Did the politics of immigration policy factor into the Kate Steinle jury verdict? It was Chicago and Illinois politics as usual after Gov. Rauner promised, on national television, to meet with Brian McCann and his organization to discuss their point of view on sanctuary state legislation but never actually reached out to them. Brian McCann, brother of Dennis McCann who was killed in Chicago by an illegal immigrant and a member of Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime, joins Dan and Amy to discuss the Steinle verdict and Illinois’ sanctuary state designation.
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Proft: Dan and Amy. In February of 2016, New York Police officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter for ricochet shooting a black man. Jacobson: Oh... Proft: Jury in Brooklyn found Liang guilty in connection with the death of a 28 year old black man who was killed by a bullet fired from Liang's gun, in November of 2014. Liang, the police officer, testified that a sudden noise startled him, causing his finger to slip onto the trigger and fire the gun, and it ricocheted off the wall and hit...hit the victim. Jacobson: Well it's weird, you know. Because Kate Steinle's MURDERER...he accidentally pulled the trigger, it ricocheted off the ground, 80 feet into her back, and killed her. Involuntary manslaughter for me, if I was a juror, but he got off on that charge. Proft: Yeah, it's interesting to compare and contrast, now isn't it? Now it should be noted that Liang's conviction was eventually reduced to criminally negligent homicide, he didn't serve any jail time, wasn't sentenced to any jail time. Jacobson: But I'm sure he lost his job. Proft: But that's secondary, it's secondary. The sentencing is secondary to the conviction, and then we can argue about the sentencing, but here in this case I would argue we have jury nullification based on the politics of immigration policy. And speaking of the politics of immigration policy, of course this matters in the state of Illinois, which is a Sanctuary State, and the county of Cook, which is a Sanctuary County, and the city of Chicago, which is a Sanctuary City, and we have a number of cases here where families have been victimized by people in this country illegally, and justice has yet to be served. We mentioned the Tiffany Thrasher case in Straumburg on Friday, and that we mentioned that the individual responsible for her MURDER is, I believe, awaiting trial. And then we also have the case of Dennis McCann. Dennis McCann was killed in Chicago by an illegal immigrant who subsequently fled after arrest, because he was able to post bail. Jacobson: It was a hit and run on Kinzie Avenue, right? Proft: Right. We've spoken to his brother, Brian McCann, before, and Brian McCann joins us again now. Brian, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. McCann: Yeah, thank you. Glad to be here. Proft: So, I know you and some other family members from families who have been victimized by illegal immigrant criminals have started an organization, and I wonder what the discussion was among you and similarly situated people when that Steinle verdict came down last week? McCann: Yeah, well as I'm sure you can imagine, the phones were ringing, and emails were in process all weekend, with my fellow AVIACers...Advocates of Victims of Illegal Alien Crime. And what we're going to try to do is pivot off of this, and hopefully it will be seared into the consciousness of John and Mary Q Public. That's been our lament over the past few years, that most Americans are some sort of indifferent, perhaps even uncaring, certainly not AWARE of how serious the problem of illegal alien crime is. So we're gonna ratchet up our cause, we're gonna try to raise a few more bucks, and do some more travelling, and we thank you for inviting me, and other people are doing radio shows this morning as well. Jacobson: Brian, for those of us who aren't familiar, or maybe they missed out the first time we had you on, or they didn't read John Cass' column, your brother was hit by Saul Chavez, who was on a...just explain what happened that day. McCann: Yeah, it was June 6th, 2011. My brother was calling on a client at a Mexican restaurant, he's an insure...he's a commercial insurance guy. As he was crossing Kedzie Avenue, not far from that famous monument up there, he...Chavez was SERIOUSLY inebriated, and hit him, and dragged him about a city block, and my brother died a violent death. A good Samaritan, an off-duty cop, apprehended him, and Chavez was brought in. He was arraigned, and we were ASSURED by the Cook County Prosecutor not to worry about bail because of something called a detainer, which was explained to us at the time, so we were somewhat comforted that he would receive justice. Little did we know that soon to be the next Congressman, Chuy Garcia, was working tirelessly with Preckwinkle to fashion an ordinance to make the county Sanctuary, which it did in September of 2011, and Mr. Chavez's brother posted the necessary $25,000...in CASH, might I add, and Chavez fled and he's alive and well, driving a truck in Mexico. Proft: And so, I remember when we talked to you about the Sanctuary STATE legislation, to codify this policy that the city and county enacted at the state level, you and other families who've been victimized wanted to speak to the governor about it before he made his decision, ultimately which was to sign it. And the governor had publicly promised you, or I think he had promised you, that he would speak to you. And I wonder if that conversation ever happened. McCann: Never...never did. He promised...he promised us in front of, I don't know, about 20 million people, and Fox News that night, Bret Baier was in town...so I thought "Well, that should make for some leverage." But no, he never reached out to us. He did say that he talks to lots of families, but we suspect he talks more to families that are from the other side than to us. (inaudible) is trying to sue for documents on that, by the way, but I don't know if they'll ever get anywhere. They're trying. Proft: So the interesting thing about this, you suggest that you're trying to get families to pay attention to this, residents of Illinois to get animated by this, and in other states by the way. And when you look at the survey research, people WILDLY oppose this, I