Cook County, Illinois, Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Sheriff Tom Dart are asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to hold them responsible for the killing of a Vietnam War veteran allegedly at the hands of two accused criminals released from jail on electronic home monitoring.
In July 2021, 73-year-old Keith Cooper suffered blunt force trauma to his head in the midst of a failed carjacking in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The two suspects, accused of killing Cooper, are Frank Harris and Dushawn Williams.
Before Cooper’s death, Harris and Williams were both allowed to be released from jail on home monitoring devices by Evans. Dart’s office oversees the county’s home monitoring device program.
Yet, prosecutors allege that Harris and Williams roamed free while on the home monitoring devices and ended up allegedly killing Cooper in the botched carjacking in 2021.
Months ago, Cooper’s family filed a lawsuit against Evans and Dart, the Cook County Record reports:
The lawsuit asserts the two men charged in Cooper’s death, Frank Harris, then 18, and Dushawn Williams, then 17, were improperly allowed to leave their homes, even though both men previously had been charged with carjacking and possession of a stolen vehicle, and were supposedly being monitored by law enforcement using electronic home monitoring while the men awaited trial on their previous charges. [Emphasis added]
The complaint accuses the chief judge and the sheriff of failing to properly staff and run their electronic monitoring programs, allegedly allowing the two man accused in Cooper’s death to roam free, without intervention from law enforcement. Further, the complaint asserts Harris and Williams should have never been placed in the monitoring program, given their prior criminal histories. [Emphasis added]
In court filings obtained by the Cook County Record, Evans and Dart claim Illinois state law ensures they cannot be sued because it is not their fault if accused criminals go on to commit additional crimes after they are released from jail.
“However, in response, Judge Evans and Sheriff Dart said the lawsuit is misplaced, and they bear no responsibility for Cooper’s death,” the Cook County Record reports. Evans and Dart are looking to have the lawsuit thrown out.
As of January, approximately 100 Chicago-area murder suspects were free thanks to Cook County’s electric home monitoring system, Breitbart News reported. Dart’s office alone is responsible for overseeing about 2,600 suspects released on the monitoring devices — 80 percent of which are facing violent crime charges.
Democrat-controlled Chicago is suffering a crime wave as overall crime since 2021 has skyrocketed 37 percent while motor vehicle thefts have spiked 64 percent, per police statistics.