CCBF Pays Bond to Free Roderick
Last month, Sheriff Dart announced that he would be unconstitutionally detaining people who have been ordered released so he could conduct additional arbitrary reviews of their current charges and backgrounds. Since then, Dart has refused to release at least ten people who had already paid their bonds, some indefinitely, and all without a court order. Many of the people Dart is targeted are in a similar position to Roderick, who CCBF posted bond for last year: they are accused by police of having, but not using, a gun.
Roderick spent five months incarcerated in Cook County Jail after he was arrested and charged with possessing a gun (a charge misleadingly named “aggravated unlawful use of a weapon”) in March 2017. He spent five months in jail simply because he could not afford to pay his $50,000 bond.
“After awhile I wasn’t really stressing about it. I know I didn’t have any money to put up and my mom was struggling to help me and then pay for her bills. So I was like, it is what it is. It was a hard five months,” said Roderick.
Before he was arrested, Roderick worked at a restaurant and was in line for a promotion at his job. He lived with his mother, helped her pay bills and rent, and also supported his partner and their twins, who were only three months old at the time. Roderick’s bail was initially set at $50,000, an amount that Roderick and his family could never afford.
“I live in a pretty rough neighborhood, so I thought they were trying to prove a point with me or something [by setting bond at a high amount in his case].”
Roderick’s bond was eventually lowered to $30,000 and the Chicago Community Bond Fund was able to post $3,000 to secure his release from jail. His charges were immediately dropped after his first court appearance because of lack of evidence. This means that Roderick was incarcerated for five months on charges that were unprovable. During the time he was in jail pretrial, Roderick missed the first few months of his children’s lives and was unable to financially support his mom, sister, and partner. He lost his job, and his car was repossessed. Roderick’s whole family was impacted by his incarceration.
These sorts of consequences for accused people and their families are what Sheriff Dart fails to consider when he decides to unilaterally detain people pretrial. Our treatment of accused people must not be governed solely by the charges against them or the number of times that they have been stopped by police in their neighborhood. In Chicago, we know that how often you interact with police is determined by the race and wealth of your neighborhood. Sheriff Dart claims to care about the people living in neighborhoods with the highest rates of gun violence in the City, but he ignores the destruction of lives caused by incarceration in his jail.
One year later, Roderick is still rebuilding his life after his five months in CCJ. He has found a new job at an ice cream shop, and his twins have recently started walking. While Roderick and his family are recovering, they should never had been put through the destabilizing and violent experience of separation due to incarceration. #EndMoneyBail &#AbolishPretrialDetention!