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Sheriff's Police Apologize for Raiding Elderly Couples' Home

Chicago Tribune via Yellowbrix

October 11, 2010

CHICAGO – The Cook County sheriff’s police apologized Friday to an elderly couple hours after some two dozen gun-toting officers burst into their Southwest Side home late at night in a mistaken search for drugs and guns.

Anna Jakymec, 84, was just going to bed at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday when the heavily armed officers broke through the back and front doors at their modest yellow-brick bungalow a few blocks east of Midway Airport. Her ailing husband, Andrij, 89, had already been in bed for hours.

Their son, Andrew, said they were terrified by what they thought was a home invasion.

The errant raid was a public relations embarrassment for Sheriff Tom Dart, who is mulling a run for mayor of Chicago.

An informant had misled sheriff’s police to suspect cocaine and amphetamines were stored at the home, according to a copy of a search warrant left with the couple and a spokesman for Dart.

“I think the most potent drug they have is aspirin,” their son said.

By Friday afternoon, Deputy Chief Mike Smith delivered a personal apology to the family, the son said.

“He was very genuine and sincere, and he apologized profusely for the sheriff and the 25 men involved,” Andrew Jakymec said. “I have no complaints. It was a mix-up, an apology was offered and we have to move forward from there.”

His mother spent hours cleaning up the mess left behind after officers emptied cabinets and tore down blankets hanging in the basement. A little black bucket filled with shards of glass sat outside the back door — the remnant of a small basement window that was broken during the raid. The front door knob was askew, and the jambs to both the front and back doors were destroyed when officers battered their way into the home.

“I see maybe 20 guys come in and see the door knocked open,” Anna Jakymec said. “They broke two doors and a garage window. … (They) said someone complained we had all these drugs. …They broke everything. I told them they should have rung the bell.”

Steve Patterson, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said officers relied on an informant who had provided credible information in other investigations. Based on the tip, officers obtained a search warrant on Thursday.

“As soon as we entered the home, we knew this couple was not involved in the activity alleged,” Patterson said in a statement. “Our officers immediately requested the assistance of an interpreter and, as a precautionary measure, a medic, while also asking the couple to contact a relative who could assist in the situation.”

The sheriff’s department agreed to pay for repairs to the home, and Andrew Jakymec said neither he nor his parents pressed Smith for details on what led to the mistake.

Still, he said he hoped the incident would prompt the sheriff’s department to take greater care in the future. The episode had been especially distressing for his parents, who he said grew up in fear of police raids during their teenage years in what is now Ukraine and were both forced into slave labor by Nazi Germany in World War II.

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Move forward.............It's a good thing the home owner(s) didn't suffer a heart attack! By the amount of damage after they entered really does not support the police stating they knew they were at the wrong house right after they entered................Fix the damage and move on!

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Always verify a CI's tips. Good job by the department in admitting the mistake and making arrangements to make the needed repairs.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    almost 4 years ago


    they were watching too much mattlock that was the tip off to the raid

  • Rosa_max50


    almost 4 years ago



  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


  • Pug_max600_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Informants need to be verified by other information. The couple had been through enough being forced into slave labor. Make sure your intel is up to date.

  • Add_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    big oops! glad no one was hurt. next time a little more validation than the word of an informant.

  • Battering-ram-full_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    It happens, rats are rats for a reason. If they were dependable people they wouldn't be rats! With that said not only was an apology in order and some financial compensation is also due in my book.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump PSD_Team_Leader and wiseass0282.

  • John_groh_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    PSD_Team _Leader I couldn't agree with you more. In 27 years on the street, many of those in V&N or SWAT I have seen this happen three times. All three times it was because Detectives were at fault. In one case the warrant was about to expire. The Detective didn't check to see if everythiing was up to date. Turns out the Suspects had moved out and a new family had moved into the house. The second time it was because the Detective left out a entire row of buildings in the map layout and directed the team to the wrong condo. and third case the detective didn't have the correct apartment address on the warrant, it was the one on the other side of the hall. Each of these could and should have been avoided.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    this is an unfortunate reality of running raid entry style law enforcement. Its not a matter of if it will happen to a unit, its when. In my 3 years in warrants, its happened once and I am hoping it never happens again. Its not only embarrassing to say the least, its DANGEROUS...lives and careers can end out of poor planning and even poorer informants. Thank God no one was hurt in this.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    Well said Gary. (Irishcop)

  • My_kids_027_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Irishcop you pretty well said it perfectly.

  • John_groh_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump Irishcop1961. I don't know about there, but in my jurisdiction, a informants information is always backed up by other investigation, observations CDS buys, trash rips or multipul informant tips. Did the Officers do any background on the people who lived or were staying at that address. I don't know a Judge that would sign a warrant with only a single CIs information and nothing else. Sounds to me like real sloppy Police work.

  • P1010076_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump Irish 'n Top_Cat.

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