by Dr. Linda Shelton:
DOCUMENTATION OF CORRUPTION, FRAUD, WASTE, AND INCOMPETENCE IN THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT OF COOK COUNTY:
Cook County Sheriff Police Investigator Cynthia B. Sofus, earning a salary of $76, 450 per year, is a glaring example of incompetence, arrogance, and vulgarity among the Cook County Sheriff’s staff. She works for the Criminal Intelligence, Gangs & Crimes Unit of the Sheriff’s Police at the Cook County Department of Corrections. The following gives a detailed description as to how, in two cases against me which are false arrests and malicious prosecutions, she was grossly negligent in her investigation and has ended up suborning perjury (supporting perjury of the state’s witnesses, Sgt. Anthony Salemi and Lt. Prescott, among others). She also is very vulgar in her language, a trait among officers that is not appropriate or civil and which sets a bad example as officers are supposed to be examples of proper conduct in the community.
On May 16, 2005, Cook County Correctional Sgt. Anthony Salemi came to my cell at the women’s medical unit of the Cermak infirmary at Cook County Jail. I was housed alone in a single cell. I was in the medical unit due to multiple medical problems including: 1) a congenital & acquired spinal cord injury causing a weak right side (right hemiparesis) where I cannot raise my right leg above my waist; 2) heart arrythmias; 3) Hemiplegic migraine causing frequent dizziness, unsteadiness, and headache, plus some intermittent neurologic deficits (migraines with symptoms of stroke); 4) severe intermittent asthma with vocal cord dysfunction, episodes of unconsciousness due to hypoxia, and severe sensitivity to chemicals such as cleaning solutions, perfumes, and the formaldehyde found in cigarettes (ignorant poorly-trained paramedics, nurses, and physicians, such as they have at the CCDOC, confuse my symptoms with malingering because I don’t always wheeze but rather develop a “silent chest syndrome” with poor air movement and whistling gurgling sound when inhaling, just before I go unconscious), and 5) malignant neurocardiogenic syncope – a severe form of nerve mediated fainting that in me is caused partly by the spinal cord injury destroying nerves needed to regulate respiration and heart beat, but also due to congenital disorder of contraction or twitchiness of the blood vessels necessary to keep a person from fainting when they stand up (the blood vessels in the lower body must contract when standing or the blood flows to the lower body and there is insufficient blood for the brain). This is a complex and interacting set of medical problems, which for treatment, require a certain mix of medications, a high salt diet, and rapid response to deterioration of medical condition.
As the jail staff had: 1) violated my constitutional rights to have pen & paper to write grievances and write court papers to appeal my unlawful incarceration, thus illegally and unconstitutionally denying me ”access to the courts” (I was later aquitted of the fraudulent charge for which I was incarcerated); 2) denied me necessary medication and high salt diet (the correctional staff said salt was contraband and everyone had to eat a low salt diet, despite the doctor’s orders) to prevent fainting on standing and weakness or other serious symptoms; and 3) denied me my statutory right to call non-collect when I was incarcerated to arrange for the care of my disabled father (when I came home a month later he was dehydrated, weak, mildly confused, and clearly had needed more assistance) – the social worker told me that she was instructed NOT to help me arrange for the care of my father, I protested with, from May 11, 2005 on, a continuous dry hunger strike.
I ate and drank NOTHING. Every three to five days I would take 2-3 ounces of water to lessen the likelihood of a quick death. This resulted in a 1 and 1/2 lb weight loss per day, and by May 16, 2009, I had nearly passed out in the shower and required the use of a wheelchair, although I had been using a cane. I no longer could stand for more than a few seconds without passing out. I was moderately dehydrated, which causes weakness and fainting when standing. Obviously, this made my congenitally weak arms & shoulders, and weak leg, even weaker. I was physically unable to batter anyone, especially a strong male who was taller and 50 lbs heavier than I was, like Sgt. Salemi.
The wheelchair had most of the tread missing from the right wheel. Therefore, when I pushed it, if there was a divit in the floor or a slightly bumpy area on the floor, I couldn’t move it over this tiny obstacle as the right wheel would not catch the floor and would spin freely. The right wheel also had one of the three spacers missing from the hand rail on the wheel and this made the wheel a bit cockeyed and caused the long screw to constantly rattle and move into the wheel obstructing movement of the wheel if I used the hand rail instead of someone pushing me. The armrests were missing. The wheelchair was extra wide and meant for a very obese person – I am thin. This meant you have to spread your arms wider, this produces less torque, and the person in the chair has more difficulty moving it than an ordinary wheelchair.
