Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Notorious Panhandler Arrested Again -- In Uptown

Do you remember reading the story a few years ago about a panhandler in the Loop who got angry when a couple refused to give him money or a cigarette, and he knocked the woman's teeth out?  Jennifer Hall and her fiance were at a convenience store to pick up some cat food when a panhandler became enraged and beat them up, leaving Ms. Hall with traumatic brain injury and unpaid medical bills.  You can read more about the crime and its aftermath here.

Derrick King, the panhandler/assailant, got another fifteen minutes of fame when he was released from prison after only 13 months because of an early release program.  We have a lot to say about that, but we'll leave at a "unconscionable."

Why are we telling you this?  Because Derrick King was arrested again Monday night for threatening the life of someone who refused to give him money.

And where did this happen and where did Derrick King give as an address?  Uptown.

Here's what the Trib says about it:
The latest arrest occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Monday when police were called to the 1000 block of West Wilson Avenue after King followed a man from a CTA 'L' station turnstile and repeatedly asked him for money, according to a police report.

When the man told King he didn’t have any cash, King continued to follow him and said: "I’ll kill you if you don’t give me any money," according to the report.

The man became frightened and called police, telling authorities he wanted to press charges, police said.

King, of the 900 block of West Lawrence Avenue, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault, police said.  [...]

Since [2010], King has been arrested twice in June in Uptown and charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, including a crack pipe.

  • First, kudos to the resident for calling the cops on this guy. It's a hassle, you need to file a complaint and show up in court, but having these repeat offenders arrested is the only way to get them off our streets.  We are proud of this man for calling the police.
  • Second, residence given as the 900 block of Lawrence?  While we don't have an exact address, we know the REST shelter was located on the 900 block of Lawrence, and we know for a fact that -- among the many deserving, law-abiding, grateful people who received services there -- REST's lax screening practices allowed several persistent Uptown criminals to reside there alongside them.  We trust that now that REST is out of business, the new shelter that has taken over the 941 West Lawrence location -- North Side Housing and Supportive Services -- will be much less tolerant about allowing criminals to reside there.
  • Third, don't give to panhandlers.  Please donate your money to a program that will help them rather than to an individual panhandler.  Uptown has plenty of social services that are here to help people turn their lives around, and they all need money.  And panhandlers only stick around if they find a location where people will give them money.  Giving them money directly gives them no incentive to seek out a different lifestyle.

We hope Mr. King's third time in the spotlight is his last.  The last thing Uptown needs is Derrick King threatening the lives of residents.


  1. I read here that Uptown has plenty of social services? By what I see going on in the streets it sure looks like they do little or have any effect at all. What do they do with all the money they collect? It sure cannot be going to help people like, notorious panhandler.

  2. A similar situation happened to me in the Loop at rush hour last week. There were two guys, and threatened to "F%#k" me up if I didnt give them "train fair." I called the police, and they fled before the ploice could arrive. I am a fairly confident person, that does not intimidate or frighten easily, but I can say I was pretty shaken by the experience.

    I am glad the arrested, and I applaud the resident that pressed the charges. I keep wondering how intimidated I would have been if I were a 100lb-er, or not on a crowded street.

    I know it goes without saying, but be aware of your surroundings, and keep yourselves safe!

  3. Let's not let one (or a few) bad apples upset the cart, wiseguy.

    Much like the gangbangers, bad cops, and/or various other examples, assponies like Derrick King do not represent the majority.

    I'm fairly certain that there are many folks who are getting the assistance they need from such organizations.

    And, quite honestly, it isn't the support agencies' fault that the IDOC keeps releasing repeat, violent, offenders into the wild.

  4. "Thank god for penitentiaries".

    --Richard Pryor

  5. I wonder why the crazy crack heads like this lowlife calls uptown home.. hm, must be the environment Helen created for them...

  6. JC,

    I am by no means defending our former Alderman, but do you read the paper? This type of violence takes place in just about every corner of Chicago.

    I applaud the victim for standing up to him and calling the police to press charges. It is not easy and is very time consuming.

