DeKalb police break down, explain Terry stop before arrest of McDowell

DeKALB – Newly obtained dispatch audio from the Aug. 24 arrest of an Aurora man includes a DeKalb police officer calling the incident a “drug-related traffic stop,” as he coordinates getting the DeKalb County Sherrif’s Office’s K-9 unit to assist.

The 50-second audio clip from 10:57 a.m. Aug. 24, obtained by the Daily Chronicle through a Freedom of Information Act request, the DeKalb officer asks dispatch if the dog is available, to which the sheriff’s dispatcher replies yes, although the unit is on another call. The DeKalb Police Department does not have a K-9 unit.

The Aug. 24 arrest of Aurora man Elonte McDowell gained national media attention, after DeKalb police pulled McDowell over in the parking lot of Lincoln Tower, 1100 W. Lincoln Highway, but did not answer his frequent questions about why he was being pulled over. While arresting McDowell, DeKalb police wrestled McDowell to the ground and one officer appeared to wrap his arms around McDowell’s neck. A DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputy then fired a taser at McDowell while he was on the ground.

“Well we don’t need him right this second, but we may need him soon,” the DeKalb officer is heard saying. “Because we possibly have a very drug-related traffic stop in just a little bit here.”

DeKalb interim Police Chief John Petragallo called the type of stop a “Terry stop,” a special type of stop where police search someone suspected of an impending crime.

What is a Terry stop, and what are the rights for those who find themselves in such situations with police?

Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy for the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Terry stops became a frequent police procedure after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a 1968 case known as Terry v. Ohio.

The case involved a police officer detaining three Cleveland men who they said were behaving suspiciously, seemingly to prepare for an armed robbery. The police did a pat-down search of the men, which found a revolver, which then led to two of the men being charged (and convicted) of carrying a concealed weapon. The men appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that the revolver only was found after what they said was an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment, which grants people the right to be protected from unreasonable searches on their person.

The court ruled the searches were legal – however, because the officer had a reasonable, explainable suspicion that the three men could be armed and dangerous.

“Under the Terry holding, a police officer can stop you and can then conduct a search of your physical person,” Yohnka said. “They don’t have to explain why, but the trade-off for that, the theory, is that the police officer has to be able to articulate some reason that the officer felt that he or she was in danger.”

Petragallo has said the officers who stopped McDowell were acting on reports that McDowell was seen advertising on Snapchat that he was coming to DeKalb “with a load of drugs,” court records show.

“In this particular case, we got a telephone call into our dispatch center from a person that described a lot of what was happening,” Petragallo said in a community meeting Sept. 4. “The date, time that this vehicle would be coming into town. There was a lot of information as part of this tip. So the DeKalb police coming upon Mr. McDowell was based on the info we received and was corroborated, so we have records of this information coming in.”

Petragallo said law enforcement officers engage in Terry stops frequently, and he described the stops as “when an officer believes a crime is being committed, about to be committed, or was committed.”

“If they have one of those three things, they have the authority to stop a vehicle or person for a brief amount or reasonable amount of time to establish whether or not crime is occurring,” Petragallo said.

Petragallo also has said he believes better communication could have occurred between DeKalb police and McDowell.

An independent and external investigation of the incident – conducted by the Illinois State Police at the joint request of Petragallo and DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott – is expected to take weeks.

McDowell next will be in DeKalb County court Oct. 11 for a status hearing, as he faces charges of unlawful possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, criminal trespass to property and resisting a police officer. If convicted of the most serious charge of unlawful possession with intent to deliver, McDowell could face up to five years in prison.

Democratic candidate calls Kinzinger ‘tone deaf’

A Democratic Congressional candidate in U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s district is challenging a statement the congressman made calling for Air Force officials to stop any investigation into Air Force crew who stayed at President Donald Trump’s resort in Scotland.

La Salle County Democratic Chairwoman Dani Brzozowski, who announced last week her challenge to Kinzinger’s seat in 2020, said the Channahon Republican missed the point of why the story gained headlines.

“The scandal is that, once again, Rep. Kinzinger has taken an opportunity to defend the continued lining of President Trump’s pockets with taxpayer dollars,” Brzozowski said in a press statement. “It’s corruption, and Kinzinger both participates in that corruption and defends it. That’s the scandal.”

Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, reacted to a Politico story reporting the joint Air Force and Alaska Air National Guard unit on a routine mission to Kuwait “went miles out of their way to spend the night at a resort in Scotland owned by President Donald Trump.”

According to the Associated Press, the military transport took off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage in March and spent the night at Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow.

