By Ray Hanania
March 8, 2023
July 2022 was a bad month for law abiding citizens witnessing two teenagers who wielded weapons that resulted in one Chicago Police Officer being killed six months later, and another Oak Lawn Police Officer being railroaded by a corrupt political movement of injustice that puts the concerns of criminals above the concerns of law abiding citizens.
The suspect who murdered Chicago Police Officer Andres Vasquez-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.
Suspect Steven Montano shot and killed Vasquez-Lasso Wednesday near 5200 S. Spaulding Avenue by Sawyer Elementary school’s playground where kids were playing.
The murder might have been prevented if Foxx was concerned about criminals in gun-related crimes.
Montano and two others were arrested on July 28, 2022 after shooting a man twice in his legs near 2600 block of West 23rd Place in Little Village.
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 5 miles through the city stopping them near 74th Street and Parnell in Englewood 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 also suspected 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. And then went on to kill a police officer. Vasquez-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 directed the two teenagers in the car to step out of the car 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 him Abuatelah until he relented.
Abuatelah’s family and the Arab American Action Network accused police of brutality. The protestors disrupted Oak Lawn’s Fire and Police Commission hearing Wednesday, yelling, calling people names, and screaming about “injustice.” The Commission couldn’t conduct its public meeting because AAAN protestors didn’t want the real facts to come out.
(I always love how activists 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 enquiries 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 which 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 the charge will end up just like with Montano who went on to bigger and more deadlier headlines.
This isn’t about the ethnicity of the suspects. I am Arab American and I recognize that Arabs are often the victims of discrimination. But Arab Americans should not defend criminals when they have weapons.
It is about criminals who use weapons but are never properly punished, and police instead are blamed.
When a police officer tells you to do something, do it. There should be a law that imposes strong punishments against anyone who refuses to do what police officers instruct them to do. And instead of just pretending to punish a teenager, the parents of that teenager should be prosecuted for failing to control their children.
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 the prosecuted.
(Ray Hanania is a former Chicago City Hall reporter and award winning columnist. Visit his website at www.Hanania.com.)