Pam Cap, an openly gay woman who is a former Calumet City chief of police, lost in her bid to become mayor of the town just southeast of Chicago. The unofficial results of the Feb. 22 Democratic primary election, as published in the Chicago Tribune, showed that incumbent Mayor Michelle Qualkinbush received 2,921 votes ( 46 percent ) to Cap's 2,465 ( 39 percent ) . A third candidate, minister Cheryl Cornelius, garnered 986 votes ( 15 percent ) .
Cap was spurred to run by injustices that she saw in the Qualkinbush administration. In an interview that appeared in the Feb. 2, 2005, issue of Windy City Times, Cap asserted that not only did Qualkinbush cut safety programs that Cap instituted when she ran the suburb's police department, but that the incumbent gave herself a $10,000 raise as well as giving $514 bonuses for every special meeting that the mayor, clerk, treasurer, and city council members attended.
In addition, Cap said that Qualkinbush immediately ousted her as well as openly gay Pam Eanes and Steve Williams from their positions in the police and fire departments when Qualkinbush became mayor in September 2003.
Since no Republican candidate filed for the mayoral run, Qualkinbush automatically will assume the seat again in April, when general elections are usually held.
Taser Killing Account Wrong, Witnesses Say
The details of the situation involving Ronald Hasse—who died on Feb. 10 in Lakeview after being shot with a stun gun — have been terribly distorted by the police, alleges a couple who witnessed the event.
Various news sources reported that Hasse, 54, refused to leave the hallway of an apartment building at 336 W. Wellington. According to Area 3 police commander Michael Chasen, Hasse threatened to infect the officers with HIV and even started swinging handcuffs at police after an officer cuffed one wrist. Chasen has stated that a police sergeant fired a Taser stun gun at Hasse after three warning shots. Paramedics took him to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where Hasse was pronounced dead.
However, Eric Miller and Steve Giardino contend that the actual events are markedly different from what has been published. 'He was never rushed to the hospital for one thing,' Miller told Windy City Times. 'It was 45 minutes before paramedics even arrived. He died at the scene.'
Miller also stated that Hasse was never bound: 'There were no handcuffs on the gentleman. He never fought them. He was just sitting there without his shirt on.'
Miller and Giardino, who themselves were charged on Feb. 11 with obstruction of justice ( initially ) and cocaine possession with intent to distribute, plan on filing a complaint with the police department's Office of Professional Standards ( OPS ) . Miller said that the intent of the drug charge is to discredit them so they cannot pursue a civil or criminal case against the police. He also stated that he had to go to the hospital after, among other things, being kicked in the head. Miller also claimed that the police refused to let him call the family doctor while at Area 3 headquarters at Belmont and Western.
Regarding Hasse, Miller remarked that the victim never threatened to infect the officers with HIV—and that he may not have even had the virus. Miller—who said that he is a former emergency medical technician—remarked, 'You don't get it from biting people.' ( According to the Centers for Disease Control [ see the Web site at www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/facts/transmission.htm ] , a person cannot transmit HIV through a bite as long as it is not severe. )
In addition, Miller said that Hasse was an unarmed 140-pound man who was subjected to the Taser because 'the police didn't want to play. As for those warning shots, they didn't happen. They got him the first time they [ used ] it.' Lastly, Miller accused the police of 'gay panic': 'They believed that Hasse was gay because they saw a CD cover with two men on the cover so they [ also ] thought that he might have HIV.'
As for what actually caused Hasse's meltdown, Miller said that a second autopsy is being performed in Indiana, where Hasse lived. ( The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Hasse was a former Chicago securities trader awaiting trial for burying a body on an Indiana farm. )
Miller alleges that the incident that was described to the media is an attempt 'to cover up that three police officers and two paramedics did the whole thing wrong. This is corruption at the highest level.'