Tag: Melrose Park Police Department

Sun-Times: Melrose Park Police Raffled Off Assault Rifle During Taste

Monday, September 18, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Melrose Park mayor Ronald Serpico at the 2017 Taste of Melrose Park. | File 

Apparently, there was more than $3 dishes, music and dancing at the 37th Annual Taste of Melrose Park, which was held Sept. 1 through Sept. 3.

Continue reading “Sun-Times: Melrose Park Police Raffled Off Assault Rifle During Taste”

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One Killed in Melrose Park Shooting on Sunday

Police Lights

Monday, January 16, 2017 || Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

According to an ABC 7 report, police have confirmed that two men were found shot, one of them fatally, in Melrose Park on Sunday.

At around 2:40 p.m. on Jan. 15, Melrose Park police responded to a call a resident made regarding drug dealing near North 12th Ave. and Winston Drive, the report says. When police arrived, they discovered the men in a home on the 1200 block of Winston Drive.

“Police found one person dead of an apparent gunshot wound and another with a minor gunshot wound to the head,” the report notes. “The incident was not random and police said Sunday that there is no threat to the public.” VFP

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Sun-Times: 60-Year-Old Man Found Shot To Death In Melrose Park

Police Lights

Monday, April 25, 2016 || Originally Published: Chicago Sun-Times || By Jordan Owen

A 60-year-old man was found shot to death Monday morning [April 25, 2016] in west suburban Melrose Park.

Officers responding to a well-being check at 6:14 a.m. in the 1300 block of Armitage Street found a man lying on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head, according to a statement from the Village of Melrose Park.

Juan Charo of Stone Park was taken to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, where he was pronounced dead at 6:43 a.m., according to authorities.

Circumstances of the shooting remain unknown as of Monday afternoon. Melrose Park police and the West Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are investigating the death as a homicide. VFP

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P A I D  A D V E R T I S I N G

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S O M E  U P C O M I N G  E V E N T S 

A N N U A L  E A R T H  D A Y  C L E A N  U P,

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In honor of the late Lennel Grace, a tireless Maywood advocate for clean paths, sidewalks and streets, attend this year’s annual Illinois Prairie Path Cleanup, Saturday, April 30, 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m., starting at 11th Avenue and Prairie Path, in Maywood. RSVP JoAnn Murphy, so she can plan accordingly.

Operation Uplift to host April 30 reunion kickoff/fundraiser, in lieu of annual luncheon

West TownOperation Uplift, the Maywood nonprofit that operates the West Town Museum of Cultural History and hosts an annual Martin Luther King, Jr., luncheon, has announced that it will be hosting a reunion kickoff to help support and bring awareness to its daily services in lieu of a luncheon this year.

“Please help us continue to provide more cultural awareness to our local community, stimulate individual growth,  community pride, and educate the Proviso Township area about the collections of art, artifacts and significant historical materials we hold within our doors,” according to a recent release put out by the organization.

The reunion kickoff activities will include educational tours, an African attire fashion show, live entertainment and food.

It will take place on Saturday, April 30, from 1 PM to 4 PM, at Operation Uplift/West Town Museum, 104 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood.

Donations or pledges of any amount are greatly appreciated. Those who give via checks should make them payable to: Operation Uplift, Inc.

For more information please call Jeri Stenson at 708-289-4955 or email operationupliftinc@gmail.com. VFP

ABC 7: Man Charged With Murder In Melrose Park Shooting

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WLS: A 21-year-old man was killed and a 14-year-old boy was critically wounded in a shooting in west suburban Melrose Park.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 || Originally Published: ABC 7 || 5:47 PM 

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (WLS) — A man has been charged in connection with a shooting that killed one person and injured another in Melrose Park, police said.

Police say Ellezer Torres, 22, allegedly fired at two victims seated in a vehicle in the 1100-block of 24th Avenue around 12:32 a.m. Tuesday. One victim died as a result of gunshot wounds; the other victim is in stable condition after being hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds to the back.

Police say the victims may have known the offender prior to the incident.

