Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- In mid-May near mid-day, an officer drew his weapon on a driver who allegedly drove at speeds in excess of 80 and 90 mph on Sauk Trail. An officer drawing a weapon is not a common occurrence in Park Forest. Readers who follow these reports will recognize that. Rarely did we ever have to report that an officer in Park Forest drew his or her weapon.
That is the last of the incidents that follow. Others during that time period saw charges of aggravated arson, criminal damage to property, and felony violation of sex offender registration. In the latter instance, a man allegedly showed up a few weeks late to check in/register at the Park Forest Police Department. In the criminal damage to property incident reported below, police charged a couple who allegedly damaged each others’ vehicles.
When May an Officer Draw a Weapon in Illinois?
Besides the rarity of an officer drawing a weapon in Park Forest, it is even rarer that an officer discharges a weapon. What are police permitted to do with respect to the use of their firearms? The Illinois statutes initially appear rather broad.
According to Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/7-5:
A peace officer, or any person whom he has summoned or directed to assist him, need not retreat or desist from efforts to make a lawful arrest because of resistance or threatened resistance to the arrest. He is justified in the use of any force which he reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, to be necessary to effect the arrest and of any force which he reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, to be necessary to defend himself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest.
Officer Draws a Weapon vs. Deadly Force
The same statute quickly includes a caveat with respect to deadly force:
However, he is justified in using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm only when: (i) he reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or such other person; or (ii) when he reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, both that:
(1) Such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape and the officer reasonably believes that the person to be arrested is likely to cause great bodily harm to another; and
(2) The person to be arrested committed or attempted a forcible felony which involves the infliction or threatened infliction of great bodily harm or is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon, or otherwise indicates that he will endanger human life or inflict great bodily harm unless arrested without delay.
This is simply a review of statutes that our officers know well, prepare for, and practice every day. It is no small task, and we commend them. Likewise, the public must remain mindful that an officer drawing a weapon, while rare, is the most serious move an officer makes. Like the man in the account below, we are wise to comply if we witness such a circumstance.
Park Forest Police Blotter Reports Through May 15, 2023
Police arrested Lonell Long, 61, 22115 Central Park Ave., Park Forest, on May 4 and charged him with aggravated arson after police responded to a residence on Central Park Ave. To investigate a report of a disturbance in progress.
Dispatch told officers the complainant was reporting that a man was trying to set their residence on fire, according to police.
When police arrived, an officer saw a man wearing a plaid jacket and blue jean pants walking southbound on the sidewalk of Central Park Avenue. A woman was following him. They both appeared to be in the middle of a verbal dispute, according to police.
When the man saw the officer’s patrol vehicle, he allegedly fled on foot, eastbound to the rear of a residence on Central Park Avenue. The officer radioed responding units to look for a man fleeing the area on foot. He then made contact with the woman to determine what happened, according to police.
The woman alleged that the man had just attempted to set fire to their residence, according to police. They had a dispute over money.
Criminal Damage to Property
Police arrested Kenneth D. Green, 35, and Ashley A. Jones, 32, both of 20 S. Arbor Trail, Park Forest, on May 10 and charged them with criminal damage to property. Police additionally issued Mr. Green traffic citations charging reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration. Ms. Jones was issued traffic citations charging no valid driver’s license and operating a motor vehicle with suspended registration, according to police.
Report: Accident with Personal Injury
Police responded to Sycamore Drive and North Arbor Trail at approximately 8:13 AM regarding a report of an accident with personal injury. Officers determined after arrival that the incident entailed criminal damage to property, according to the report.
Police arrived to find two damaged vehicles. Kenneth Green and Ashley Jones were the drivers present, according to the report.
One officer spoke with Ms. Jones, who said she was upset that Mr. Green did not come home the previous night. So, she sent him a text saying that his work close would be outside their residence, according to police. Ms. Jones then left their residence and was on her way to the gas station to get milk, she said.
