Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nightmare at Crystal Lake P.D.

An effort to report an attempted armed robbery in Crystal Lake turned into a nightmare Sunday evening for a young couple.

Early in the evening Erik Strickland, 29, bummed a ride with strangers to a store to buy cigarettes. Along the way the man in the right-front seat announced a robbery, but Erik was able to escape from the car and run.

After fleeing the robbery attempt, he ran many blocks to the location where his wife, Veronika Strickland, 19, was. Four squad cars showed up. Erik was presenting some health issues due to hypoglycemia, and the paramedics were called.
When Veronika tried to approach her husband, she was not allowed to do so. Veronika was searched, even though she had nothing to do with the incident. Even though a female officer was on the scene, a male officer patted her down, pressing items in her jeans pocket and feeling the rear pockets (her buttocks). She asked for a female officer to do the search and was denied. When the female officer approached, she told Veronika that male officers are permitted to pat down females.
She wasn't a suspect; why was she even searched? An officer said to her, "If you are innocent, what are you worried about?" What she was trying to do was find out whether her husband was okay, and the police had apparently already criminalized her!
Erik, Veronika and I had gotten acquainted two weeks ago, following their contact with deputies of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department on June 17. On August 4th I published "How accurate should a report be?"
After the paramedics left, Erik was placed in a squad car, not in handcuffs, and transported to the Crystal Lake Police Department, and Veronika was driven there in a separate police vehicle.
At about 8:30PM Erik called me from the Crystal Lake Police Department. He told me that someone had tried to rob him and that the police had separated his wife and him and would not let them leave. He asked if I could come right over, and I agreed. I told him to ask if he was a suspect and, if he was, to clam up; also, to ask for the highest supervisor available. He said they were threatened to take his cell phone away from him.
While I was driving there, Erik called again. He told me that he wasn't a suspect, that they refused to call a higher supervisor, and again that they were about to take away his cell phone.
I arrived at Crystal Lake PD at 9:00PM and told the dispatcher, via the outside phone, that I wanted to speak with someone in charge. At 9:10PM Sgt. Hulata called me on my cell phone (rather than coming out to talk with me). I identified myself as a friend and a reporter. He refused to discuss the matter, which was not an incorrect response, but he also refused to contact his supervisor.
Erik called me again and told me that he had been told that, if he made a statement, then he could go. He told me that they paraded his wife in front of him and that she was crying very hard.
At 9:29PM I phoned the dispatcher again and requested that Deputy Chief Harris be notified. The dispatcher told me that D/C Harris works Monday-Friday. Of course, all commanders have portable police radios, home phones, cell phones and, probably, pagers. At 9:34PM Erik called me again and told me that Sgt. Hulata was going to let them leave. At 9:53PM Erik and Veronika walked out the front door of the police station.
Erik and Veronika that they were accused of being involved in illegal activities. Erik said he was told that his wife had said they were selling tickets at the train station and one of the officers surmised that tonight's "attempted robbery" was either a drug deal gone bad or that Erik was hallucinating.
Erik said that at one point one of the officers said to him, "I asked you a fucking question and you'll answer it!" He was told that if he refused to write out a statement or cooperate or if they invoked their rights, they'd press charges. Earlier in the evening Erik had told me by phone that the police were threatening to file charges for filing a false police report (n other words, that no attempted robbery had occurred) and for making false 9-1-1 calls.
Veronika said that male officers repeatedly came into her interview room, wanting to know if her husband was on drugs or if she were high.
Erik said he did write out a statement, because he was afraid that he was going to be jailed.
Is this how the criminal justice system works in Crystal Lake?


MindlessWizard said...

Frank, you are an idiot. I'm not even going to bother to comment on this. Once again, taking one side before you know ALL of the FACTS. You do realize you can not fratanize or socialize with the "bad guys" when (big, big IF) you are elected as a Sheriff, right?


Gus said...

