AFP Reporter Speaks Out
AFP readers get update on current status of legal entanglement with cops
By Christopher Bollyn
On Sept. 13, 2006, I appeared in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill. and obtained a 30-day extension to arrange legal counsel for my defense. My next appearance is Oct. 17. Having obtained copies of the police complaint against me, it is clear that the police version of events is continuously changing. The controlled press, however, has dutifully parroted without question the police version, which is erroneous and incomplete.
The fact that I had called 911 to report a suspicious vehicle with three heavily armed men prowling around my home for two consecutive days is not found in the court documents, nor is the fact that three unidentified armed men were engaged in the assault. The police complaints only mention one of the assailants involved.
The three assailants were in court although only one was in uniform. On Sept. 18, I went to the police station to file a formal complaint against the police. But Hoffman Estates Chief of Police Clint Herdegen diverted my complaint by saying that he would order an internal investigation.
More than a month after the incident, Lt. Joe Perritano, who is handling the police department’s internal investigation, told me that the investigation had not even started because he needed my notarized affidavit.
When I pointed out that the identities of the three officers were still being withheld, Perritano finally produced a list with the names of the three men he said were involved in the incident: Officers Michael Barber, Tim Stoy and Darin Felgenhauer.
The two misdemeanor complaints accuse me of aggravated assault against a peace officer, which has been changed from the original charge, which was noted on the bond receipt. I am also being charged with resisting a peace officer.
About assault, Illinois law says, “A person commits an aggravated assault, when, in committing an assault, he knows the individual assaulted to be a peace officer . . .engaged in the execution of any of his official duties. . .
When the three armed men in body armor approached my house and confronted my wife and 8-year-old daughter, I came outside and asked who they were and what they were doing around my house. They refused to identify themselves or explain their mission.
Barber’s complaint said I “spoke in a violent manner.” He also said I “stood in a threatening manner by being in a bladed [sic] stance with one fist clenched and pointed another finger in the face of Officer Barber, thereby placing Officer Barber in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. . . .”
Of course, this is pure fiction. I had not clenched my fist or pointed any fingers. Furthermore, the complaint fails to mention that I had been confronted not by one, but by three men who had come to my house in an unmarked car and had refused to identify themselves.
Who initiated the assault? The only assault that was committed was the assault against me as I went to my house. I had clearly informed the men that I was going to get my brother when they suddenly attacked me from behind. I was then unexpectedly tackled and thrown to the ground, and my left hand was immediately handcuffed while my right arm was pinned beneath my body. Manacled and restrained with two officers holding me down, I was then shocked with a Taser gun.
Barber’s complaint of “resisting a peace officer” says that I had “pulled” my arms away and therefore “knowingly obstructed” a peace officer and “refused to be handcuffed in an effort to defeat the arrest.”
This is another complete fiction. The armed men did not say they were responding to the 911 call and did not identify themselves. I had no way of knowing who they were. On Aug. 16, Lt. Richard Russo, press spokesman, told AFP editor Chris Petherick that the undercover officers had “physically” stopped me from entering my home because I had made statements indicating that I was “going to go inside the house and get a weapon.”
When AFP received the press release, however, the allegation that I was going into my house to get a weapon had been rephrased to say that officers felt I “may be trying to get a weapon.”
As my wife and daughter can attest, I was unable to resist as I was attacked from behind by the armed men. The Taser weapon was applied to my lower back when I was already restrained in handcuffs and held down.
Christopher Bollyn is a much-traveled international journalist currently based in Chicago. He has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects including the controversy surrounding computerized voting systems, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the many unanswered questions surrounding the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
(Issue #40, October 2, 2006)