While Ms. Jones drove near the intersection of South Arbor Trail and Sycamore Drive, Mr. Green allegedly rear-ended her vehicle with his, according to police. She lost control of her vehicle, driving off the roadway onto a grassy area, according to police.
The Park Forest Fire Department responded to the accident and attended to Ms. Jones. She refused transport to the hospital and signed a refusal, according to police.
The Other Side
Another officer spoke with Mr. Green who said that he got a text message from Ms. Jones stating that she was upset with him because he did not get home the previous night. She also accused him of infidelity, according to the report.
He said when he got home, he found his work clothes outside and the door locked, according to police. He then went to his work truck which was in the parking lot to retrieve some tools, according to the report.
His other vehicle, a white Audi, was also in the lot.
Mr. Green said he saw Ms. Jones in her Jeep as she drove away. According to Mr. Green, Ms. Jones then allegedly sideswiped his Audi with her Jeep, according to police. Mr. Green said she did so “intentionally,” according to the report.
Ms. Jones then reversed her vehicle and allegedly drove away, according to police.
Report: Final Contact
Mr. Green quickly got into his damaged Audi and followed Ms. Jones, according to police. He allegedly admitted that he intentionally collided with the rear of the Jeep that Ms. Jones was driving, according to the report.
Police arrested Ms. Jones and Mr. Green pending further investigation. Officers took them to the Park Forest Police Department for processing, according to the report. Police then processed them and charged them as stated above. Police then released the couple on bond, according to police.
Felony Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer
Tashawn L. Brown-Smith, 26, 2029 Ridgemoor Dr., Plainfield, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer. Police responded to a home on Winslow Street to investigate a domestic call. When officers arrived, no one was fighting or arguing and there was no sign of a disturbance, according to police.
Police learned that a woman had a verbal argument with Tashawn Brown-Smith over his Dodge Charger. The Charger was parked in the garage at that home on Winslow Street.
While police were there, Mr. Brown-Smith and another man began to argue, according to police. The two men allegedly “took a fighting stance with the intent to fight each other,” according to the report.
Officers moved to separate the men.
One officer heard what sounded like a smack and turned around to see another officer reach for his Taser. This officer initially thought that the “smack” she heard was Mr. Brown-Smith allegedly striking a woman at the scene. However, she reports that two officers immediately placed Mr. Brown-Smith under arrest on a charge of battery to a peace officer, according to police.
At the Park Forest Police Department, officers viewed body cam footage from one of the arresting officers. They saw Mr. Brown-Smith’s hand allegedly make contact with an officer’s face, according to police.
Police arrested Derek L. Williams, 37, 13 Hemlock St., Park Forest, on May 12 and charged him with trespassing.
Police responded to a business in the 400 block of Sauk Trail to investigate a report of an unwanted subject. Police met with a store manager who pointed at Derek Williams as the man he wished police to take from his business, according to police.
The officer recognized Mr. Williams and knew that the business banned Mr. Williams from entering, according to the police.
Violation of an Order of Protection
Police arrested Micah L. Reed, 22, 415 Sandburg St., Park Forest, on May 13 and charged him with violation of an order of protection.
Police responded to an address on Sandburg Street at 12:56 AM regarding a report of an unwanted subject. The complainant said Mr. Reed was in her home, refusing to leave. She said he was irate, according to the report. The complainant also said she had a no-contact order of protection against Mr. Reed, according to police.
An officer confirmed that the order of protection was active and served, according to the report.
Felony Violation of Sex Offender Registration
Police arrested Derrelle D. Hulbert, 42, 437 Indianwood Blvd., Park Forest, on May 13 and charged him with one count of a felony violation of sex offender registration.
An officer responded to the Park Forest Police Department lobby regarding a walk-in sex offender registration, according to police. A Records Clerk advised that Derrelle D. Hulbert was there to register at 437 Indianwood Boulevard, according to police.
