TIME Crime

Officials: $1 Million Spent on Medical Care for Jailed Chicago Teen

"This case to me is a perfect example of the failure of the criminal justice system," the jail's executive director said

(CHICAGO) — A talented teenage basketball player unable to post bond on a low-level burglary charge ended up ingesting screws, needles, a 4-inch piece of metal and other objects while behind bars, leading the jail to spend more than $1 million in medical care on him.

Authorities at Cook County Jail told the Chicago Tribune that the case of 17-year-old Lamont Cathey highlights the hazards of institutionalizing impressionable youths, some of whom have mental health issues.

“This case to me is a perfect example of the failure of the criminal justice system,” the jail’s executive director, Cara Smith, told the newspaper. “It’s been a crushingly sad and very frustrating case.”

The newspaper says the sheriff’s office moved the Chicago teen into a newer section of the jail last week and that his condition appears to have improved.

Cathey has been in the jail for 16 months following his arrest for allegedly stealing money from a pizzeria safe, after he couldn’t post a $5,000 cash bond.

It’s only when a plea deal that was supposed to let him attend a boot camp fell through last year that he began swallowing objects. They included a thumbtack, strips of leather and even parts of a medical device he had dismantled.

“He’s literally eating the jail,” Smith said.

He’s been hospitalized two dozen times and had several operations to remove objects from his digestive tract.

Cathey piled up other charges while at the jail, including allegedly shoving a guard. That could mean time in state prison.

Cathey’s brother, Kenneth Barber, said he had never displayed signs of depression before he was jailed. He had been enrolled in an alternative charter high school, where basketball coaches called the 6-foot-8 Cathey “Big Boy.”

His lawyers have said in court filings that he urgently needs psychiatric treatment. That isn’t extraordinary for Cook County Jail, where nearly a quarter of its 8,000 inmates are mentally ill, say jail officials, who have long clamored for more mental-health resources.

“Lamont requires structured, long-term psychiatric residential treatment,” one of the defense filings said.

Cathey had been in trouble before. He was arrested more than a dozen times as a juvenile, though none of those arrests led to convictions.

A cousin, Charles Drake, said Cathey always wanted to do well in life.

“He’s got a good heart,” he said. “He just got some wrong turns.”

TIME Education

Mom Attends High School Graduation in Late Son’s Place

A Chicago area woman sat among students at Thornton Fractional North High School's graduation in honor of her son who died in a car crash

A mother mourning the loss of her son took his place at the high school graduation ceremony on Wednesday that he was supposed to attend.

Katherine Jackson’s son, 18-year-old Aaron Dunigan, died in a weekend car crash in suburban Chicago after his senior prom, NBC Washington reports. Dunigan was the passenger in a vehicle that crossed over a median and collided with another car; the driver of the car Dunigan rode in was charged with DUI causing death, as well as reckless homicide with a motor vehicle.

On Wednesday, Jackson took her son’s spot among the graduates of Thornton Fractional North High School and walked the stage to receive his diploma.

“[My son] knows his mom never walked the stage,” she said. “I’m going to be his legs and he’s going to be my wings and we’re going to go up there and get our diploma.”

Dunigan, a quarterback, was set to play football at Southern Illinois University in the fall.

[NBC Washington]

TIME movies

Spike Lee Talks Controversial Chiraq Film on Chicago Violence

Spike Lee attends a press conference to discuss the upcoming film 'Chiraq' at St. Sabina Church on May 14, 2015 in Chicago.
Daniel Boczarski—Getty Images Spike Lee attends a press conference to discuss the upcoming film 'Chiraq' at St. Sabina Church on May 14, 2015 in Chicago.

“Wait until the movie comes out. You don’t like it, you don’t like, but wait, see it first.”

Spike Lee sought on Thursday to squash some rumors that have been swirling about his upcoming film on the violence that plagues parts of Chicago.

“A lot of things have been said about the film by people who know nothing about the film,” the famed director said during a news conference at St. Sabina Catholic Church. “We felt it was appropriate that we say what the narrative is, the filmmakers, the people who are doing this. Not the people that’s judging from afar.”

