One of the many issues that draws the ire of Chicago Police Department (CPD) personnel is seeing someone they arrested for a violent crime walk out without serving what they consider to be an appropriate sentence.
The latest example of that is a man charged with shooting an officer and then getting out on bond in October.
Bryce Jones-Lanum was charged with shooting CPD Officer Fernando Soto not far from the Beverly community in late 2018. Police said Soto saw Jones-Lanum holding what appeared to be a gun at the intersection of 87th Street and Ashland Avenue. Jones-Lanum ran, police said, and pointed a revolver at Soto; they exchanged fire.
Soto was shot in the back of his protective vest, and Jones-Lanum was wounded.
Jones-Lanum was originally held without bail, but at an October hearing, Judge Diana Kenworthy issued him a $50,000 bail, and he posted the required 10 percent to be released until his trial.
Soto has local connections, as he attended Br. Rice High School. He also attended 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea’s Get Behind the Vest Pancake Breakfast on Feb. 23, as he has benefited from new vests purchased by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
Jones-Lanum was placed on electronic monitoring and is required to stay home unless he has a job or attends school.
Prosecutors and the defense reportedly argued back and forth at the October hearing. One side said Jones-Lanum was a threat to himself and others, and he admitted that he shot first. Jones-Lanum’s attorney said video from Soto’s body camera didn’t prove that Jones-Lanum shot first. The attorney also said Jones-Lanum has worked as a security guard and furniture deliveryman and had 26 letters of support.
Jones-Lanum remains innocent until proven guilty, but the court system has again potentially put a violent person back on the street.
Soto’s encounter with gun violence came the same week as CPD Officer Samuel Jimenez was shot and killed during a shooting spree at Mercy Hospital. It came nine months after CPD Commander Paul Bauer was shot and killed by a suspect he was pursuing downtown.
The judge gave some advice to Jones-Lanum.
“Make sure you don’t do anything that would give me cause to think that I made a mistake and that you would need to be back in custody.”
Chicagoans pray that the suspect listens.