My medical condition is that I have congenital weakness of the hands, arms, and shoulders due to the spinal cord injury resulting from a congenital defect in my spine. I kept the left foot rest folded up and put my weak right leg on the right foot rest. I used my fairly good left leg to propel the wheelchair backwards (it is hard to use a leg to move the wheelchair fast forwards – try it!) as my arms were a little too weak to get the wheelchair start moving from a stop and too weak to go very far. The officers are required NOT to push inmates in wheelchairs, but Officer Boutte, who does transport for female inmates, always pushed my wheelchair, because it was obvious I was too weak to push it very far. He was illegally not allowed to testify on my behalf.
Unit officers open cell doors for meal and time in the common room, a large hall with tables and chairs, and inmates can open the cell doors and leave their cells when the doors are unlocked part of the day.
I had great difficulty opening the cell door and maneuvering my wheelchair out of the cell. I had to do this backwards pushing with my left leg and then wedging my arms in the door jams so as to get more force to help my leg push the door open with the back of the wheelchair. At least half the time, a nurse or inmate would take pity and help me open the door. Only one officer actually helped me open the door. The others were sadistic. I often didn’t bother, because I wasn’t eating anyways, and more and more stayed in bed, too weak to do anything. My pulse was consistently rapid and I was consistently short of breath if I tried to stand up or move around. I suffered at least 4 asthma attackes in the few days before this incident due to exposure to inmates who were smoking or exposure to floor cleaning solutions. The medical staff didn’t care to protect me from this. This further weakened me. My attorney was illegally not allowed to present the paramedic reports about these asthma attacks to the jury.
Sgt. Anthony Salemi came to my cell on May 16, 2005, sent the female unit officer away, and cracked the door open to talk with me. I was next to the cell door as I had banged on it trying to get the unit officer to call a sergeant or lieutenant so I could make verbal complaints again, that they continually ignored. The department rules require that a male officer may NOT enter a female inmate’s cell without a witness, except in a life-threatening emergency. There was no life-threatening emergency.
Sgt. Anthony Salemi told me “I’m going to make a case so you don’t get out.” He then opened the door enough to lunge in and grab my neck with his left hand. Sgt. Hernandez and several officers later told me to “get that ***” in court because he “only attacks women”. The door shut behind him.
The force of his attack made the wheelchair propel backwards. He stumbled and slid down a bit, skinning his shins on the footrests, more so on the left as the left footrest was folded up and sticking out less. The wheelchair spun a little to the right. We were now in the middle of the cell nearer the bed. I curled up in a ball somewhat, leaning to my right side so I could wedge my left shoeless foot against his chest to try to pry him off. His harry arms were very strong, like tree trunks and my arms were too weak in my feeble attempts to pull his hand off of my neck. He got mad when I pushed his chest with my foot and let go. Then he rapidly grabbed my left arm with his left hand, while he yanked the wheelchair out from under me, simultaneously flipping me off the wheelchair against the hospital bed railing that was down.
I landed against the bed and on my right knee and hands. My right middle toe got caught in the right foot rest and became severely contused. It later swelled up like a grape, black and blue. I was stunned and terrified. I didn’t know what to expect next and feared for my life. The wheelchair had two posts on either side of the seat where the missing armrests insert. They were slightly higher than the seat and hard metal. As he pulled the wheelchair out from under me, they raked my thighs and caused huge contusions – testimony in court described “bruises on (L) – Upper posterior thigh (4” X 2”), (R) Inner upper thigh (6 ½ “ X 3 ½ “) (R) Third metatarsal toe.” Officer unit log notes describe a bruise on my right knee. No one carefully examined me, so they didn’t write down the bruises on my left arm in the shape of fingers. The doctor, days later, ordered multiple X-rays due to the extent of contusions to rule out fractures. He however did not examine me in any way other than to visualize a few bruises. He was not called to testify.
I have post-traumatic-stress disorder because I was previously attacked by men. This attack by Sgt. Salemi put me into a flashback and was crying and screaming hysterical to “stay away from me”, as well as cowering after this attack. I let no one touch me or view my injuries for several shifts and simply cowered in the bed and was silent.