  7. Over the last year or two I have noticed giant inflatable rats outside hotels that have bed bugs. What if a similar strategy were used at places that house known, repeat, violent criminals like this? What if large sign says a known, repeat, violent criminal lives here. Most of that info can be public knowledge anyway. Post these signs outside shelters like this. Post signs outside the affordable housing units where grandma allows her criminal grandson to stay. My guess is there are plenty of hardworking, down on their luck people, that wouldn't be thrilled to know who is staying in the room next to them. I also doubt that the people in neighboring buildings would be thrilled with this either. What is going on know obviously isn't working so pressuring these people from the inside might be a different way to approach this. I'm not talking about someone who has made a mistake or two, I'm talking about guys like this who obviously don't care about anyone and contribute nothing to society. Just a thought...

  8. yo, read what UU said... that the new folks running that shelter should be checking for felons, etc... I do not think anyone in Uptown has an issue with helping people or we would not live here.. I do, however, think people have issues with convicted violent felons taking advantage of a homeless shelter in Uptown where there are undoubtedly law abiding residents that could use that bed and meal over this felonious pig... so yo, again, please... we get it... just read that entire post next time. The shelters must work to keep the safety of the children and less fortunate safe in Uptown..

  9. J C, I think the guy was in Uptown because he needed a place to stay and DHS brought him to REST for overnight shelter. And Helen Shiller did not create REST shelter, it was created years BEFORE she was ever elected and it was created by Uptown neighbors themselves in response to a homeless person freezing to death outside. And WISEGUY, if it weren't for the social service agencies currently in Uptown, there would be hundreds of more acutely mentally ill or addicted homeless individuals living on the streets. Your comment is kinda like saying, what good does the Chicago police do in Chicago - look at all the crime that still exists. Well, how bad do you and everyone else think crime would be if there were NO cops at all? And just like many people, probably including yourself, like to argue that we need MORE police to deal with the crime problem in Uptown and the rest of Chicago, there are not 'plenty' of social services to meet the needs in Uptown and the rest of Chicago, only enough to put somewhat of a dent in the need. Spending to provide services to the homeless, mentally ill, substance abusers, and prisoners re-entering society have been cut a great deal over the years. Early release programs that let this sociopath back on the streets were created as a cost saving measure. The harsh reality is that the state is broke and as a result we have early release programs and not enough of the services for those that could benefit from them, that is all part of the hurt we are all feeling. That said, society deserves to be protected from this sociopath and I hope is is put away for a loooong time.

  10. Some good points, so far there is absolutely no proof that this guy stayed at REST. Also, if society has deemed that it is okay for this guy to be free in society, what right does REST have to refuse him shelter? There is no law that states people with felony convictions can't stay in homeless shelters. And who wants to provide REST with the funding and means to check everyone's background? And if no one with a felony conviction can stay at a homeless shelter, where can they stay? How about in the vestibule of your building then? And as far as this garbage about somehow shelters should be responsible for the conduct of the people who stay overnight, you want to have your taxes increased 1,000% or more so that shelters can hire people to serve as 24 hr. personal minders for each and everyone of the people who might spend a single night in their shelter? The issue is, this guy SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN LET OUT OF PRISON! This guy has been a clear and present consistent danger to society and should have been kept in prison based on his past behaviors until he is too old and feeble threaten others. It is not some shelter's fault he was on the streets with no where to stay.

  11. Supes,

    Indeed. Though, per Wiseguy's comment, to say that some/any/all shelters/social services aren't doing anything, or have no effect, might be a bit of a stretch.

    I didn't say that they didn't need to do more, and/or be more effective.

  12. Sean, I know you will go to your grave claiming that social services have never, ever, ever, EVER done anything wrong in the history of the world, but I need to take umbrage with some of your comments for those who read this board and are not as, um, enthusiastic as you.

    "Uptown does not have plenty of social services." The 46th Ward has 181, the 48th has 94. By contrast, the 44th Ward has 71. I don't think Edison Park or Beverly have many. So, yes, in comparison to the rest of Chicago, Uptown does indeed have "plenty of shelters." Unless Sean, you can come up with an area of Chicago that has more social services than Uptown? I would appreciate any statistics that you could offer.

