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Police deal with threats after officer's killing

July 22, 2010 4:37:30 AM PDT
As the family of Michael Bailey made arrangements for the Chicago police officer's Friday funeral, they took time to speak publicly about his life Wednesday. Bailey was gunned down outside his home early Sunday.

Solomon Bailey says his brother Michael was a dedicated father, friend and police officer and that he was the type of officer who was never off-duty. Living to serve and protect is who he was, family members said.

Now, there is an urgent call for Chicago residents to break the 'code of silence.'

"Our hearts are heavy. We are grieving, but we are angry, too," one person said during a prayer Wednesday evening.

Residents from the Park Manor neighborhood where Bailey was a block club leader joined police Supt. Weis in a plea for those who have information to come forward with it.

"We will continue to stand and fight and deliver so that his death was not wasted in vain," said Darlene Tribue, president of the Park Manor Neighbors Council.

Weis spoke out Wednesday reminding people that the rewards offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting death of Michael Bailey have grown to a total of $65,000.

"The fact that people are willing to kill uniformed police officers wearing a gun on a nice Sunday morning is amazing to me. We have to bring this killer to justice," Weis said.

The announcement came at the same time that the police department was dealing with a very specific threat against their officers.

The fallen officer's family members went to police headquarters-- where there is a memorial to fallen officers-- to honor Bailey's memory Wednesday and to lend their support to the police department's efforts to find his killers.

"The loss of Michael has created a void in our family," said Solomon Bailey.

"The criminals who were responsible for this have to be identified, and they have to be taken off the streets. Justice must be served," said Weis.

Wednesday was the first time Superintendent Weis spoke out on Bailey's killing because he was out of the city Sunday morning when the 62-year-old police officer was gunned down outside his Chatham neighborhood home in an attempted robbery.

Bailey is the third Chicago police officer to be killed in the last two months and the second from the Chatham neighborhood.

Also, just days after Bailey's death, there is a new warning. The police department has acknowledged that both District 3 and District 6 in Chatham, near Officer Bailey's home, have received phone call threats against its officers. Text messages containing the gist of the threat and a warning have been circulating among officers there.

"More police officers will be shot?gang bangers in the area are passing the word?every night they will be ambushing police in the Chatham area. Please pass along this info and please be safe," reads one of the text messages.

Although police officially are saying they do not believe the threats are legitimate, at city hall Wednesday, Ald. Ed Smith insisted the threats must be taken seriously.

"I don't think you can downplay this. We've already lost three police officers in the last couple of months. So, the police officers have got to take this very seriously," said Smith, who represents the city's 28th Ward.

Superintendent Weis did not want to give specifics Wednesday, but he did say a police presence has been increased in the neighborhoods mentioned in the threats.

"We take this very seriously. We put the information out right away to all of our officers, but we also followed and tried to establish any credibility with it, and, fortunately, there has been nothing determined so far," Weis said.

Mayor Daley has said he plans to add 100 police officers to the streets, but some officers and Ald. Edward Burke said Wednesday that was not enough. Burke is urging the mayor to ask off-duty police officers to work on their days off to combat gang violence, which he says is akin to urban terrorism.


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