A Chicago police officer was forced to release a handcuffed drug suspect on Sunday afternoon when a group of people surrounded the cop and implied that he would be shot if he did not let the man go.
But on Tuesday, the department was displaying no sense of urgency in addressing the issue or re-capturing the man who ran away with a pair of handcuffs still binding his wrists.
CPD’s Office of News Affairs confirmed the specifics of the incident but declined to release the name of the suspect who escaped because he was not in custody, there was no warrant for the man’s arrest, and no investigative alert had even been issued for the escapee.
CWBChicago subsequently learned the 31-year-old man’s identity through a police source. The West Side resident has been to prison repeatedly for narcotics, most recently in 2010, according to state records. His identity was further confirmed via a police report that listed him as the “escaped arrestee.”
Scanner audio captured an officer’s account of what happened at the scene: “Ten people surrounded me, indicating that they had firearms. And one person pulled him away from me, holding his waist, indicating that he would use a firearm against me.”
Officially, the police department on Tuesday would say only that police officers saw a driver commit a traffic violation in the Austin neighborhood shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday and they conducted a stop of the vehicle.
“After he was stopped, the driver exited the vehicle and began to discard bundles of suspected narcotics to the ground,” the department said in a statement. “Officers were able to detain the subject, but after police began collecting the bundles of suspected narcotics, the offender began to struggle with [officers], thrashing his body around. Police attempted to subdue the offender, who began to kick and strike” the officers.
The department continued: “A crowd gathered around the police, some retrieving the discarded suspect narcotics, others approaching the officers, yelling at and threatening the police. Gunshots then were heard in close proximity to the incident, putting officers in further fear of their safety. The offender was able to make good his escape with the help of subjects from the crowd.”
CWBChicago contacted the police department’s chief spokesperson to learn more about the department’s efforts to capture the suspect and identify members of the group that allegedly threatened to kill the police officers. He did not respond to our email.