Hobo leader’s attorney tries to chip away at police credibility

SHARE Hobo leader’s attorney tries to chip away at police credibility

Keith Daniels began to sweat back in June 2011. He shook. He was about to turn on the Hobos “super gang” that had terrorized the South Side for years. On Thursday, jurors heard some of the covert audio and video recordings that Daniels risked his life to make. | File photo

The leader of Chicago’s so-called Hobos “super gang” claims he’s been set up by lying cops.

So on Monday, his defense attorney tried to attack the tactics of a Chicago Police officer who has been investigating Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester for nearly a decade.

Detective William Brogan testified Monday during the trial of Chester and five other alleged Hobo leaders, telling jurors about an October 2008 police interview of Chester at the Homan Square police facility. During that interview, Brogan said he told Chester about the investigation into the Hobos street gang, and he said Chester called himself “the most successful drug dealer of the group.”

“He told us that he was going to help us get higher-level drug dealers than himself, but he did say that he would never wear a recording device on anybody, nor would he ever testify in any sort of criminal hearing against anybody,” Brogan said, adding later that Chester never became a police informant.

However, Brogan also testified that he explained Chester’s Miranda rights from memory, declining to have Chester sign a form waiving those rights. Defense attorney Beau Brindley hammered away at Brogan’s lack of documentation, prompting the detective to tell the jury “there is no signed Miranda form for Mr. Chester.”

“I can count the number of times I’ve used a Miranda waiver form on one hand,” Brogan said.

An FBI agent later asked Chester to sign such a form, Brogan testified, but Chester declined.

Brogan testified that he was being supervised at the time by Sgt. James Sanchez. U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp has ruled that testimony Sanchez gave at a previous hearing about the October 2008 interview was not credible because Sanchez directly contradicted himself on the witness stand about that evening’s events. However, the judge ultimately found that Chester understood his rights and properly waived them in an effort to cooperate.

Brogan told jurors he testified against Chester once before, during a drug case in Cook County criminal court. He said Chester was found not guilty. Brindley prompted Brogan to tell jurors he thought Chester should have been found guilty, but Brogan refused to bite when Brindley asked whether Chester got away with something.

“You’re assuming I have personal feelings against Mr. Chester, I believe,” Brogan said. “It’s a professional matter.”

The six alleged Hobo leaders are on trial for racketeering at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. Federal prosecutors say they’ve tied the group to several violent crimes, including nine murders.

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