    "you want to have your taxes increased 1,000% or more so that shelters can hire people to serve as 24 hr. personal minders for each and everyone of the people who might spend a single night in their shelter?" Guess what, Sean, REST did not collect any taxes. They were SO BAD at being a shelter that the government stopped giving them money a couple years ago! Tax money and REST became mutually exclusive.

    BTW, everyone, REST's web site is still asking for and presumably accepting donations. They are NO LONGER IN BUSINESS. Yet they're still asking for money. Whether or not you choose to give to them, know that they are no longer providing services.

  13. WTF!!! Released on Quinn's meritorious good time program!?? Plea bargained!!?? Thanks Quinn for thinking about the poor lives of convicted criminals before victims. I swear I'm getting closer and closer to becoming a Republican everyday.

    I made a jab at public defenders recently and apparently offended a public defender. So again, how the hell does a person like King get/deserve a plea bargain? Why the shit was he not convicted of attempted murder as he was charged with???

    Mafia and gangsta' self-Policing is starting to make sense, I get it. Our criminal justice system is a !#@*ing joke. God/Allah/Krishna/Shiva/Buddha/Moses help us...

    In the words of my mother via advice from a Cop, "If someone EVER tries to harm you, kill them. It's your word against theirs and if they have no words to tell, justice has been served".

    I only wanted to share that because I hate hearing about people becoming victims of violence and then hearing about criminals getting slaps on the wrist while receiving tax payer bought food, healthcare and shelter. Makes me choke on my own acid reflux.

    Please people, watch yourselves, be smart, know who is around you at ALL times. Don't walk down the street at night alone listening to your Ipod. A female should NEVER walk by herself at night. Buy pepperspray, carry a legal knife, learn self-defense. Take being aware and protecting yourself at all times seriously.

  14. Boohooo, your posting about the total # of providers in Uptown vs. other wards is specious and really says nothing other than that there are 181 entities in the 46th that identify as social service agencies - no indication on what any them actually offer . Typical of people who use statistics to try and make arguments. The point is not about the total # of social service providers in Uptown but about what is needed. Are there plenty of homeless shelters in Chicago if people are still forced to sleep outside because no shelter beds are available, even though there are 'x' number of shelter beds? Are there plenty of social services available if people can't receive treatment because all the slots for treatment are full even though there are 'x' number of slots? Your argument is specious because 'plenty' is not a question of total numbers but whether the supply meets the demand. For example, 10 turkeys might be plenty if you have 100 people to feed, but not if you need to feed 1,000, get it?

    And why be snarky and say I would never claim a social service agency did anything wrong? When did I say that? I guess when my points are too cogent and challenge your preferred way of viewing things, you need to resort to personal attacks and specious arguments. My points were that just because social ills still exist does not mean that social service agencies do little or have no effect, just like just because crime still exists it doesn't mean the police do little or have no effect. And I think it is wrong to start pointing the finger at REST just because someone who might have stayed there (and there is no proof this guy did) committed a crime. If people want to say that a shelter should not have let this guy stay there because he shouldn't be allowed in Uptown, well if he shouldn't be on the streets of Uptown, then he shouldn't be on the streets anywhere else then either, right? And it seems to me it should be the responsibility of the legal system - the courts, police, and parole officers - to keep Mr. King off the streets, not some homeless shelter. I also think it is stupid to think shelters (or any other provider) should be responsible for what someone who might have spent one night there does in the community, away from the shelter. (I knew REST had their tax payer funding cut, that's not the point, the point is it is impossible for them to be able to control or monitor people all day when they are away from the shelter). Should my employer can be held responsible for what I do on the job, but are they responsible for what I do when I go home at night? Should my condo association be responsible for what I do when I go out in public? Of course not, but I realize people have an agenda to demonize REST and other providers and will grasp at anything to do so.

  15. Sean, if we did not have the REST homeless shelter here, he would not have been here, even if it was just to check his 'mail'.. how is that for a cause and effect?

    It is sickening to read your posts on how no one ever has to take responsibility for anything... that is the problem... just one excuse after another.... no wonder Uptown is such a disaster when there are folks around that can excuse anyone...including a multiple felon that beats up women..good job Sean...