Sgt. Salemi falsified his records and said from a dead stop in the middle of the cell, I “surprised him” while he was looking at me, accelerated the wheelchair and rammed it into him, skinning his shins and making him fall. He said the cell door stayed open on its own but no one saw him fall out of the door or in any way (the cell doors have heavy hydraulic door closing mechanisms that make them close automatically so this is a lie).
He said he was too surprised to protect himself! He said he then got up and I kicked him while sitting in the wheelchair in the chest with my RIGHT leg (sofus quotes him in her report) so hard that he was pushed against the “closed” door. He does not explain how the door remained open on its own and then mysteriously closed so he could be kicked against it. In his testimony at trial, Sgt. Salemi stated that I raised both legs and kicked him in the chest, while the wheelchair was rolling backwards with such force he was thrown against the door several feet away!
In his incident report and Inv. Sofus’ investigative report they state that I was at the cell door stating “I’m coming out” and as he opened the door, while facing forward, rammed Salemi and kicked him, but somehow, none of the inmates eating dinner in the hall, the officer or others saw me, except nurse Ogali, who stated that Salemi’s body was blocking the door way with him standing in the threshold and the door against his shoulder, and she only saw me move my wheelchair towards the door and did not see me ram or kick him, but did see him bend down after entering the cell and removing the wheelchair. She said she couldn’t see everything because the cell door window starts 4 feet up off the floor and she was sitting in the nurse’s station 15 feet away kitty corner to the cell.
Inv. Sofus came to my cell on the next day, like a bull in a China shop in a very butch manner. She asked bruskly if I would answer her questions. She was very confrontational in her demeanor, and obviously not willing to listen to facts. I was laying in bed and so traumatized that I said leave me alone, I won’t talk to anyone without an attorney.
Inv. Sofus failed in her duty to preserve the “weapon”, the broken wheelchair, that would have exonerated me. Judge Kazmierski through judicial misconduct failed to dismiss the case due to this fact, which is required by previous United States Supreme Court decisions holding that when the State destroys or fails to preserve a weapon in a crime the case must be dismissed.
She failed to ask anyone about my medical conditions and didn’t mention them at all in her grand jury testimony or her report. Judge Kazmierski illegally prevented my attorney from essentially asking any questions to point out all the discrepencies and negligent investigation to the jury. Therefore, he was illegally prohibited by the court from impeaching Sgt. Salemi, the only witness against me (who presented only perjured statements), by using the testimony and reports of Inv. Sofus.
Sgt. Salemi also committed perjury in stating that all wheelchairs in the jail are in perfect working condition. Another officer at sentencing (illegally not allowed to testify at trial) stated “its a jail!” and that “the cell doors close automatically.” He also testified that most of the wheelchairs are in poor condition and broken. Inv. Sofus would have noted this if she wasn’t so negligent, careless, arrogant, and incompetent. She failed to write in her report important details and observations. She appears to do a selective investigation, only including details credible or not, verified or not, that support the allegation. She carefully hides or avoids writing down any exculpatory evidence that proves the person innocent. A real Gestapo type!
A few days later, a nurse documented my extensive contusions. Inv. Sofus failed to follow-up to see if I was injured. She and all the jail staff refused to take photos of these injuries, but took photos of Sgt. Salemi’s shin which revealed several inch long abrasions running up them. If he was rammed, he would have had one linear horizontal mark or bruise on his lower leg near his ankle on the left and one short mark on his right shin corresponding to the wheelchair folded up footrest. There would be no long linear abrasions running up his shins, which are consistent with my story that he stumbled and slid down against the foot rests, not with his story.
As Sgt. Salemi was the ONLY witness with testimony against me and his testimony was not believable as not compatible with the photos/injuries of his shins or my injuries, as well as his testimony was contradictory in itself and with the statements of others, the State actually presented not one shred of credible evidence against me.
The conviction was due to extreme prosecutorial and judicial misconduct that mislead the jury, mis-stated the facts to the jury in closing and ignored the evidence. See my appeal: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16301520/Appeal-of-Wrongful-Conviction-Battery-Shelton-Illinois-2009
Cook County States Attorneys Richard Divine and now Anita Alvarez have been fully informed of the above, given evidence to prove it, yet are refusing to drop charges against Dr. Shelton or arrest Sgt. Salemi. They are vigorously fighting the appeal. Cook County really is a totalitarian police state, run by corrupt officials for profit.
