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Prosecutors Reject Felony Charges For Man Threatening Chicago Cops’ Families

Matthew Ross threatened violence against police officers' families.

Chicago, IL – A man who threatened to assault police officers’ families, and to burn down aldermen’s offices, was arrested but is already back on the streets after the prosecutor refused to file felony charges.

The prosecutor opted for only misdemeanor charges and the suspect was released from custody.

Matthew Ross, 32, was arrested on Friday, shortly before Officer Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder for the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Ross said he would carry out his threats if Officer Van Dyke was not convicted of murder.

McDonald, 17, was allegedly breaking into vehicles on South Karlov Avenue, then slashed the tires of a patrol SUV and damaged a cruiser windshield when officers pulled up at the scene.

Officer Van Dyke fatally shot the teen, who was under the influence of PCP, as he was walking down the center of a roadway with the knife in his hand.

The officer was subsequently charged with first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery, and one count of official misconduct.

According to police, Ross threatened officials as they were “within a courtroom” at the Leighton Criminal Court Building where Officer Van Dyke’s trial was being held on Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Ross also allegedly threatened officials over social media, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Chicago Lodge No. 7 Vice President Martin Preib said he filed a complaint regarding some of Ross’ online threats on Friday, according to a Facebook post.

“Mt. Greenwood, Midway, all cop neighborhoods, we beatin ya’ll kids & wives -ss if Van Dyke gets off!! Free your soul!!!” one of Ross’s since-deleted posts read.

“Every alderman’s office should be burned to the ground!! Free your soul!!” he wrote in another.

Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi refused to provide details about the threats Ross made, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Ross was charged with misdemeanor offenses of disorderly conduct and electronic harassment, and was released immediately after processing.

Preib was outraged that Ross was not held accountable for his violent threats.

“I was informed that despite these threats, prosecutors declined to pursue felony charges,” Preib said in his post. “Can you imagine that?”

“This decision not to approve felony charges is yet another sign that Cook County Prosecutor Kimberly Foxx has abandoned her obligations as a prosecutor and will not protect Chicago Police Officers,” the FOP vice president added.

The FOP has blasted Foxx for her anti-police antics in the past.

“Foxx has demonstrated a clear movement away from prosecuting criminals into vilifying police officers,” FOP President Kevin Graham railed in a 2017 letter to the Chicago Sun Times. “The state’s attorney’s office has been transformed from an entity that prosecuted crimes to one that panders to the powerful anti-police movement in the city.”

Graham has accused Foxx of treating accusations of police misconduct as an “industry” in order to “garner large settlements.”

“There have been numerous other examples of the prosecutor’s office charging police officers with crimes, not based on probable cause but political and media pressure,” Graham noted. “The prosecution is directly responsible for the current level of mistrust.”

Police are also investigating separate threats made against Officer Van Dyke’s 12- and 16-year-old daughters on Thursday, WGN reported.

Officer Van Dyke’s youngest daughter received a Snapchat message that warned her there “might be a shooting and people might come after you and kill you,” according to the news outlet.

Meanwhile, students at the school where the officer’s eldest daughter is enrolled “started passing out pictures” of the girl so that other students could identify her and attack her, defense attorney Daniel Herbert told the court.

“We need to get her,” the photo was captioned, according to the Chicago Tribune.

No arrests have been made with regards to the threats made against the officer’s children, Chicago Police Department spokesperson Officer Jessica Rocco said.

Officer Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and all 16 counts of aggravated battery on Friday afternoon.

The jury found him not guilty of official misconduct.

He faces up to 20 years in prison for the murder conviction, and up to 30 years in prison for each of the battery offenses, WGN reported.

Holly Matkin - October Fri, 2018

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