A change in policy announced by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx months ago has resulted in two men accused of theft, driving with a suspended license without insurance and in possession of drugs being charged with misdemeanors instead of a felony.
Foxx, upon her election increased the amount necessary to charge a felony in retail theft cases to $1000 and stated that the decision would decrease the number of individuals in jail.
Recently, Oak Lawn police requested felony charges after arresting two men for a retail theft but the State’s Attorney denied the request even though the theft was accompanied by other charges.
Officers observed two black males hop a fence from the Arena Lanes Parking lot into Jewel Food Store’s parking area on 103rd Street. One officer observed the men enter Jewel and return quickly carrying merchandise. The two men allegedly returned to the Arena Lanes lot and drove off.
Another officer observed the car allegedly cross lane markings and cut off another driver on Cicero Avenue. The officer stopped the car. According to the police, the driver, Shawan Diggins, told the officer he didn’t have a license and it was suspended. He also allegedly admitted that he didn’t have insurance but the car was his girlfriend’s car that he was driving.
While speaking with Diggins, the officer observed several baskets carrying liquor bottles. He placed Diggins in custody. When read his rights, Diggins allegedly told the officer, “I’m gonna get charged so do what you’re gonna do”.
As Diggins was transported to the police station to be booked, his passenger, Bradley Wilson, was asked to step out of the car. When Wilson was asked where the alcohol came from, he allegedly replied, “We been had that”.
When asked where he got the alcohol, Wilson allegedly said it was “bootleg”. He did not produce receipts according to the police. A check of the system found he had an active warrant for his arrest on a drug possession charge. The alcohol, valued at $573.35, was traced back to Jewel and the two individuals were identified by the officer who saw them enter Jewel. During a search of Diggins, a small bag of cannabis was allegedly found in his pocket.
The police then contacted the State’s Attorney’s Office requesting felony charges. That request was denied. Diggins was then charged with misdemeanor retail theft, possession of cannabis, driving on a suspended license and unlawful lane usage. Wilson was charged with retail theft but was held for the Kane County warrant.
Diggins, 32 years old, provided a Dolton address. Wilson, 26 years old, provided a Chicago address.