Kinzinger wrote in an op-ed for Fox News the Air Force crew was given a per diem for expenses, and has the right to pick any location and food choices within that amount, including the hotel room, according to the Department of Defense travel guidelines.

Kinzinger called on Air Force officials to halt investigating the situation.

The Democratic candidate said Kinzinger’s response is removed and “tone deaf,” at a time when 40% of adults say they don’t have the ability to cover a $400 emergency. 

“The scandal here, of course, isn’t that our servicemen and women stayed in a decent hotel,” Brzozowski said. “The scandal is that Rep. Kinzinger took this opportunity not to point out critical economic challenges facing service members and veterans, or to draw attention to the people in his district for whom staying in a Trump hotel is an unfathomable luxury.”

She said her father was a non-commissioned officer, noting there was a class difference between soldiers and commissioned officers, such as Kinzinger. She said her family was judicious in its spending with travel pay.

“I can’t tell you how many stories my dad has about his ‘accommodations’ while traveling in the military,” Brzozowski said. “Certainly, there was no horseback riding on the beach, organic Scottish seaweed spa package, or ‘bucket-list’ golf course like the one featured at the Trump Turnberry.”

Brzozowski said there are 1.4 million U.S. veterans who live in a household that participates the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“The scandal is that on any given night in the United States of America, there are upwards of 40,000 veterans sleeping on the streets,” she added.

Military flights making stopovers in Scotland are not unusual, and there were no rooms closer to the airport, an Air Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas said to The Associated Press.

A local government contractor made the Scotland reservations, and indicated there was not a room closer to the airport than the Trump resort, 54 miles away, Thomas said. He noted it was a reasonable distance to travel to receive the government rate for the rooms. He said the Trump resort had rooms for $136 a night, cheaper than a Marriott, which charged $161 a night. However, he said both are under the per diem rate of $166.

Air Force overnight stays are generally based on mission requirements and government fuel contract availability, Kinzinger wrote, noting the planning comes from the Tactical Air Control Center. Kinzinger wrote he preferred staying “at the nicer places” during his time in the Air Force, but some of his colleagues preferred pocketing the extra money from staying at a cheaper accommodation.

Kinzinger said if given the choice to stay at Turnberry during a mission, he would.

“It’s a choice, and it’s that of our service members to make — not the firing squads on Twitter,” Kinzinger wrote. “And this choice is in the regulation written by our Department of Defense.”

Trump, who owns hotels and golf clubs across the U.S. and in Europe, has come under criticism for frequenting properties he owns and profits from — giving them taxpayer-funded publicity and spending millions of dollars in taxpayer costs.

DeKalb County Sheriff releases stats on speeding enforcement

As construction work continues on Plank Road and Peace Road in DeKalb County, law enforcement are keeping a watchful eye on the areas to enforce speed limit restrictions.

According to a news release from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, 57 citations were issued during their monthlong speeding enforcement campaign in August in the construction zones.

Of that total number, 51 of the citations were for speeding, and the six others were for driving on a suspended license, driving without a valid driver’s license, operating uninsured, and driving with a suspended registration.

In the construction areas of Plank Road and Peace Road, regardless of whether workers are present or not, the speed limit is 45, sheriff’s deputies reminded drivers, according to the release.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office says it will continue ti aggressively enforce speed limits in the work zones, according to the release.

The speeding enforcement campaign was funding by grants through the Illinois Department of Transportation using federal dollars managed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the release.

Upcoming tenant group meeting advises renters to know their rights

DeKALB – If you’re a renter in DeKalb and wondering how to get your security deposit back when you move, or what your rights are as a renter in the city, the DeKalb Tenants Association wants you to come to their next meeting.

Set for 6 p.m. Sept. 24 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 900 Normal Road in DeKalb, the association will host a Tenants Rights Workshop with representatives from Northern Illinois University’s Student Legal Services on hand to answer questions.

According to a news release from the tenants association, the meeting also will provide opportunity for people to ask questions anonymously if they’re worried about publicly speaking out against their landlord.

Questions can be submitted before to dekalbtenants@gmail.com, via phone call call to 815-216-5695, or via the DeKalb Tenants Association Facebook page.

Tenants who know their rights are less likely to be victims of predatory housing practices, according to the release.

Property owner asks District 428 to examine all students’ residency

DeKALB – DeKalb developer Jim Mason is pushing back against a federal judge’s dismissal of his lawsuit claiming that a significant portion of District 428 students lives outside the district.

Mason, whose company Mason Properties controls more than 700 rental housing units in DeKalb, says he plans to file an appeal of the ruling next week.

