Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Thanks to Foxx, criminals run free

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By Ray Hanania

The 18-year-old man who reportedly murdered Chicago Police Officer Andrés Vásquez Lasso was a known gang member who slipped through the judicial system because of lenient policies towards gun-wielding criminals by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

Steven Montano allegedly shot and killed Vásquez Lasso on March 1 near 53rd and Sawyer, by Sawyer Elementary school’s playground, where kids were playing.

The murder might have been prevented if Foxx were concerned about criminals in gun-related crimes.

Montano and two others were arrested on July 28, 2022 after allegedly participating in the shooting of a man twice in his legs near 2600 block of West 23rd Place.

RayHanania

Ray Hanania

Witnesses identified the suspects in a white Honda Accord with tinted windows, which police determined was stolen two days before.

Police spotted the Honda near 26th and Whipple and chased them five miles through the city, stopping them near 74th Street and Parnell before they abandoned the car.

All three were caught, and police found two guns used in the shooting between the car and the route in which the suspects had run. Montano was accused of recruiting a minor to commit gun crimes.

Montano was charged with felony aggravated battery with a firearm on July 28, 2022, and the masked driver was charged with felony gun possession. His case is still pending.

Foxx gave Montano “an alternative to traditional prosecution” because of his young age and lack of a previous criminal record, which is how Foxx describes career criminals who escape the law before finally getting caught.

Foxx dropped the felony charges and the resisting arrest charge against Montano three months later. Montano performed 25 hours of community service. He then allegedly went on to kill a police officer. Vásquez Lasso might still be alive had it not been for Foxx’s leniency towards criminals.

This kind of crime pattern involving suspects with guns plays out all the time. Suspects involved in gun shootings are arrested and given leniency. They then go out and commit more crimes.

That’s why I am so concerned about the grave injustice being perpetrated in Oak Lawn against Police Officer Patrick O’Donnell, 32, who with another officer pulled over a vehicle on July 27, 2022 in a routine traffic stop (the day before Montano was arrested in Chicago).

Police smelled marijuana and politely asked the two people in the car to step out of the vehicle and be searched. The driver cooperated and did what he was told. O’Donnell and another officer searched him and had him step to the side.

Police asked Hadi Abuatelah, who was 17 and in the back seat, to step out, but to leave the large bag that was in his hands on the seat. Instead of listening to police, he grabbed the bag, which had a loaded weapon, and ran.

Police tackled Abuatelah, who was on the ground, refusing to release the bagged weapon. Police punched Abuatelah until he relented.

Abuatelah’s family and the Arab American Action Network accused police of brutality. The protesters disrupted Oak Lawn’s Fire and Police Commission hearing on March 1, yelling, calling people names, and screaming about injustice. The Commission couldn’t conduct its public meeting because AAAN protesters didn’t want the real facts to come out.

The Oak Lawn Patch and writer Lorraine Swanson posted a great video of the protests you must watch. Click the Hot Topics link at hanania.com.

(I always love how groups demand passage of gun and assault weapons bans, except when one of their own has one.)

The Village of Oak Lawn issued a statement saying Foxx refused to respond to inquiries to provide information on the charges against O’Donnell. They were never provided with any of the reports Foxx claims justify indicting and charging O’Donnell.

O’Donnell is being railroaded by Foxx and a system of injustice that puts criminal rights above the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Abuatelah, who had a dangerous weapon in his possession, faces a “gun charge” in juvenile court. But we all know nothing will happen with that. Maybe it will end up just like Montano, who went on to bigger headlines last week.

This isn’t about the ethnicity of the suspects. I am Arab American and recognize that Arabs are often the victims of discrimination. Arab Americans should not defend criminals when they have weapons.

It is about criminals who use weapons but are never properly punished and police are instead blamed.

O’Donnell is a hero for protecting law-abiding citizens from punks who carry loaded weapons while driving around the neighborhoods. The charges against O’Donnell should be dropped. Criminals with loaded guns should be prosecuted.

Ray Hanania is a former Chicago City Hall reporter and award-winning columnist. Visit hanania.com for more of his writing.

3 Comments

  1. Michael Brown on March 6, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Did you see where the Georgia GOP is trying to pass a law to remove any DA who tries to indict Trump and how Trump is trying to block Pence from testifying against him on the Jan 6 insurrection? How about complaining about the GOP setting criminals free?
    Hypocrites



  2. Concerned citizen on March 7, 2023 at 9:28 am

    With CTA crime being a real issue, a few days ago a passenger riding the red line train was placed in custody for smoking marijuana on the train. When he was arrested a search was conducted and a loaded firearm was found in his book bag. Cook County State’s Attorney denied felony charges because he has a FOID, no CCL and they classify a book bag with a zipper as a closed container. This is nonsense! It takes less than a second to unzip that bag and grab the firearm to cause harm a public transportation system with hundreds of citizens.



  3. D Cir on March 8, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    If the kid was arrested in Winnetka, Wilmette, Highland Park or Kenilworth would he/she have been charged with any type of weapons crimes or just released or charged with a misdemeanor which would be quietly dismissed?
    Our governor and his democrat minions are all about being anti gun. The reality in Cook County is the State’s Attorney routinely turns a blind eye to enforcing any and all kinds of gun offenses, and all kinds of crimes committed by persons using or in possession of a gun?
    The non-prosecution, release, or dismissal of charges on offenders in Cook County is a cancerous ineptitude of a failed social justice experiment of an inept prosecutor, supported by a naïve chief judge and manipulative county board president.
    How can anyone demand accountability of the public if the hypocrisy displayed and practiced daily by elected officials encourages and rewards illegal behavior?



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