Prosecutors say that a man who is on electronic monitoring for allegedly firing an assault rifle at a Chicago Housing Authority complex this summer had a loaded and defaced gun in his car on Thursday in the South Loop.
The case makes people wonder about the effectiveness of both cash bail and electronic monitoring in Cook County.
The accused man, Lamont Sims, who is 20, told Judge Charles Beach that he was allowed to drive for DoorDash two days a week while being watched electronically.
He said that was what he was doing when he was caught. Beach said the case “almost brings up the question of whether money bail works or not.”
“You put up $20,000 to get out of jail, sir,” Beach said. “[Electronic monitoring] will be set up for $20,000.” But here we are now.”
During a bail hearing on Friday, prosecutor Rhianna Biernat said that an investigator from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office recently told a Chicago Police Department tactical team that people in a grey Kia Optima had been giving security guards “a lot of trouble” at a certain parking lot.
Biernat said that there were guns and “a lot of money” in the car. Around 3 p.m. on Thursday, Chicago police saw a Kia Optima in the parking lot in the 2000 block of South Michigan and decided to look into it.
Biernat said that when they asked the three people in the car to get out, Sims put something under the driver’s seat.
When the police looked under the seat, they allegedly found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun whose serial number had been covered up.
Officers took Sims into custody, and prosecutors charged him with having a gun with a changed serial number and using it in a dangerous way..
Back on July 23, Chicago police officers heard gunshots and saw a group of people running toward a stolen SUV in the middle of Wentworth Avenue near the Wentworth Gardens housing complex.
Just south of Guaranteed Rate Field is where that is. The police then saw people shooting from the SUV toward the apartment complex.
They followed the car until the people inside got out and ran. Sims was arrested nearby, and Biernat said that surveillance video showed Sims firing an assault rifle at Wentworth Gardens from the SUV’s passenger seat.
Biernat said that investigators found the rifle in the car, a handgun in the back seat of the vehicle, and five more guns “in the area.”
The next day, Judge Barbara Dawkins told Sims that he needed to pay a $20,000 deposit toward his bail before he could be released on electronic monitoring. He did this on August 5.
Then, on October 20, Biernat says, Judge Domenica Stephenson let him leave his house to go to work while he was still being watched electronically.
Sims told Judge Beach on Friday that every Tuesday and Thursday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., he has been “doing DoorDash.”
He said that’s what he was doing Thursday afternoon when the police said they found him in a car with two other people and a gun under the seat in a South Loop parking lot.
His public defender, Suzin Farber, said that Sims had never been in trouble with the law before. She also said that the police only saw him put “something” under his seat.
Farber said no one saw him holding or waving a gun in the car. Beach held Sims without bail at the state’s request after hearing from the lawyers.
Source: CWB Chicago