What kind of an investigator is so negligent to not even identify the medical condition of a person on a medical unit when investigating a crime that requires physical force and strength to accomplish, and who fails to preserve the alleged weapon (the broken wheelchair), as well as fails to note the discrepencies in the story by Sgt. Salemi that contradict the notes of the officers in the unit logs about the broken wheelchair as well as other officer’s testimony (only allowed after trial at sentencing hearing) that the cell doors cannot stay open on their own??
Maisha Hamilton Bennett, Ph.D, a psychologist was wrongfully incarcerated after a wrongful conviction at the Cook County Jail in July and August 2009 on fraudulent charges brought by the corrupt IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan. See: http://drlindashelton.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/mental-health-care-denied-poor-in-illinois/ and http://drlindashelton.wordpress.com/free-dr-maisha-hamilton-bennett/
She was being transferred and called me to come pick up five bags of legal documents so they would not be thrown out. I had gone to visit her in mid-July and after my visit, as I was waiting for some papers Dr. Hamilton Bennett wan’t me to take home that she had arranged to have the social worker give to me, Sgt. Alex Cruz assaulted me by yelling at me that I had to leave or I would be arrested because former inmates cannot visit during the year after release (It has been more than one year since my release – this “rule” also is not posted anywhere and inmates when released are not informed about this “rule” – I’m not even sure this rule is legal). I left because I didn’t feel like arguing and being wrongfully arrested that day.
On or about August 26th, Jail Social Worker Richardson called me and told me to come pick up Dr. Hamilton Bennett’s papers. Due to the fact I have several suits againt the Sheriff and his corrupt staff, I called the Jail’s Executive office on or about August 27th and asked the Jail ExecutiveDirector’s Assistant if I could have an escort so I would not be harassed. She refused to connect me with any higher officer and said I wouldn’t be harassed or falsely arrested. I called the Jail’s legal office and they said they couldn’t do anything as they don’t arrange escorts. I called Sheriff’s Dart’s Office at the Daley Center and his Executive Assistant also said they do not arrange escorts into the jail, no one would harass me, and that there was not problem with me picking up documents for an inmate being transferrred out.
I came on Friday August 28 and picked up three bags of documents and said I would come back for the rest.
I returned on Monday, August 31, 2009 to pick up the rest of the documents. At the entrance, I was held up unusually long while Sgt. Arthur at the gate called Sgt. Cruz. I was then let in. I told them that I had the OK from the executive and Sheriff’s office and they promised me no one would bother me. They refused to call the executive office of the jail or the Sheriff’s office.
Officer Levy was at the desk in the visitor area. She is one of the guards I am suing for holding me down and kicking me with their boots. See: http://www.scribd.com/doc/19434501/Shelton-1983-Against-Cook-County-Sheriff-Illegal-Administration-Psychotropic-Drugs-and-Battery-2009
I told Deputy Levy that why I was there and that Dr. Hamilton Bennett told me to ask for Kim Laster who was in charge of property in the Annex of Division 3. She had arranged with her to transfer the last two bags of documents to me. Deputy Levy instead called a female Lt. Prescott who came out to talk to me. Lt. Prescott was immediately hostile, verbally aggressive, and wouldn’t listen. She went out and came back and said I had to leave that I couldn’t pick up any property. Social Worker Vaughn said Ms. Richardson wasn’t there and nobody can ever pick up property – a lie. I told them I had already picked up three bags and had the OK from their superiors, as well as that I was not an inmate there during the last year.
Lt. Prescott called the guardhouse and they sent over a tall obese African-American officer Delgado, who was very polite, and female African-American officer Gonzalez. They tried to push me to the gate. I let go of my walker and sat on the ground and told them I had permission to pick up property, the property was available, I was to talk to Ofc. Laster, Ms. Richardson had called me to come there, and that I had already picked up three bags and was there for the last two. I told them they were illegaly harassing me, disobeying their superiors, and committing a federal felony as I am a federal witness against many officers at the jail , have federal suits against them, so this could be construed as an illegal penalty on the exercise of my and Dr. Hamilton Bennetts civil rights, as well as a felony civil rights violation including harssing a federal witness.
Ofc. Delgado, said if we went to the front gate, they were in a different department and they would call the executive office and solve the problem so I walked there with them using my walker. I however was getting a bit overheated from their assault on me and had been suffering from a viral infection for several days.