Prior to meeting with Mr. Hulbert, the officer checked the prior registration and saw that Mr. Hulbert previously registered on January 12, 2023, with the PFPD. At that time, police assigned him, Hulbert, a return date of April 13, 2023. He acknowledged this by signing and dating the Illinois Registration Act form, according to police. The officer further checked the Park Forest Police Department Sex Offender Registration forms. He found Mr. Hulbert listed as a sexual predator with a quarterly (90-day) registration requirement, according to police.
Man Allegedly Knew He Was Late
The records clerk said that when Mr. Hulbert came to the records window, he allegedly stated that he believed he was a few weeks late for registering, according to police.
Police then arrested Mr. Hulbert, advising him they were taking him into custody on suspicion of violation of the Sex Offender Registration Act, according to police.
Mr. Hulbert told police that he had been experiencing family problems, and suffered multiple deaths in the family. He said his mother was ill and he had to take her to the hospital routinely, according to police. Mr. Hulbert told officers he thought he had registered in February. He said he thought he was due to return by May 13, according to the report.
Police showed him the Illinois Registration Act form that he had initialed, signed, and dated January 12, 2023, according to police.
Charge of Aggravated Speeding After Officer Draws Weapon
Police arrested Caleb Coleman, 28, 8818 S. Dorchester Ave., Chicago, on May 14 and charged him with aggravated speeding (35+) and also charged him with one count of reckless driving.
An officer on patrol was traveling westbound on Sauk Trail from Westwood Drive when he saw a white Chevy Malibu going eastbound on Sauk Trail allegedly at a high rate of speed.
It was 10:55 AM.
The Malibu passed the officer near Windsor Street. He confirmed with his vehicle’s radar that Chevy’s speed was 69 mph in a posted 35 mph zone, according to police.
The officer conducted a U-turn and began traveling eastbound on Sauk Trail in an effort to catch up to the sedan. He also switched his radar unit to the “same direction,” according to the report. He saw that the vehicle had increased to speeds in excess of 80 mph, according to police.
The highest speed the officer’s radar showed during the pursuit was 91 mph, the report says.
Chevy Stops at a Red Light
The Malibu managed to stay a quarter mile ahead of the officer until it stopped at a red light in the left turn lane to northbound Western Avenue, according to police. At that point, the officer identified the Missouri registration on the vehicle, according to police.
The officer positioned behind the Chevy as it turned northbound on Western Avenue. The vehicle subsequently pulled over on Western Avenue just north of Sauk Trail.
The officer exited his patrol vehicle and saw that the brake lights on the Chevy were activated, according to police. The officer saw this as an indication that the Malibu might have been put back into Drive, according to police.
Report: The Driver Begins to Argue
The driver, later identified as Caleb Coleman, began sounding the horn on the vehicle, according to police. The officer ordered Mr. Coleman to put the keys on top of the vehicle. Mr. Coleman allegedly failed to do so after numerous commands from the officer, according to police.
Mr. Coleman allegedly began arguing with the officer and then opened the driver’s door and started to get out, according to police.
Officer Draws Weapon
At that point, the officer feared that Mr. Coleman might continue to allegedly resist lawful orders, try to escape on foot, or possibly attempt to assault the officer, according to police. The officer then drew his firearm and ordered Mr. Coleman back into the vehicle at gunpoint, according to police.
Mr. Coleman complied but allegedly continued to argue with the officer.
The officer remained at his squad car keeping eyes on Mr. Coleman. He lowered his firearm to a “low ready” position until other officers arrived to assist.
It seems the tension finally dissipated when the other officers arrived. Police ordered Mr. Coleman from the vehicle and took him into custody, according to the report.
About Police Reports
Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those arrested and charged have committed any offenses. We report on what is in the media reports furnished by police. As those charged are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.
eNews Park Forest has continuously published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.
Presumption of Innocence
An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. All those arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest to not remove items in the public record from publication. If your name is listed in the police reports, we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g., “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.
All of the incidents in this report were captured on body-worn and dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. These devices are now typically abbreviated BWC in the reports.
Persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters, including narcotics or gang activity, are encouraged to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.