However, Mason also offered to withdraw his suit seeking $135 million he says the district owes to DeKalb property owners if the board agrees to a full vetting of students districtwide to gauge residency requirements. Mason estimates the investigation would cost $60,000, the costs of which he offered to pay – but only if the investigation found his claim that at least 7% of students live outside the district to be false.

“If they reject the proposal, it proves that they don’t want to vet the schools,” Mason said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m making a point here. But after that? No, I can’t do anything. We’re in between a rock and a hard place.”

Mason’s two-year-old suit against the school district, originally filed under the name “John Doe,” was tossed out by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer earlier this month. Pallmeyer ruled that the federal court did not have jurisdiction over local tax issues and ordered Mason to pay the district’s court costs.

Mason’s latest proposal to the district was delivered by Dwayne Brown and Will Heinisch of DeKalb, who spoke on his behalf to the D-428 school board Tuesday. Mason is holding to his assertion that because more than 7% of students attending DeKalb public schools live outside the district boundaries, DeKalb property owners pay higher taxes.

District Superintendent Jamie Craven and board President Samantha McDavid declined to comment on the matter.

Brown and Heinisch read Mason’s proposal during Tuesday’s’ meeting, although the board did not reply.

In the proposal, Mason threatened further legal action against the district if his offer was rejected, including continued litigation. If the district agrees to Mason’s request to investigate all students’ residency, Mason said he would drop his lawsuit. If findings of an investigation found that over 7% of students did not live in the district, Mason would ask the district to reimburse him for the $60,000 investigative costs.

The district conducted a limited investigation of student residency earlier. Of the 20% of students examined, investigators identified about 60 students whose residency was in question.

'He was deranged' – Former colleague calls fetal remains discovery 'beyond comprehension'

A doctor who once worked as a backup physician for an abortion doctor called him “deranged” and a “psychopath” after learning authorities found more than 2,200 preserved fetal remains on his property in Will County.

The Will County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that detectives and personnel from the Will County Coroner’s Office found 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains on the property of Dr. Ulrich Klopfer. Court records show Klopfer lived on Pine Court in Crete Township.

Klopfer, who died Sept. 3, provided gynecological care, abortions and vasectomies at three clinics in Indiana, according to state records. The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana suspended Klopfer’s license in November 2016 after finding he violated state law and regulations at his clinics.

Dr. Geoffrey Cly, who is anti-abortion, said he worked for three years as a backup physician for Klopfer to address any complications from patients on whom he performed abortions. Cly said he left that role after learning Klopfer was performing abortions on minors who had been sexually abused.

Cly said in a statement that the news of authorities finding fetal remains at Klopfer’s property was “shocking and horrific.” He said Klopfer meets the definition of a psychopath.“Klopfer was a psychopath and I am happy he has left this earth,” Cly said.

Since the disturbing discovery of fetal remains at Klopfer’s property, several Indiana state lawmakers have called on Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to investigate Klopfer’s clinics in Gary, South Bend and Fort Wayne to see if they also have fetal remains.

“It’s hard to imagine what this man was doing and what was going through his mind,” Indiana state Rep. Ron Bacon said.

Hill said in a statement that his office has “reason to believe there is an Indiana connection to these remains.”

“This past weekend, I conferred with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, and he and I have agreed to work together as my office coordinates an investigation,” Hill said.

Hill said the discovery of the fetal remains “shocks the conscience.”

The sheriff’s office, coroner’s office and Will County State’s Attorney’s Office are conducting a joint investigation of the fetal remains at Klopfer’s property. The sheriff’s office declined to release further information and the state’s attorney’s office declined to comment.

Will County Coroner Pat O’Neil did not return calls Monday.

Bacon said there are many questions that need answers, such as what Klopfer was doing with the fetal remains, what his purpose was for keeping them and if patients were notified he had the remains.

Cly said it was “really crazy” if Klopfer was taking the fetal remains to his property and saving them.

“It’s a psychological derangement. It’s beyond comprehension,” Cly said.

In a 2016 Medical Licensing Board of Indiana finding, Klopfer terminated the pregnancy of a 10-year-old who reported to him she had been raped, but Klopfer did not report the child’s claim to any law enforcement agency.

Cly said he only met Klopfer in person once when he had to sign paperwork for him. He said he remembered Klopfer justifying his abortion practice at the time by saying he was preventing women from suffering.

Cly said Klopfer also asked how it was fine for Americans to bomb women and children in Dresden, where he lived, during World War II, but it was not fine for him to perform abortions.

“He was deranged,” Cly said.