The film, which is reportedly titled “Chiraq”—though Lee referred to this as the “so-called-title”—has drawn the ire of city officials because it compares the city’s violence to the war zones of Iraq. Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly expressed his disdain for the title to Lee himself. According to NBC Chicago, Alderman Will Burns also called for the city council to cut Lee’s tax break unless he changes the film’s title. The moniker Chiraq was popularized by Chicago rappers Chief Keef and later used by stars like Kanye West, who was also raised in the Windy City.

“Everything I’ve done has led up to this film,” Lee said, adding a simple overall message: Don’t prejudge the film, whatever it may depict or be titled.

“I love Chicago, you know,” he said. “Wait until the movie comes out. You don’t like it, you don’t like, but wait, see it first.”

No details about the film, which may be a musical comedy based off of the Greek comedy “Lysistrata” but will not feature Kanye, were disclosed Thursday, but Lee reiterated the importance of it given a recent spate of shootings across the Chicago area, notably in the Englewood area.

“This is not a joke, this is not a game,” he said, “this is real life and death, and that’s the way we are going to approach this.”

TIME movies

Spike Lee’s Chiraq Will Be a Musical Comedy

US-ENTERTAINMENT-METROPOLITAN MUSEUM
Timothy A. Clary—AFP/Getty Images Spike Lee arrives at the Costume Institute Gala Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art May 5, 2015 in New York.

The film will be based on Lysistrata

Correction appended, May 12

Spike Lee’s next joint may be about violence on the streets of Chicago, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun: the movie will be a musical comedy featuring Jennifer Hudson, Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack.

Earlier reports indicated that Kanye West would appear in the movie himself, but his representative said that was not true:

Contrary to published reports, Kanye West will not be starring in Chiraq. However, there are discussions for West’s possible involvement in the film’s soundtrack, schedule permitting.

Screen Daily reports that the film, Chiraq, is based on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, in which Greek women band together to end the Peloponnesian War by refusing to have sex with their husbands until the fighting is over. The idea in the Spike Lee version may be that women try the same tactic to wipe out gang violence in Chicago.

Amazon Original Movies has signed up for the U.S. release, which will reportedly be shown in theaters. Timing isn’t set yet, but there’s a chance it could be in cinemas in 2016 at the same time as another Chicago movie, Southside With You, about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date—which included a showing of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.

Correction: The original version of the article incorrectly stated Kanye West’s involvement in the film. He’s in talks to be involved in the soundtrack.

TIME Crime

See Freddie Gray Protests Spread Across the Nation

Demonstrations inspired by those in Baltimore spread to more than 7 major U.S. cities on Wednesday, including New York, Boston, and Chicago. While the protests were mostly peaceful, there were at least 25 arrests nationwide

TIME Crime

Chicago Mayor Endorses Reparations for Police Torture Victims

The city has already paid out $100 million in settlements in lawsuits related to the infamous police commander

Chicago will pay $5.5 million in reparations to victims who claimed they were tortured decades ago under a former police commander, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday.

The measure, which also includes education benefits, job placement and counseling, is expected to be introduced on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reports. The city has already paid out $100 million in settlements in lawsuits related to the infamous police commander, Jon Burge, and some of his detectives, whom attorneys accused of torturing and wrongfully imprisoning up to 120 people between 1971 and 1991. Victims who already received reparations above $100,000 aren’t eligible.

Burge, who was fired in 1993, was said to have targeted mostly black suspects, forcing them to confess using electric shocks and mock executions. He was later convicted of lying about police torture in court and sentenced to more than four years in prison, before being released late last year.

Read more at Chicago Tribune

TIME animals

Rare Canine Flu Outbreak Hits Chicago

sick dog
Getty Images

Five dogs have already died, and there are more than 1,000 cases

An unusual outbreak of canine flu around the Chicago area has killed five dogs and led to more than 1,000 cases, according to the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.

The symptoms of canine infectious respiratory disease include lethargic behavior, lax appetite, a lingering cough and a fever, the department notes, with more severe cases showing up in dogs less than a year old and older than seven. Until the outbreak subsides, which the department says may not occur for several weeks, dog owners have been warned to avoid pet-friendly areas like parks, as well as group training and other instances where pups can be in close contact.

A two-shot flu vaccination over three weeks (requiring a yearly booster shot) is available, Dr. Anne Cohen, of the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, told ABC. But it’s not necessary for all dogs. “This isn’t a typical vaccination we give but because of the outbreak we’re recommending it for all high-risk dogs.”

