Earlier this year, headlines across the country were ablaze with reports that an actor had been attacked outside a sandwich shop in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago. The actor, an openly gay African-American, reported to Chicago police that he was walking to his apartment when two men approached him, hit him, and put a noose around his neck, all while yelling homophobic and racial slurs and making references to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
Holes in the Story
In the weeks that followed, details of the story began to fall apart, and authorities started to believe that the actor orchestrated the staged attack. An investigation suggested that the “victim” had paid two men to fake an attack, but his motives for doing so were unclear. The actor was eventually arrested and charged with one count of disorderly conduct for making a false report to police. When additional evidence was presented to a Cook County grand jury in early March, the Grand jury came back with 15 additional counts, one for each statement made to police.
At the end of March, Cook County prosecutors suddenly announced that all of the charges were being dropped against the actor but failed to provide much in the way of reasoning. The mayor’s office, Chicago Police, and other authorities have called for an extensive investigation into the handling of the case by the city and county.
Felony Charges for False Police Reports
While the story of the attack—staged or not—was certainly shocking, many who followed the story were surprised to learn that the actor faced felony charges. Unde r Illinois law, knowingly making a false report to a peace officer that a crime has been committed, is being committed or will be committed falls under the crime of disorderly conduct.
Disorderly conduct, in some instances, can be a relatively minor offense. For example, acting unruly in public and breaching the peace can be considered a Class C misdemeanor for disorderly conduct. Causing a false alarm or making a false report to the police about a crime is much more serious. In this instance, the actor faced 16 Class 4 felony counts, each of which carries a sentence of between one and three years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
It is important to note that making a false report is only prosecutable if the person making the report knows the report to be false. If you make a report to police in good faith regarding a crime that you believe is taking place, has taken place, or will take place, you cannot be prosecuted if you end up being wrong.
Call a Joliet Defense Attorney for Help
If you are facing charges for disorderly conduct in any capacity, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.