Teachers’ union members could be set for 15% raise over next 4 years

DeKALB – Under a proposed four-year agreement, members of the DeKalb District 428 teachers’ union could receive a 15% pay increase in the next four years if the school board votes to approve the proposed contract Tuesday.

After months of negotiations, multiple demonstrations during school board meetings, a strike vote, and DeKalb Classroom Teachers’ Association members beginning the school year without a new contract, a union settlement is up for a vote during Tuesday’s District 428 Board of Education meeting, set for 7 p.m.

Annual salary increases would occur on an incremental basis, according to the contract, and reach cumulative 15% in 2023, when the proposed contract would expire.

According to the proposed contract for the DeKalb Classroom Teachers’ Association, members would get a 2% increase to their base pay beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, a 1.75% increase the second year (2020-2021), a 1.5% increase in the third year (2021-2022), and a 1% increase the final year (2022-2023).

There also would be an annual step increase of 2.21% awarded to association members, according to the contract.

When reached Monday, T.J. Fontana, spokesperson for the association and a math teacher at DeKalb High School, declined to comment ahead of the vote. Board President Samantha McDavid did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Under the contract, association members would stop getting a step increase after 24 years of teaching they have a bachelor’s degree, and 29 years if they have a master’s degree.

Under the proposed changes, if a union member received a step increase each year on top of base pay increases, they would get a 14.86% cumulative pay raise over the four-year contract.

Additionally, instructors could also receive a twice-yearly $250 stipend (from 2021 to 2024) if they teach a classroom size that exceeds a set size as yet undetermined by a task force, which will collect data in 2019 and 2020, according to the contract.

In order for the stipend to go into effect, a task force will be created, composed of teachers, administrators, school board members and parents who will gather data and meet for two years to research what an ideal student-teacher ratio in the district should be, documents show.

The union represents more than 500 educators. In addition to teachers, the union also includes coaches, counselors, social workers, speech language pathologists, psychologists, nurses, librarians and instructional coaches, among others.

DeKalb teachers, educators and other members of the association have been working under the old contract since school began Aug. 15.

'He was deranged' — Doctor called fetal remains discovery 'beyond comprehension'

A doctor who once worked as a backup physician for an abortion doctor called him “deranged” and a “psychopath” after learning authorities found more than 2,200 preserved fetal remains on his property in Will County.

The Will County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday that detectives and personnel from the Will County Coroner’s Office found 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains on the property of Dr. Ulrich Klopfer. Court records show Klopfer lived on Pine Court in Crete Township.

Klopfer, who died Sept. 3, provided gynecological care, abortions and vasectomies at three clinics in Indiana, according to state records. The Medical Licensing Board of Indiana suspended Klopfer’s license in November 2016 after finding he violated state law and regulations at his clinics.

Dr. Geoffrey Cly, who is against abortion, said he worked for three years as a backup physician for Klopfer to address any complications from patients on which he performed abortions. Cly said he left that role after learning Klopfer was performing abortions on minors who had been sexually abused.

Cly said in a statement that the news of authorities finding fetal remains at Klopfer’s property is "shocking and horrific." He said Klopfer meets the definition of a psychopath.

“Klopfer was a psychopath and I am happy he has left this earth,” Cly said.

Since the disturbing discovery of fetal remains at Klopfer’s property, several Indiana state lawmakers have called on Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to investigate Klopfer’s clinics in Gary, South Bend and Fort Wayne to see if they also have fetal remains.

“It’s hard to imagine what this man was doing and what was going through his mind,” said Indiana state Rep. Ron Bacon.

Hill said in a statement that his office has “reason to believe there is an Indiana connection to these remains.”

“This past weekend, I conferred with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, and he and I have agreed to work together as my office coordinates an investigation,” Hill said.

Hill said the discovery of the fetal remains “shocks the conscience.”

The sheriff’s office, coroner’s office and Will County State’s Attorney’s Office are conducting a joint investigation of the fetal remains at Klopfer’s property. The sheriff’s office declined to release further information and the state’s attorney’s office declined to comment.

Will County Coroner Pat O’Neil failed to return calls Monday.

Bacon said there are many questions that need answers, such as what Klopfer was doing with the fetal remains, what his purpose was for keeping them and if patients were notified he had the remains.

Cly said it was “really crazy” if Klopfer was taking the fetal remains to his property and saving them.

“It’s a psychological derangement. It’s beyond comprehension,” Cly said.

In a 2016 Medical Licensing Board of Indiana finding, Klopfer terminated the pregnancy of a 10-year-old who reported to him she had been raped, but Klopfer did not report the child's claim to any law enforcement agency.

