Ald. Graham and police Chief Weis hold town hall

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By Terry Dean of the Austin Weekly

Town Hall was steamy Monday night but not just because of the heat as residents grilled 29th Ward Ald. Deborah Graham and Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis during a public forum.

Seats in the first-floor auditorium were filled near capacity for the town hall. Also present were other police officials, including former Austin 15th District commander Eugene Williams. Audience members included community leaders and residents.

Some residents had tough questions for Graham and police during the forum, which lasted more than two hours.

An Austin mother said she’s seen police threaten youth and claimed that involved trying to place illegal drugs on them in exchange for information. When asked by Williams, the woman, however, never filed a complaint with the city’s Independent Police Review Authority – created in 2007 – which handles police misconduct complaints. The woman said she feared retaliation if she did so.

Graham, a former state rep whom Mayor Daley appointed alderman in March, encouraged residents to call her office with complaints about police misconduct. Her ward office number is 773-261-4646.

Meanwhile, as the forum was going on inside the unairconditioned Austin Town Hall at 5610 W. Lake St., Chicago police, fire trucks and paramedics swarmed the area just south of the building along Central.

Just before the start of the forum, scheduled for 6:30 p.m., a white male in his 50s was killed at the Central and Lake Green Line after jumping in front of a train. This was the second such incident in the last four years at the station involving someone killed while jumping onto the tracks.

See our earlier story about the death.

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