TIME NFL

Autographed Jay Cutler Football Goes Unsold at Auction

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Hannah Foslien—Getty Images Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears speaks to the media after the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec.28, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.

Somebody stepped in days later to buy the ball for his son for $100

A football signed by Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler went unsold at a charity auction last month.

Not a single person bid on the white autographed ball auctioned on behalf of the Anti-Cruelty Society, the Chicago Tribune reports. But an unnamed buyer ultimately purchased the ball this week for $100 as a gift for his Bears fan son.

Sports blogs are seizing on the unsold ball as a symbol of the struggling quarterback’s declining status, though the Tribune notes that most of the items at the auction were not sports related and the attendees weren’t much of a “football crowd.”

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME portfolio

Meet America’s First Video Game Varsity Athletes

The newest route to college is through a video game

Correction appended, March 27, 2015

Parents who think that video games are an academic distraction, take heart: pounding on the controller can now help pay for college.

Last fall, Robert Morris University in Chicago became the first college in the US to make competitive gaming ­ or “e-sports” ­ a varsity sport, and offer athletic scholarships for players. “My parents were always telling me to get off the Xbox,” says Jonathan Lindahl, a freshman e-sports player at Robert Morris. “So I’m really rubbing it in their faces.”

At Robert Morris, video game scholarships can be worth up to half of tuition and housing, or $19,000. What’s more, since the NCAA doesn’t regulate e-sports, they’re not bound by the rules of amateurism. A couple of Robert Morris players, for example, recently played in a semi-pro tournament and each earned around $1,000. Want to get paid as a college athlete? Stay on the Xbox.

Robert Morris spent $100,000 ­and received help from video game sponsors ­ to retrofit a classroom into a full-fledged gaming hub with hi-tech monitors, headsets, and chairs. The players look a bit like fighter pilots, and play League of Legends, a five-on-five battle game popular among college students. The top Robert Morris team has qualified for Sweet 16 of the North American Collegiate Championship (NACC), which starts on March 28: traditional sports powers like Michigan, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M are also in the mix. The “Final Four” will be held in Los Angeles in early May. Each member of the winning team will receive $30,000 in scholarship money.

A sure sign that college video games are like traditional sports: one member of the Robert Morris squad, freshman Adrian Ma, 18. left the school in November to join a pro team. “The opportunity was too good to pass up,” says Ma. A second school, the University of Pikeville in Kentucky, will offer e-sports scholarships this fall. For gamers, March Madness has indeed arrived.

Read the full story, The Varsity Sport of the Virtual World, in the latest issue of TIME magazine and on TIME.com.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the name of the student in slide 9. His name is Zixing Jie.

TIME Crime

The Year They Cancelled St. Patrick’s Day

Chicago's St. Patrick's Day parade
Tim Boyle—Getty Images The St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago on Mar. 11, 2000

It happened in Chicago in 1890. The reason was murder

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Today Saint Patrick’s Day is a broadly inclusive festival associated with fun, frivolity and, in Chicago, turning the river green. Chicago’s first Saint Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1843 when the city was a mere six years old and the population about 8,000. By 1890, Chicago’s population had swollen to over one million and 17 percent of the city (or almost 180,000 people) were either Irish-born or had one parent born in Ireland.

In this period, Saint Patrick’s Day was an exclusively Irish (or Irish-American) affair, celebrated with a parade, dinners and balls, but for some there was a purpose to it that went beyond mere celebration. In the 1880s, radical Irish Americans flocked to join Clan na Gael —a secret revolutionary society devoted to using force to secure Ireland’s freedom from Britain. Winning Irish independence by force was a costly enterprise and so, while time was spent plotting and planning, writing manifestos, stockpiling dynamite, and penning newspaper columns, fundraising was also a key priority for the Clan. The chief fundraising activities were picnics, balls, and fairs, and Saint Patrick’s Day was just one of the several days promoted by the United Irish Societies of Chicago (UISC), an umbrella group representing many Irish and Irish American organizations, but run by the Clan. In addition to Saint Patrick’s Day, committed Irish republicans also celebrated Robert Emmet’s birthday (March 4); the Feast of the Assumption and the anniversary of Hugh O’Neill’s victory at the Battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598 (August 15); and the anniversary of the execution of the Manchester Martyrs in 1867 (November 23).