Cly said he only met Klopfer in person once when he had to sign paperwork for him. He said he remembered Klopfer justifying his abortion practice at the time by saying he was preventing women from suffering. Cly said Klopfer also asked how it was fine for Americans to bomb women and children in Dresden, where he lived, during World War II, but it was not fine for him to perform abortions.

"He was deranged," Cly said.

DeKalb, NIU community comes out to Clean the Kish

DeKALB –­ Volunteers from Northern Illinois University and the DeKalb County community united Sunday to clean up a stretch of the Kishwaukee River.

Organizers of the sixth annual Clean the Kish event said that their efforts help put a number of things in perspective when it comes to the environment.

“I think that Clean the Kish helps volunteers see the bigger picture; how much plastic, debris and garbage finds its way into our river,” said Madelynn Bramm, special events manager of outdoor adventures, recreation and wellness for NIU.

Some children and their parents signed up to participate, which Bramm said is important for younger generations.

“It gives them a sense of community seeing people come together to create a little difference,” she said. “It’ll also foster an environmental view from an early age so that as they grow, they are more environmentally aware and can continue to make a difference either within the community or on a larger scale.”

Misty Smith of Rochelle took to the grassy area along the east lagoon with her fiancé, Andres Garcia, picking up litter.

“It’s pretty nice,” she said, referring to the turnout. “I was worried we would get rained out.”

Clean the Kish was a first for Smith and Garcia, both of whom said they have full-time jobs often preventing them from getting involved in similar cleanup events.

“I loved that my honey was going to Clean the Kish,” she said. “He signed up, so I tagged along.”

Smith said she was surprised to find a couple of tiny shells while doing her part to clean up.

“That and just the amount of Styrofoam,” Garcia said.

The Kishwaukee River Basin is home to more than 60 species of fish, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ website. The Kishwaukee River starts at Shabbona and flows north toward Rockford until it empties into the Rock River.

Volunteers might reap some benefits from deciding to participate in Clean the Kish.

Bramm said the Kishwaukee River provides the community with perfect recreational opportunities for paddling and fishing.

A growing movement

Volunteers were divided into several working groups to clean up one of three areas: the grassy area along the east lagoon, the area along the west lagoon and Lions Park grounds.

Organizers provided volunteers with gloves, pickup sticks, nets and trash bags.

Last year, Clean the Kish had 23 people sign up in advance, but organizers said at least 100 volunteers showed up.

“I think that volunteers are drawn to the idea that Clean the Kish is a good way to contribute to the bettering our community and environment,” Bramm said. “They also get a sense of community when they work with others towards the common goal of cleaning the Kish and seeing that they’ve made a difference when at the end, they see all the litter put together.”

NIU sophomore Jessica Johnson said she was glad she learned of Clean the Kish.

“I didn’t know about it last year,” she said. “We heard about it because of our honors composition class. I thought it’d be fun, plus it’s a nice day.”

Johnson said she removed several bottles along the east lagoon, as well as, to her surprise, a bag of popcorn.

“It’s crazy what people leave behind,” she said.

Johnson said that participating in Clean the Kish means a lot to her.

“It’s more important that it’s at my campus,” she said. “People make a mess, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to clean up.”

Although Clean the Kish happens once a year, NIU hosts other events with similar objectives.

From 4 to 5 p.m. Sept. 30, NIU is organizing a Communiversity Prairie Garden ReWilding, where volunteers are tasked with removing weeds and planting native flora in the raised beds between the Grant and Stevenson towers.

In the spring, for Earth Day and NIU Cares Day, organizers will host cleanup events near the west lagoon.

Bramm said that NIU’s goal in hosting Clean the Kish is simple.

“We hope to accomplish an outdoor experience that is both educational and fulfilling,” Bramm said. “The Kishwaukee River is one of our community treasures. With this event, we want volunteers to learn the importance of maintaining river ecosystems while gaining an outdoor experience and meeting new people.”

Sycamore police release more information on body found Thursday

SYCAMORE – Sycamore police have released more information in connection with the body found in the 1600 block of DeKalb Avenue Thursday evening.

"Detectives determined that the body was that of a 38-year-old male whose last known residence was Maple Park," according to the news release. "Preliminary results of the investigation did not reveal any signs of foul play, nor any indication the public was, or is, in any danger."

Police were called at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday to a wooded area between the McDonald's and the Sycamore Meadows apartments to a report of a found body. Sycamore ambulance crew responded to and the male was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the investigation is still ongoing.