarrassment by Officer Matthew Nelson and against Sergeant Kenneth Kroll but it is not clear whether that is part of a separate legal action.
The number of lawsuits brought against the Romeoville Police Department, individual officers and the Village is growing. It would seem the public would begin demanding changes to avoid more suits that could cost the defendants and the village large sums of money to resolve.
Prominent Civil Rights Attorney Scott Skaletsky, 180 North Wacker Drive Chicago may file two more separate lawsuits against the police and the village within the next two weeks. At least 3 others are awaiting filing and two of which are in the hands of a different law firm. One individual Willie Brown of Joliet filed a pro se lawsuit on his own behalf in federal court and that suit is working its way through pretrial stages. Willie Brown declined to discuss his case on Monday
March 24th because it is pending trial. Willie did say there could be a resolution prior to the case going to a jury.
From an email….As we all know, the economy is in the ditch. The average family has needed to tighten their belts to make the family budget. Each member of the family has been asked to contribute by cutting back on discretionary items, and that includes everything from sports tickets to a $4 cup of coffee. The head of the family makes the hard decisions for the good of all. A head of a well-run business will make the same tough decisions. Unfortunately, when it comes to taxing districts, we’re headless, as there is no single entity to bring districts together.
The people of Will County would like “our” local taxing districts to stop acting on their own, and start acting as a family. Taxing districts are in place to represent the best interest of all the people, and not special interest groups. We have heard of the pork spending by the federal government. My guess is that every taxing district within Will County has plenty of pork. We have “wants” and we have “needs.” The taxpayers are asking our taxing districts to either cut back or limit the “wants.”
Each taxing district holds a public tax levy meeting at this time of year. Very few citizens attend these meetings, either because they are not aware of the meeting or don’t understand the legal mumbo jumbo wording in the public notice. The people who would attend these meetings would only receive lip service from their elected officials. The taxing districts’ budgets increase every year, while the taxpayer’s income may not. The current economy has consumers taking a beating from the worst financial crisis in decades. The taxing districts couldn’t seem to care less if the taxpayer has the funds to pay for the pork spending. It’s well known that a taxing district will take all they can get. “Spend it or lose it” is the theme of most taxing districts. Have you ever heard a taxing district brag “We were under budget” or “We are only taking what we need”?
The average taxpayer thinks that because their home value has dropped, their tax bill would remain the same or decrease. Unfortunately, this is not going to happen. Taxing districts will just raise the tax rate. This is a prime reason why property value is a poor measure of wealth. Knowing this, taxpayers are asking that our own taxing districts operate like a private entity, where there is no guarantee of new income every year. Some people might be upset because a class, open land, equipment, computer, project, etc., have been cut from the budget. To them I say, don’t be so selfish.
It would be terrific to see taxing districts come together as a community family. We need our elected officials to understand that we desperately need them to make some tough decisions on their tax levies and their spending. Let’s keep Will County homeowners and businesses in Will County.
From:The weekly reporter
By John Gabriel,
Award Winning Writer |
Richard Girot is a name many will recall from the 2006 race for Will County Sheriff. Girot, the former Mayor of Braidwood and veteran Will County Deputy held a press conference Tuesday morning, March 3rd, to announce that he will be making another attempt to become the Will County Sheriff. Girot noted that he collected 45% of the votes when he ran against incumbent Paul Kaupas in November 2006 and said he is confident he can unseat the Sheriff this time around.
Girot made his announcement at the Joliet Holiday Inn located on Larkin Avenue and McDonough St., the site of the credit card arrest scandal that has brought lawsuits in the millions against the county for claims related to arrests that were made close to election time in 2006. You may recall the allegations that credit card information was being collected and sold from that location.
Girot emphasized that the attempt by Sheriff Paul Kaupas to capitalize on information allegedly supplied by an informant has cost taxpayers countless unnecessary dollars, into the millions. He says Kaupas relied on false information allegedly given to him by an informant who turned out to be totally unreliable and then he, the sheriff, rushed out to make arrests without first confirming the information.
Pat Barry, spokesperson for Sheriff Paul Kaupas defended Kaupas saying that the Sheriff only acted on warrants that were issued by the State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow and that the blame does not lie with the Sheriff.
During a lengthy question and answer period following the announcement of his candidacy, Girot said Deputies are being put into unnecessary jeopardy each time they go on duty. Girot said it is ridiculous to expect a deputy in Wilmington to come to the aid of another who is in Plainfield or even further should there be an emergency situation in which a deputy needs the help of a fellow officer.
