Sunday, March 19, 2006

CBS coverage of Wayne Jones homicide

This is a story that was aired on CBS News in Chicago last month. There are several major inaccuracies in this story. I will highlight the inaccuracies in red and show the correction in blue.

(CBS) CHICAGO A prayer vigil is getting underway at this hour in the wake of three violent attacks.

Within the past week, police have reported two sexual assaults and one suspicious death in Rogers Park.

CBS 2's Rafael Romo reports that neighbors are on edge.

There's a lot of tension in Rogers Park, not only because of the sexual attacks, but also because the death of an innocent bystander - a disabled man - remains a mystery.

CBS 2 spoke with his widow who, along with the community, is saying enough is enough.

"He had severe bleeding on the brain," said widow Marla Jones.

Jones said she never got a chance to say goodbye to her husband, Wayne, who was already unconscious when he was taken to the hospital.

"And I kept calling the next day and he was in recovery, but he never woke up," she said.

Wayne Jones, who was 50, died on Morse Street in the Rogers Park neighborhood.
According to a Chicago Fire Department spokesman, at 10:47 pm the first 911 call was received of a battery in progress, several black or white men were beating someone, but the caller could not provide the age of the offenders.

Another call came in that someone was being beaten. Neither caller could say if there were weapons involved.

A third 911 caller said a man was down on the sidewalk. That man was Wayne Jones.

The ambulance arrived 4.5 minutes after the first call and found Mr. Jones conscious, breathing and bleeding from the head. They did an initial assessment at the scene, ensured he was stable and at 11:22 pm transported Mr. Jones to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston having determined that he only needed basic life support services.
Basic life support is provided for victims with less severe injuries such as cuts, bumps, bruises and broken limbs.

A Chicago Police spokesman said the hospitalization report filed by the police response car indicated a similar condition, but also noted that Mr. Jones had a history of seizures and could have fallen there.

Police say it's a death investigation, but neighbors insist Jones was beaten to death.

"This teenager from Cease Fire threw something at this victim, a vulnerable senior,who had just been out of the hospital and suffered a stroke," said Judy Brown,a Rogers Park resident.

Cease Fire operates a program for youth.
HACC is a neighborhood non-profit that runs several programs for the youth, adults and families in the area.
Ceasefire Chicago is part of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention begun by the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. Launched in 1995, it currently serves 15 police districts in Chicago and 5 additional communities with the single goal of stopping shootings.

Neighbors say the night Jones died, a fight at the Howard Area Community Center spilled out to the street and Jones got caught in the middle.
To insure adequate supervision, the staff of the Rogers Park Ceasefire office, which is across the street, were asked to chaperone the party to augment the five or six Howard Area Community staff members present.
Vernandez Jones, of Ceasefire Chicago told me that he was working the door with Carolyn Reed. As this was a closed party, open only to HACC program participants, Carolyn was at the door with him to identify their kids. Non program participants were turned away when they attempted to gain entry.
For added security the 24th District provided a beat car, which was parked outside for the duration of the party.

By 10:35 pm all but a few kids who stayed to clean up with staff remained; Vernandez returned to his office across the street after having ensured that the streets were cleared of kids one block in either direction at the request of the police on the scene.

The assigned police car left after the streets were clear, and congratulated them on hosting a good event that completed without incident.

"The only problem that he did was he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Craig Gernhardt, of Paws for Peace.

It is a charge that the program's leaders vehemently deny.

"As far as we know, no kid that is a member of our program was involved in this incident, and we certainly hope that the investigation proves that to be true," said John Fitzgerald, of the Howard Area Community Center.

"The kids over here at the Howard Area Community Center are a great group of kids who basically have taken a stand that they don't want to be out here on the streets,"said Vernandez Jones of Cease Fire.

Chicago police detectives have questioned several teenagers from the Howard Area Community Center, but the incident is still considered a death investigation.

No one has been charged.

As you can see, there is a gross misrepresentation of the facts in this story. I have posted this to set the record straight.


At March 20, 2006 9:50 AM, Blogger Been There - Done That said...

Pray tell - just where is the Ceasefire office across the street from HACC outpost? In Jay Johnson's senior building? Or the RPCC? The parking lot?

At March 20, 2006 11:12 AM, Blogger Hugh said...

"There is a lot of misinformation being presented as facts by both broadcast and print news media. ... This blog will serve to "set the record straight"

Thanks for doing this, Julie. Media coverage of our neighborhood is scarce and pathetic, reminds of the old joke retold by Woody Allen:

Diner 1: "The food here is terrible."

Diner 2: "Yes, and the portions are so small."

You will never lack for material if all you do is review and fact check media coverage of our neighborhood. You have targetted a major windmill to tilt at, and we love you for it. Thanks again!

At March 20, 2006 11:26 AM, Blogger Julie said...

the Ceasfire office I believe is 1546 - it's west of the laundromat on the same side of the street.

At March 20, 2006 11:34 AM, Blogger Julie said...

thanks Hugh

At March 20, 2006 12:12 PM, Blogger Thomas Westgard said...

These are some pretty big differences, especially since CeaseFire and HACC took a lot of flak after the event. With the corrections, it appears that they were not only doing a good job of taking care of their own participants, but looking out for other things as well.

At March 24, 2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Craig Gernhardt said...

Just the Fact Julie, Ceasefire is in the basement of the United Church of Rogers Park.

At March 24, 2006 11:02 PM, Blogger Julie said...

sorry craig - you're correct....1545 is the Ceasefire office....

shows we all need a good fact checker behind us....glad you got my back ;)

At March 24, 2006 11:46 PM, Blogger Julie said...

Hey Craig, I hear CBS is looking for someone....;)

At March 25, 2006 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

julie they could use you are cbs

At March 25, 2006 12:19 PM, Blogger Julie said...

not quite.....first - CBS has a multimillion dollar corporate bankroll behind them and one would think they could afford to hire a couple of people to fact check. I have myself.

CBS does news for a living. I don't.

CBS has not yet told anyone in the public about the erroneous info they broadcasted about our neighborhood, I acknowledged my mistake publicly and prominently in a timely fashion.

So no, I am not CBS.

The point of this blog is to expose the erroneous info published by News organizations who have the financial ability to hire people to fact check what they are writing.

Though I don't dismiss the fact that I printed incorrect information, I think that incorrectly printing the address of an organization is far less damaging than printing errorneous information about the mission and scope of two organizations that rely on fundraising and grants (gov't or otherwise)in order to continue to provide their services. Information that is easily and readily available with a quick search on the internet. Broadcastin that someone died on the street when in fact they did not and had far less serious injuries that were apparent from the incident than was implied,leaves the Fire Dept open to suit when they determined basic life support was all that was necessary.

I write for a non-profit news paper and I am not paid for that writing. They do not yet have the resources to pay their writers and this is a blog independant of the newspaper. It is something I am doing personally....not as a representative of a news organization.

That is also a major differnce.

I appreciate your comment, and as I find things to write about I would appreciate anyone pointing out any errors I may make in the future so we all have the facts.


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