mean, Republicans, Democrats, this is like 3-to-1 AGAINST this policy. So people kind of viscerally get it, it may not be the kind of thing that animates them if they or someone they know hasn't been victimized, but they certainly get the logic of your position. And I wonder now if this is a time now because of that Steinle verdict to try and focus people's attention on their legislators, and put pressure on them to consider a repeal of the legislation Governor Rauner signed. McCann: Well, I talked to a young lady the other day, she's campaign manager for, I guess, Jeanne Ives? And I think she's gonna be on with you this morning, later on I think? So she wants me to join her on the steps of the jail, I think on Thursday, let me take a look at my notes. I guess she wants to announce a repeal effort, if she's elected Governor. And I certainly support that. Now, out in California, Don Rosenberg, who is part of our organization, he is raising money to try to do a ballot initiative. I don't think we can do ballot initiatives here, but they're... Proft: Not as easily, right. McCann: They're trying to do it out there, so lots of luck for Don! But, that could generate a lot of buzz too, because California's got more issues related to this than we do. Jacobson: But you must feel betrayed by Governor Rauner! The fact that he didn't call you, at first he said he would call you, and now we're a sanctuary STATE. McCann: I mean, I'm an old student of political science, I understand. Ironically, I was kind of PLEASED with what happened. You know, aside from immigration issues, I'm a big proponent of vouchers, in spite of the fact that I'm a retired public school teacher. When he slipped that tax credit voucher thing in there, privately I was pretty pleased with him. So it's mixed, politics is mixed, you never get what you want, but sure...betrayed? I don't know...I don't know how to respond, he...I'm a realist, I'm a realist. Proft: Yeah, you're used to Illinois Chicago politics, which is to say you're used to... McCann: Being around this town for so long, yknow... Jacobson: You just keep your expectations low? But I mean, your brother is GONE, he's not coming back, and his killer is alive and well down there in Mexico. Do you ever want to just go down there and take some street justice? McCann: Yeah, well...we're gonna start a posse. And I'm 70 years old, so I remember the old Westerns. I always wanted to start a posse when I was kid. Maybe we'll start one. You wanna join? Jacobson: Yeah! I'll be the Swedish member of your posse! Proft: Yeah, we'll get the Wild Bunch together, yeah! McCann: We'll have Poncho Vida on horseback, and we'll have a good time. Proft: Do you speak with other families? I know you mentioned your friend in California, what about other families in Illinois, do you... McCann: You know, you guys ought to...and I can send you the number...Eric Brady, he lost his wife Jeanine, New Year's Eve down in Champaign...Champaign, of all places, Champaign went sanctuary a few years ago. And Jeanine worked down at the American Legion, her husband's a veteran, and she was driving home New Year's Eve, on Interstate...what is it, 70, 74, down there? 74, she was on her way home, and this kid from Guatemala was on the wrong side of the Interstate and hit her head on and killed her instantly. The Guatemalan was rushed to the hospital, to see if he had any injuries, and the stupid Illinois state police didn't assign a deputy to him, so they released him that morning and he fled to Guatemala. I've had radio stations down in St Louis talk to Eric, you oughta talk to him, it's unbelievably tragic, very recent. Proft: And here's the thing about this to, to get your perspective, and I mean mine on this, I'm a pro-LEGAL-immigration guy, but it seems to me that all the politicians say, and the Steinle case is such a poignant reminder of this, "Yeah, people that are here that have committed violent crimes, obviously they have to be deported!" And yet, they're not. And they're deported...or they're deported...and they return time and time again and then find safe haven in cities like San Francisco or Chicago, and so it's very difficult to have a thoughtful conversation on how we govern legal immigration in this country when politicians across the political spectrum can't keep that sort of foundational promise to expel violent individuals who shouldn't be in this country in the first place. McCann: Yeah. Yeah I couldn't agree with you more, and how're we gonna resolve this? God only knows. The Democratic party, the progressives that run these cities...they're a different breed, they're a different coalition, and they're not the Roosevelt Democrats that my mother and father and my wife's family was. They're not real pro-labor, you know...I'm Irish! We wanted to run the cities. But we didn't want CRIMINALS. I don't know. We didn't want to protect criminals, and we didn't want to protect alternative marriage schemes, and all sorts of other...it's a different world out there, and somehow we have to punch through it and get people in middle America to appreciate that. I've seen that data you mentioned, Dan, but boy, when you're talking to the average man on the street, they think...Kate Steinle was an outlier, it was an isolated case. They really don't realize how SERIOUS this crime situation is. We...it's impossible to aggregate data BECAUSE of sanctuary cities. I mean, we get together with ICE but really we're doing it on our own, and there's been well over 200 murders, killings, in the last 12 years, these are some of our early figures, not to mention assaults, rapes, identity theft, you name it, all felonies. The public has got to get it! And we're praying and hoping that we can pivot off of this Steinle thing and change a few minds and maybe...get this repeal effort underway. And I'll talk to Miss Ives later this week, and hopefully I can help her. Proft: All right, Brian, we appreciate you raising the profile on the issue. He is Brian McCann, Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime, it's...how do you pronounce the acronym? McCann: AVIAC.US is the website, and we have a button, and we need some money, so please help. Proft: AVIAC.US is the website. McCann: AVIAC.US is the website. Proft: He is Brian McCann, Brian thank you so much for joining us. McCann: You bet guys, thank you so much.