A bond hearing has been set for Thursday at 9 a.m. in Maywood. VFP

BuzzFeed: Chicago Man Allegedly Shot By Melrose Park Police, Then Charged With Battery–Is Now Suing

count hayes

Friday, June 5, 2015 || Originally Published: BuzzFeed News || 5/4/15 || By Albert Samaha

A Chicago man is suing Melrose Park police after being tased and shot in the foot by police over what he said was a case of mistaken identity. He claims the officer who shot him said, “I should have killed you.”

Count Hayes (pictured above via Cook County Sheriff’s Office) was tased twice and then shot in the foot by police during a pursuit in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park in June 2013. Then he was charged with battery and resisting arrest, and remains imprisoned in a Cook County jail even though he claims the original pursuit only happened because he was mistaken for a burglary suspect.

Hayes, a 27-year old black man from Chicago, is now suing Melrose Park and police officer Michael Resinos, the cop who shot him, for violating his constitutional rights by using excessive force.

The lawsuit is the latest hurdle for a police department of fewer than 100 officers that has faced a series of scandals in recent years — ranging from racial discrimination to corruption. And the suit comes as police departments across the country are facing intense scrutiny for officer-involved shootings and other incidents of alleged brutality.

Christopher Clay, an attorney who represented a client who sued the Melrose Park Police Department for discrimination, told BuzzFeed News that the Melrose Park Police Department is majority white. Melrose Park, which sits around 13 miles west of Chicago, has around 25,000 residents, according to the most recent census data. Around 70 percent of them are Latino, 6 percent are black, and 23 percent are white.

“The majority of the Latino increase in population has probably occurred within the last 10 years,” said Gary Mack, head of Mack Communications, the public relations firm handling the department’s media requests. “The majority of the police force have been there in excess of the last 10 years. Unless you engage in reverse discrimination of some sort and fire people just because they’re the wrong race and hire other ones, one would assume that the composition of the community prior to that would be the pool from which you’re drawing from.”

(Census data shows that 54 percent of Melrose Park’s residents were Latino in 2000.)

According to Hayes’ complaint, he was riding his bike from his grandmother’s home to a corner store at around 1 p.m. on June 26, 2013, when a police car approached him.

“They mistook him for somebody who had committed a burglary” in the area, Hayes’ lawyer Mark Smolens told BuzzFeed News.

Hayes fled because he was on parole, Smolens said. Hayes had served two years in prison after pleading guilty to burglary and aggravated battery of a police officer in December 2010, and was released in March 2013, just a few months before the confrontation in Melrose Park.

He rode his bike into an alley. The police car, the suit states, “attempted to run [him] down.” Hayes then got off his bike and ran, and Officer Resinos pursued him on foot. When Resinos caught Hayes, the suit states, he tased him twice. According to Smolens, Hayes then pushed Resinos down and took off again.

During the pursuit, Resinos shot Hayes in the back of the foot.

Hayes was arrested and taken to the hospital. An official at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office told BuzzFeed News that Hayes was charged with aggravated battery against a police officer and resisting arrest. He was not charged with burglary. He remains locked up in the county jail under a $200,000 bond. Two years awaiting trial is “not an unheard of amount of time,” an official at the State’s Attorney’s Office told BuzzFeed News. “They’re in the pretrial stage still.”

Resinos wrote in his police report that the shooting was an accident and that he was trying to holster his gun when it went off, Smolens said.

The suit, however, claims that, as Hayes lay on the ground after the shooting, Resinos said to him, “I should have killed you.” Smolens also told BuzzFeed News that a second officer, who arrived at the scene during the pursuit, wrote in his own statement about the incident that Resinos pulled out his gun and pointed it at Hayes before pulling the trigger.

The suit only identifies this second officer’s last name, Caliendo. Smolens declined to provide BuzzFeed News a copy of the police documents until they are entered into discovery. Mack told BuzzFeed News that the department would not comment on the lawsuit.

The Illinois State Police conducted an investigation into the shooting. Smolens and Mack said that the investigation cleared Resinos of wrongdoing. Resinos continues to work for the department, Mack said. An official from the Illinois State Police declined to discuss the specifics of the investigation because of the pending lawsuit, but said that the agency’s “Public Integrity Task Force investigated this case. The State Attorney’s Office declined prosecution on this case and it has been completed and returned to Melrose Park.”