At the front gate guard house, Sgt. Arthur refused to call the executive office or solve the problem and insisted that I leave saying that Lt. Prescott had informed him that I could not pick up any property. I told him he was wrong and all the crimes he was committing. Sgt. Arthur then had the deputies handcuff me and said they were arresting me for “vagrancy”. He called the Sheriff’s police and Inv. Sofus, Sgt. Robert J. Fitzgerald and Correctional Officer Sgt. James P. Aurenz responded.
Before they arrived I began to feel poorly from being overheated and this triggered my fainting and heart arrythmia. The deputies wouldn’t let me take off my suit jacket and lie down on the bench. So, just as I felt I was going to pass out, I lay down on the floor. When Inv. Sofus and her buddies arrive I tried to abort passing out by using the bathroom and putting cold water on myself. Sgt. Aurenz was kind enough to let me do this. Then when I came back to the bench and lied down, now without handcuffs, I briefly lost consciousness. I may have had brief episodes of irregular breathing. I don’t think I was responsive. An ambulance was called.
When the ambulance arrived I was coming out of the confusion after waking up. In the ambulance I told them I wanted to sign a release and go get the property I was there to get. I was still very short of breath and had difficulty standing so I crawled toward the guard house.
Then I became more alert and recognized Inv. Sofus as the person who had suborned perjury and collaberated with the misconduct of Sgt. Salemi. I went into a brief flashback reliving in a dream like state the assault on me by Sgt. Salemi. Then I tried to get into the guard house to go get the two bags.
At this point Inv. Sofus arrested me for “disorderly conduct.”
It is illegal to harass a federal witness.
It is illegal to deny me entrance to the jail without cause.
It is illegal to deny Dr. Hamilton Bennett the right to have someone pick up her property when she is being transferred.
It is illegal for an officer to commit a crime and arrest someone without probable cause in order to cover-up for their misconduct.
An arrest must have a good faith probable cause. There was none.
After being arrested Sgt. Aurenz let me explain to him what happened. His response was that they have no authority because the “chain of command” prevents it to call the executive office or Ofc. Laster or Social Worker Richardson to check out the story.
The law says that they do have a DUTY to investigate exculpatory evidence brought to them after an arrest, they do have a DUTY to drop charges when they discover the arrest was without probable cause, and they do have a DUTY to protect a federal witness against assault.
This is a grotesque civil rights violaton and may rise to the level of a felony civil rights violation under federal law.
The due process clause of the constitution secures the individual from arbitrary exercise of the powers of the government and prevents governmental power from being used for purposes of oppression.
Was this arrest arbitrary? – YES
Was this arrest used for purposes of oppressions? – YES
Was this a scheme to deny civil rights? – YES
Does this shock the conscience? – YES
Its time for Inv. Sofus, Sgt. Salemi, and the other puppets of corruption who are arrogant, power-grabbing, incompetent, violate law with impunity, and commit perjury with impunity, to be arrested, lose their jobs, and brought before the federal court.
Please write the following persons and urge them to act quickly to stop this totalitarian police state called Cook County:
Asst. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Office of U.S. Attorney, 219 S. Dearborn, 5th Floor, Chicago IL, 60604
Special Agent Robert Grant, Chicago FBI, 2111 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago IL, 60608
Anita Alvarez, Cook County States Attorney, 50 West Washington, Rm 500, Chicago IL, 60602
President Barrack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ae. NW, Washington DC, 20500
Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Roland Burris
The press in your community and nationally.
If you’re in Chicago, come to my trials ( I have been arrested 5 times illegally in 2009 for the above type nonsense without probable cause). Watch my blog: http://drlindashelton.wordpress.com/ for court dates. If possible donate to my legal fund. I am now indigent, as a result of fighting for our Constitutional rights and catastrophic medical problems. Donations can be sent to:
Shelton Legal Fund, C/O Albukerk & Associates, 3025 W. 26th St. 2nd floor, Chicago IL, 60625
They are NOT tax deductible and will be used for my defense and suits against corrupt officials.
PLEASE, MOST IMPORTANTLY, HELP RAISE GRASS ROOTS AWARENESS OF THE ATROCIOUS VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS IN COOK COUNTY AND ILLINOIS THAT I HAVE DOCUMENTED ON THIS AND MY OTHER WEB SITES THAT YOU CAN ACCESS THROUGH LINKS ON THIS WEB SITE. COPY MY WRITINGS AND POST THEM ANYWAY YOU WANT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE!!