Mindless, I encourage you to read Gary Gauger's book and follow the news about this week's trial.

Gus said...

So, Mindless, police coercion, intimidation, unlawful restraint, threats of arrest "if you don't sign" ... those tactics are all okay with you. Right?

Frank said...

Frank/Gus....again, you are only being told one side. All these tactics you are talking about are hearsay. (That means it's only based on their statments, not facts). Also, your story starts off that he bummed a ride with a stranger. And they had police contact with the sheriffs office? What kind of contact? Real upstanding citizens I bet. Have to bum a ride to buy smokes! I believe male officers can search females, so again you are wrong. Should the female officer have searched? Probably. Is it required? NO! Maybe she was busy! Oh, and to say buttocks like that! You are just an absolute piece of work!!! Of course they would search the female after the report of a robbery...they don't know her involvement right away. How does their story not sound fishy to you? Some Sheriff your going to be!

MindlessWizard said...

Of course they are not okay with me. But do you know those are the facts of this case? You are taking these peoples word because they are your friends. Don't blame you for that at all. However, until you know all the facts, don't publish outlandish hearsay based on what these people tell you. Hell, if I got arrested, or brought in for questioning and I was a deadbeat (NOT saying your friends are) I'd get out and tell everybody what a piece of crap police department that was. Just because thats my forte being a deadbeat (again, NOT saying your friends are). People will agree with me on this.

Gus, being in the media (ha ha ha ha) as you are, you should know not to publish hearsay. Get your facts!!

Gus said...

Frank, the guy was the victim, not the robber. His wife's only involvement was as his wife, wanting to know that her husband was okay.

Now, tell me, how does being the wife of a victim qualify for any kind of search?

Anonymous said...

What happened to Erik's car that he bailed out of... did the robber take it?
This whole thing sounds fishy to me and all the facts sure aren't out there I'm sure.
Also, knowing I am an equal opporutunity discriminator, those two don't "look" like savory characters either. They could be the nicest/kindest people in the world, but if you "look the part"...

Notawannabee said...

IN the profession we would call these people FREQUENT FLYERS. Starnge how some people NEVER have any contact with the police while other alwasy seem to be in the WRONG PLACE. I wonder why???

Gus are so blind as not to see these people are always where there is trouble and are claiming to be a victim?

Of course she was searched. All people are searched for officer safety, especially FREQUENT FLYERS.

Female police officers DO search men and men DO search females. DO a constitutional google and you find that the courts have always ruled in favor of the police conducting the search. It's no a grope, its a touch for weapons.

DA said...

This is so comical.

Gus said "At 9:10PM Sgt. Hulata called me on my cell phone (rather than coming out to talk with me). I identified myself as a friend and a reporter."

A reporter? You are paid to report? I guess you consider posting your ramblings on a free blog hosting site makes you a reporter? I post on here too, so should I go out and print up some "reporter" business cards? LOL!

Ever hear of the Journalist Code of Ethics? I guess not, or I guess you choose not to follow them.


Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.

Seek Truth and Report It
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
— Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
— Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
— Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
— Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
— Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
— Never plagiarize.
— Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
— Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
— Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
— Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
— Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

DA said...

Minimize Harm
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:

— Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
— Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
— Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
— Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
— Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
— Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

Be Accountable
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Journalists should:

— Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
— Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
— Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
— Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

DA said...

Gus said...
Frank, the guy was the victim, not the robber. His wife's only involvement was as his wife, wanting to know that her husband was okay.

Now, tell me, how does being the wife of a victim qualify for any kind of search?


Based on YOUR opinion and only one side of the story, you make this statement.

how do you KNOW the guy was the victim? Because he told you? Then it must be the truth, right?

Maybe the guy made up the robbery? Does that ever happen? Do people ever file false police reports?

Yes they do! OMG!!!! Maybe the facts do not coincide with the story given? Yet, without knowing all the details, you immediately make accusations of police coercion, intimidation, and unlawful restraint.