The Melrose Park Police Department is no stranger to investigations. In 2007, the Department of Justice indicted the department’s police chief and six other officers on charges that they extorted local businesses into using the chief’s private security company. The chief, Vito Scavo, was found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison. In April, Melrose Park detective Greg Salvi, an 18-year veteran of the force, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking.

Over the years the department has also faced accusations of racism and sexism from within its own ranks. In a 2012 lawsuit, Sgt. Kyll Lavalais, stating that he had been the only black officer out of 75 since he first joined the department in 1987, sued for discrimination, claiming he was being denied career opportunities because of his race. That same year, Leslie Shankle, who said that she was the only woman on the force, also sued for discrimination, claiming that she too had been passed up for promotions because of her gender. In a 2014 lawsuit, Eduardo Ramirez claimed that the department did not hire him because he was Latino.

In all three cases, the city settled out of court.

UPDATE

This story has been updated to include quotes and information from the public relations firm representing the Melrose Park Police Department. Jun. 4, 2015, at 12:37 p.m. VFP

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BGA: Taking A Hit In Melrose Park – Cop Arrested, Police Department Bruised

Greg SalviMonday, April 27, 2015 || Originally Published: Better Government Association (BGA) || By Robert Herguth

Melrose Park Police Detective Greg Salvi (pictured) was recently arrested by the FBI and charged with some pretty heavy drug trafficking offenses.

Click here, here and here for the official documents.

To put some of the more startling accusations in math terms, Salvi was engaged in subtraction – allegedly taking away (or plotting to take away) drugs that police held as evidence.

But his overall goal seemed to involve addition – adding money to his pocket by selling (or planning to sell) drugs in different schemes, federal records show.

There are things, though, that still don’t compute, including Salvi’s reasons for allegedly breaking bad.

Like, what was this guy thinking? Did he need the money – and, if so, why?

Melrose Park officials are bending over backwards to portray Salvi’s reputed misconduct as limited to just him, which very well may be true.

Nobody else from the police department has been charged with a crime or otherwise accused of wrongdoing in this instance. Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico (pictured below) said of Salvi, “All indications from the FBI is it’s isolated and just him.”

Even so, Melrose Park Police Chief Sam Pitassi said of this case, “It set our department back.”

The department’s image was never pristine, even before Pitassi’s predecessor, Vito Scavo, went off to prison in 2010 for corruption – forcing local businesses, including the amusement park Kiddieland, to hire his private security firm, which was staffed with on-duty cops.ron_serpico

The department has also taken somewhat of a beating since then; we’ve done a number of stories about the municipal government, including the police force and some of the curious behavior there.

Consider a story we did in 2012 about Deputy Melrose Park Police Chief Michael Castellan and his side business, which not only sold uniforms to his own department, but also sold his agency a slew of Motorola radios – though nobody could say where they came from originally.

Here’s what we wrote at the time:

So far as we can tell, there’s no warranty, no paperwork from the manufacturer, no indication of bidding—very little of anything in the village’s official record except a copy of a check and an invoice.
Which raises two points: Why did the village buy the radios? And where did they come from?

A village spokesman answered the first question by basically saying, Hey, we bought the radios from Castellan because it was good equipment at a good price.

But nobody seems to know where the radios originated.

A Motorola spokesman told the BGA via email that Shirt Stop [Castellan’s company] “is not an authorized Motorola dealer and is not licensed to sell Motorola Solutions radios.”

Fast forward to 2013 when we did another story about the police department – how a number of officers belonged to a motorcycle “club” that included members wearing patches showing support for the Outlaws, which the federal government has described as a criminal enterprise.

The story, done in conjunction with CBS2, “raises questions about whether police officers can function in such an environment and maintain their integrity and independence,” we wrote at the time.

Speaking of integrity, there’s a possibility Salvi’s arrest could undermine at least two drug cases, since he allegedly stole evidence relating to them, Pitassi said.