But those allegations were rebuffed by Barry who said that is nonsense. “Deputies are never put in danger. They are always backed up by local police and they can always call for help from nearby towns.”
Richard Girot criticized conditions under which some people must live in the Adult Detention Facility and said there is no good reason why anyone should be denied drugs prescribed by their family doctor. He said it is wrong to deny inmates such medication and then refuse to provide those drugs to them at county expense. He promised that if he is elected the conditions within the jail will change and people will be treated properly according to law.
But Barry said the county pays a private company to administer medical care to people held in the Adult Detention Center. Barry said, “We can’t question the decision of doctors. It is up to them to decide what inmates need in the way of medication or care.” He did say the company operates without any oversight from the Sheriff’s office.
Richard Girot will seek federal assistance to fill vacancies within the Sheriff’s department and rearrange work assignments to eliminate many of the administrative positions that he views as unnecessary. “We have too many people sitting around who should be out there patrolling and it is costing taxpayers an awful lot of money for nothing. I know of seventeen moves I could make,” he said.
Mr. Barry was asked if there was anything he wished to add and he said, “Mr. Girot should be trying to win the primary. He is acting as if he is already the candidate.”
Note to readers: The weekly reporter has no connections or affiliations with this blog
Dean Tomich, who donated $500, regularly asks (and receives) zoning variances for projects he develops within the city limits. Churnovic reimbursed himself many hundreds of dollars for meals, airplane tickets, and hotel rooms. One reimbursement for $480
Dax Young – Crest Hill Resident
From the herald Spew News by BOB OKON firstname.lastname@example.org The date of the candidates’ forum, the location of the forum and the format for the forum were fodder for a lengthy and emotion-filled discussion during the council’s workshop session Monday.
Sam Chellino, president of Crest Hill Community Television, expressed indignation at being called “crooked” at a previous council meeting.
Alderman Charles Convery accused the TV group of trying “to play God” by exerting too much control over the forum.
And Alderwoman Tina Oberlin voiced concern that someone might use their five minutes on TV to “go on a vile rant.”
“If someone wants to take their five minutes and blast their opponent, that’s their decision,” offered Alderman Ray Soliman, a candidate for mayor. He added that he would not do that.
As the debate dragged on for nearly an hour, Mayor Nick Churnovic asked, “Who wants the candidates’ forum at this point?”
But then he concluded, “If anybody wants to show up, they can show up. If anyone doesn’t want to show up, they don’t have to show up.”
“I’m not doing it — not with their format,” Alderwoman Brenda Lelis said.
Alderman John Vershay eased the tension at one point with a tongue-in-cheek defense of the five-minute format.
“You have to sell yourself to the people. What’s the big commotion? It’s a salesman’s job. Who’s got the biggest line of B.S.? And, here I am,” Vershay said, rising to his feet and raising his voice. “I’ve got it.”
Allied Waste Contributed $500 to Churnovic – Fri, 20 Feb 2009 02:31:15 GMT
Considering the $5 million contract the city approved this week, I think this has to be something the mayor should address.
Mr. Mayor, how is this not pay-to-play when there was no bidding on the contract?
(I guess I am a mudslinger says: JolietJake as well as anybody with an opinion is, LOL.)
The city of Joliet is mired in a financial controversy and needs to pull itself free, but it is clear that tighter reins on purchasing need to be implemented. Jobs are the issue and voters need to speak up, this indicates that other safeguards need to be put in place.
You can’t get there if you don’t know where you are going
One of the most essential learnings is that communities need to plan for their future and ensure that their policies are consistent with their vision. I guess due to the lack of resources, Joliet has done little more than color in a map from a phone book and call it their long-range plan.
Joliet Illinois may have written a comprehensive plan, but may not even know where a copy is readily available. And still have invested far too much in broad dreams and nifty slogans, but lack a plan based on market realities, an inventory of local natural and community assets, and realistic financing strategies are a vague dream, is it wrong as a Joliet resident to seek economic progress? “NO” it is our right as voters to hold them in office accountable for their failures.
The problems facing Joliet confront many other communities across the nation. A flawed federal Section 8 policies have led to substantial neighborhood decline. This, in turn, threatens the surrounding community. The children of the development make up a majority of a nearby school which experienced 92% turnover of students in 2003. Industrial redevelopment on adjacent lands is hampered by perceptions of crime. The village’s ability to provide needed social services is limited by low tax revenues and the needs of extreme, concentrated poverty in the isolated development.