You are some kind of "reporter", Gus! WOW!

Would be hilarious if one of these departments that you keep making unfounded accusations upon finally have enough of your BS and slap you with a lawsuit.

Then again, what do you have they could take? You do not own property, right? Can't take your apartment! Maybe they can take your car and turn it into a DARE car? Probably owe to much on it for it to make it worthwhile to take it....

So you will continue your biased "reporting" and the nutjobs will continue searching you out.

After all, birds of a feather flock together.

kelt436 said...

There has been some speculation regarding your qualifications for the office of Sheriff of McHenry County as you have yet to post them. As you have no quams about not only believing but publishing the accounts of the above "victims" it is clear that you have never been, nor possess the analytical capacity to be, a law enforcement officer. I emplore you to rescind your embarrasing candidacy for the top law enforcement position in the county. Instead I would encourage you to support and campaign for a candidate who may actually know what they are doing. P.s. for the love of god stop refering to yourself as a reporter as even the lowest journalists maintain some scruples regarding verification and research of facts and claims.

Karen12359 said...

Wow. These people are called "frequent flyers" because of the way they look?????
They're YOUNG for Chrissakes.
Ted Bundy was clean cut all american ...

Karen12359 said...

After all, birds of a feather flock together.

And look at who YOU hang with DA ... If you are who I think you are, I'm laughing my ass off!
You spew your garbage on the Island Lake blog as well, where you're about as popular as genital warts. Nasty, nasty man!

Harry B. said...

Gus, I'm going to have to say, you might want to pick your battles a little better. I'm sure the cops did somethings we shouldn't like but if the kids are "frequent flyers" I wouldn't believe everything they say. My main comment is about DA, just write your own blog, man. DA writes a book everytime he leaves a comment. DA is really taking this too seriously. DA must be under a lot of pressure. He's gonna snap!

Gus said...

Harry B., thanks.

I agree.

DA said...

kelt436 said...
There has been some speculation regarding your qualifications for the office of Sheriff of McHenry County as you have yet to post them.


He DID post them, but since he has no qualifications the page was blank!

whatmeworry? said...

With the free legal advice this couple is getting they'll be lucky if they don't end up in the gas chamber.

DA said...

Karen12359 said...
Wow. These people are called "frequent flyers" because of the way they look?????
They're YOUNG for Chrissakes.
Ted Bundy was clean cut all american ...

As usual Karen, You spin what was said into something that was not. Why am I not surprised? It has nothing at all with the way they look (as you want to make it seem) but the way they act.

A frequent flyer is someone that has multiple contacts with the police, and not in a good way. Strange how some people go years without any police contact whatsoever, yet others have multiple contacts every month.

Notawannabee said...

Some people are always in the police blogs as either a VICTIM or an OFFENDER. ( Frequent Flyers) Why is it that Gus fails to see that these idiots are not truthful, always play the victim, and of course are victims of those Wicked POLICE....Of course GUS being the 'Man behind the curtain" has the all powerful ability to know all truths and ALL police should shudder in fear when his name is mentioned. Jeeze man, dO you thing the cops give a hoot about you playing reporter? You have no standing in these cases and unless you can show an Illinois Bar Card, you have aithority and there is no reason to explain anything to you.

Gus said...

Not, thanks for recognizing my "powerful ability to know all truths." Wow! That's the nicest compliment I've had in a long time.

So, we both know that no one shudders in fear at the mention of my name, and the cops don't care whether I'm writing about what is going on.

Except maybe they do. If the police officers and deputies know that someone is watching, for some this is a great inhibitor against illegal actions. For most of them, they won't do one thing differently, because they are already exercising their police powers correctly.

Sgt. Hulata understood that he didn't have to explain anything to me and said so. But he then knew someone was "watching."

Would Erik and Veronika have walked out a few minutes later, if I hadn't been there? Or would Erik have gotten a ride to the McHenry County Jail? Guess we'll never know.