Too early to say for sure, but this could mean that criminal charges are dropped for certain drug defendants.

Salvi has pleaded not guilty to his own criminal charges. He has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in the South Loop.

So who is Salvi?

He has been on the force since 1997 and was making more than $80,000 a year. He’s married, has kids.

Serpico described Salvi as “a little bit of a hustler.”

Salvi had something to do with selling cars as a side job, Serpico said.

Someone else recalled Salvi hawking purses at the police station some years ago.

Then there was Salvi’s unsuccessful attempt to get disability pay for an injury he said he incurred at the murder scene where ex-Melrose Park police Sgt. Ron Susek was found dead in 2012.

Doubts were cast on Salvi’s version because other officers at the crime scene couldn’t recall Salvi getting hurt, and Salvi didn’t mention an injury until later, Pitassi said.

Salvi, as a detective, “never set the world on fire,” a police official told us.

But Salvi also wasn’t a huge problem. “Nobody’s ever filed a citizen complaint form,” Pitassi said.

Is Salvi now cooperating with the feds?

“He’s been focused on defending himself,” said his lawyer, Adam Sheppard.

The U.S. attorney’s office, which is prosecuting Salvi, had no comment on any of this.

Bottom-line: Aside from allegedly stealing and selling or planning to steal and sell drug evidence, Salvi is, among other things, accused of partaking in a five-kilo cocaine deal – though on that point Sheppard said, “He got set up by informants . . . which could have implications at trial or the sentencing hearing.”

Regardless, this case is having implications for the Melrose Park Police Department.

Pitassi said he’s instituting changes to better protect evidence being transported by his people. From now on, one detective isn’t allowed to pick up or drop off drugs at the lab. There must be two detectives accompanying drug evidence to prevent thefts or other problems.

Pitassi is also reassigning the employee overseeing the evidence room, but insists that person didn’t do anything wrong and still enjoys Pitassi’s confidence.

Salvi is being fired, officials said.

We have to ask: Where was the supervision of Salvi?

And he was a detective. What cases didn’t he work on or solve because he was too busy – on the clock for taxpayers – trying to allegedly make a bundle off bundles of drugs?

“We’re going over all the cases assigned to him,” Pitassi relayed.

Melrose Park is a tight-knit place and the department (with 75 sworn officers) even more so.

Salvi was part of a group of police employees that’d go to breakfast together in the mornings, we’re told.

For the foreseeable future, there’s going to be one less guy at the table. VFP

Robert Herguth can be reached at rherguth@bettergov.org or (312) 821-9030.

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UPDATE: Contrary To Earlier Report, No Injuries, No Evidence After Reported Shooting Near Walther Christian Academy, Melrose Park Police Say

Friday, April 11, 2014 || By Michael Romain 

In a memorandum released this morning from Melrose Park Police Chief Sam Pitassi, an earlier report stating that an alleged shooting near Walther Christian Academy yesterday resulted in one wounded is not accurate.

According to the memorandum, yesterday at 11:36 AM, Melrose Park police responded to reports of shots fired in an alley on the 800 block of 11th Avenue in Melrose Park, less than three blocks away from the campus of Walther Christian Academy, located at 900 Chicago Avenue in Melrose Park.

According to Jim Craven, Walther’s principal, the reported gunshots may have been in connection to a fight that broke out involving 10-12 teenagers, none of whom he believes are students at the school.

Although the police memorandum doesn’t mention the group of teenagers, it does state that a juvenile has since been brought in for questioning.

“Witnesses reported that two vehicles were in the area of the 800 block of 11th Avenue. Witnesses heard what appeared to be gun shots coming from one of the vehicles. Both vehicles fled from the scene and matter still being investigated by MPPD [Melrose Park Police Department]. A vehicle matching description was located in Maywood and being processed. A juvenile was brought in for questioning about the incident. Area schools were notified and placed on soft lock down for precautionary reasons. There are no victims or offenders at this time and no evidence located on scene.”

Officials at the Maywood Police department could not be reached for comment at this time.

Melrose Park police are asking that anyone with information that may be of help to investigators on the case contact the department at (708) 344-8409. VFP