During the 1880s, Saint Patrick’s Day was marked with enthusiasm by the Irish and thousands attended functions in halls across the city. The halls were decked out with green ribbon and concerts of Irish traditional music and rebel songs took place. Republican songs such as “The wind that shakes the barley” and “The rising of the moon” were particular favorites. Most popular of all was T. D. Sullivan’s “God Save Ireland,” written in 1867 and inspired by the last words of the Manchester Martyrs as they were led from the dock after being sentenced to death.

It was set to the tune of the American Civil War song “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp!” and by the early 1870s it was regularly referred to as the Irish national anthem. At the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in 1888, Clan member and medical doctor Patrick Cronin led the crowd in a rendition of the song so loud “that the rafters shook and the [building] seemed in serious danger of collapsing . . . and the street-car horses on Madison Street shied as they passed a block away.”

For Irish nationalists in Chicago the warmer weather associated with the August 15 celebrations meant that an annual picnic was organized. From 1876 this picnic was held at Ogden’s Grove, near the junction of North and Halsted, far from the working-class centers of south Chicago but within walking distance for many living on the north side of the city. If eating, drinking, dancing, and speeches full of fire and brimstone could defeat Britain then Irish chances of success were high. As “Mr Dooley,” the comic, fictional creation of Finley Peter Dunne, wryly observed: “There’s wan thing about th’ Irish iv this town…they give picnics that does bate all. Be hivins if Ireland cud be freed be a picnic, it ‘d not on’y be free to-day, but an impre [empire].” Thousands attended the picnics, designed in large part as a social gathering for families. Entertainment was laid on for adults and children. There was Irish dancing, alongside the “usual paraphernalia” of merry-go-rounds, fat men’s races, thin men’s races, three-legged races, girls’ sack races, long jumps and high jumps, the wheel of fortune, putting the shot and throwing the hammer, lung testers, and “try your weights.” Stalls sold food and drink and in the evening, following the inevitable political speechmaking, bands played a range of Irish and American dance tunes and the celebrations often culminated with a firework display.

The following decade, things were rather different. In Chicago, Saint Patrick’s Day 1890 came and went without any parade. No Patrick Cronin sang “God Save Ireland,” no rafters shook, no horses shied. Why were the Irish so silent that year? In a word: murder. In May 1889, Dr. Cronin had been summoned from his surgery on an emergency. A man had been injured at Patrick O’Sullivan’s icehouse in Lake View and Dr. Cronin was called to help. However, the call for aid turned out to be a ruse. Cronin was lured to an isolated cottage where he was brutally murdered and his naked and beaten body stuffed into a sewer where it was discovered several weeks later.

The police investigation, and subsequent murder trial, captivated the press and public both in Chicago and beyond. It soon became apparent that Cronin’s murder was the result of an internal dispute within Clan na Gael and fingers were quick to point at Alexander Sullivan, the leader of the Clan. Sullivan was never charged with Cronin’s murder but the press coverage surrounding the case forced Clan na Gael and its activities into the limelight. After such public exposure, the society’s ability to act as an effective fundraiser for Irish republicanism was greatly diminished. Many Irish in Chicago had joined Clan na Gael not because they had any overriding interest in Irish nationalism, but as a way of securing a good job; they were primarily interested in what the Clan could do for them, not for what they could do for Ireland. Cronin’s murder forced them to make a political decision and large numbers walked away from involvement in any form of Irish nationalism.

Chicago’s Irish and Irish American population was divided by the Cronin murder—a split that lasted into the early years of the twentieth century —and, despite the conclusion of the murder trial in December 1889 (several of Sullivan’s supporters were convicted), there was no appetite for any celebration of all things Irish on March 17, 1890. In 1891 the Saint Patrick’s Day parade was revived but it was a subdued affair, and it was many years before Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated with the exuberance we see today.

Gillian O’Brien is a senior lecturer in History at Liverpool John Moores University and the author of “Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago” (Chicago, 2015). Follow her on Twitter @gillianmobrien or her personal blog: gillianmobrien@wordpress.com.

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