  16. Boohoo said...

    The 46th Ward has 181, the 48th has 94. By contrast, the 44th Ward has 71. I don't think Edison Park or Beverly have many.

    I had always thought that a majority of the social service agencies in Uptown were established in response to this neighborhood having been a point of entry for so many people from other countries, including refugees -- agencies like Asian Human Services and Lao American Community Services, and Refugee One.

    The “diversity” that so many of us love is because of the many cultures that have accumulated here from other countries. I can’t help but think that to a newly-arrived person, an agency that speaks their language, offers support, helps them with medical care, finding a job, etc. would make the transition easier, less frightening – and to people who’ve been here for a while, those agencies would still be a place of cultural and moral support.

    Still, I’ve never seen a comprehensive list of this “over-saturation” so many people talk about, so I could be quite wrong. Boohoo if you can point me to that list of 181, I would really appreciate it.

    (And Mr. King needs to be removed from the streets of ANYWHERE permanently.)

  17. UV, yes, I read the paper, duh. And just b/c it happens "in just about every corner of Chicago" (not true by the way) it doesn't make it OK for it to happen in uptown.

    Sean, if you knew how to read, you would see that I never said Helen created REST. I said she created the environment for the crazies, which if you dispute it, it would only show that you might need some help yourself.

  18. Ankle bracelets may be a more cost effective solution. Any "well known" gang banger or felon our city decides to let out early should be required to wear a anklet bracelet. Thus, their every move can be tracked down. A curfew should also be in place.

    Parole officers clearly aren't able to keep up with the load. This would help assist all agencies and hopefully bring down crime.

  19. Support Streetwise vendors......not pan-handlers.

  20. This shows why Uptown's fate helps us all in the entire city and why people outside of Uptown follow this blog (heresy!).

    I remember this story from awhile back, he certainly shouldnt have been released so quickly. Habitual criminal....

    This type of violence yes can happen anywhere, but obviously Uptown houses more of these types than most places in the city.

  21. @ Jeff O


    people follow Uptown b/c we help the city.....huh....what are you smoking this time?

  22. Well if Uptown has a bad fate than thats bad for the city, good fate then thats good for the city.

    More Criminals in Uptown equals bad and Less Criminals in Uptown equals good.

    Criminals dont blog and are so into neighborhood specifics, they roam the city, they are more city specific. And the closer they are to me equals bad.

    Cheers Jeff L (fellow chicagoan).

  23. I feel bad that Uptown's many social services have failed Mr. King.

    The next time he feel's the need to punch some woman's teeth out.....please do us a favor and take an underwater walk in the the lake.

  24. For some insane reason panhandling is legal and protected by free speech.
    Nary a spot in the city do I go do is not marred by the presence of someone camped out for the long haul bugging patrons of restaurants/stores/etc.
    I walk a wide berth around them to let them know that I do not want to engage in any contact in any way or form with them.

  25. A strange toothless woman, approached me and 2 of my friends as we were walking down Broadway the other night. She wouldn't stop asking for money. We all said no, and even told her to go somewhere else. At the stoplight she started touching me, still asking for change. That is where the line is drawn. I almost knocked her silly.

    Asking is one thing when you invade my personal space you are asking for it. Anyone see this guy back in the neighborhood, call 911 and if they don't show up quick enough, perhaps a kick to the nuts is in order...

    Here's a great tip: when you call 911 make sure you use words like I feel threatened or he/she is threatening people, this makes them respond quicker. Also, (especially when dealing with drug dealers/gangbangers) request that the call go out via digital dispatch. This prevents all the police scanner's and now Apps such as the 5.0 scanner, from alerting criminals.

  26. If someone puts their hands on you, or won't leave you alone when told to, that's aggressive panhandling and that's a crime. Call 911 rather than "knocking her silly."

  27. Toucan, you asked where I got the figures about social services ward-to-ward... it's in the 46th Ward Master Plan on the website, in the section under Social Services.

  28. As the commenter so boldly points out - this will be a "cold weather death to keep the numbers down" because, hey, crime is down everywhere, baby!

    Still, sad to see someone die.

    Too bad it wasn't Derrick.