There are few national models of what to do about a deteriorated, privately owned developments. The news is dominated by the transformation of public housing and, arguably, the redevelopment of areas like Pacesetter will be even harder. The land will have to be acquired from absentee landlords. Few social service agencies are available to provide sorely needed services. And the village lacks the financial wherewithal of large cities to make basic infrastructure improvements.
Is another road really needed to attract development and jobs? Is taxing people when things are difficult the right action to take.
(1) Are Local leaders passionate about their communities and want to do the right thing by the voters, rarely politicians have all of the information they need.
(2) Cooperation between private developers, local officials, and community residents is needed to solve complex issues. One sector on its own does not have all the answers. The experiences of communities throughout the Joliet and Will county region, plus interactions with community leaders, elected officials and real estate professionals, provide guidance to communities throughout the country working to improve their future and if we as a community work together we can build something to be proud of.
During the presidential election people hollered change, that is just what we got…..
CHANGE is left in our pockets…..I bet Joliet hears it jiggling and is looking to tax us out of that to.
Ranting’s of JolietJake2008
“Do as I say, not as I do.” I am struck by the utter hypocrisy of Joliet and Will county’s political conundrum, It’s high time we ended the radical experiment that’s been an obvious failure of the current elected officials . The Corrupt have already disenfranchised the many voters yet the consensus of the politician is, voters are sheep and will gladly walk where we are told and do as we are lied to believe, I guess it is window dressing that politicians want us as the voter to see, look around our county it is falling apart (Will county, Illinois)
So are we to vote for more of the same? lets see what is it that makes us think there may be some mismanagement…..and little control.
- JOLIET — The annual Easter Parade canceled, a consequence of city overspending .
- Police Department– The IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.) is likely to require higher contributions to make up for mismanagement losses.
- Roads– can not be fixed and infrastructure failing.
- Cop cams now monitor city- Having the police using cameras immediately causes concern of the people about Big Brother, Chief Fred Hayes said. “We’re not going to be putting them in someones window. We want to send a message they’re there to cue the residents that they are being watched over’, The next camera will be installed on the Jefferson Street Bridge because of a Port Security Grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Then why is it that some video has surfaced that is of an adult nature and circulated among local officers of local area women and couples in their homes and cars and etc, maybe these people thought they had privacy and nobody was watching?
- Crest hill– City staff indicated the need for water and sewer revenues will be reviewed every year. ( voters have an opportunity to question mayoral and aldermanic candidates prior to the election, they should ask for the candidates’ views on this 5 percent annual increase, but will they?)
- Talk around town– To Bring back city sticker for revenue.
Its your vote use it to make change not to have change in your pocket after you vote. The time has come to demand better from our politicians. We do not need a politicians who trades city contracts for campaign contributions any more than we need a Governor who sells a Senate seat for campaign contributions. Why would we want the shame of pay-to-play politics on a local level? The current politicians have shown repeatedly that they desire to run the city in this manner though. The voters need to send a clear message come April by voting to replace the current politicians and any other official that supports his way of running this city and county.
The work session did not shed much additional light on the proposed TIF district. The Mayor introduced the idea of TIF districts by saying that he has seen them used by surrounding communities and that there are consultants who are willing to meet with the city without charge to discuss the matter. No indication was given of what areas were being considered for inclusion in a TIF district. A work session is planned for March when consultants will come and discuss TIF districts in greater detail. The superintendents of both elementary school districts were invited to the meeting and have asked to continue to be involved in all discussions. This is an important step since TIF districts can have significant impacts upon the schools. One citizen stood up to voice his opposition to TIF districts that are used improperly because of the tax impacts that they can have on the rest of the city. This was a very healthy start to the discussions of a TIF district even if no specifics were offered. I hope that the Council keeps the schools as well as the citizens involved and do not just listen to the consultants who have a financial interest in creating TIF districts. As more information becomes available, I will share it as well as giving my analysis of any proposals, if the TIF comes under the guidance of Ray Simplinski that is currently running for mayor then the TIF districts will be utilized in a manor that will benefit all of the Crest Hill residents if tricky Nick is Re-Elected then all could lose. Brian McDaniel
Ray Solomon used to be called TV Ray due to his need to be on TV….makes you wonder what his ideas are.