47th Ward Democratic Organization President William Helm is celebrating this week, since last Tuesday, May 31, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped misdemeanor battery charges for an alleged election night assault at the Celtic Crown Public House, 4301 N. Western Ave., last February. The unusually aggressive arrest of Helm, was carried out by the 19th District Chicago Police Tactical Team immediately following a 47th Ward Democratic Organization meeting chaired by former Ald. Eugene Schulter.
“The charges were unfounded. It was a nothing case,” said Helm after the charges were dropped.
As a matter of policy, Chicago Police do not discuss misdemeanor charges with the Cook County State’s Attorney before making arrests. Misdemeanor charges also do not have an indictment hearing and cannot be dismissed until the case goes to trial. When Helm’s case went to trial on May 31, prosecutors immediately moved to dismiss the case.
“When the case got to court we took a look at it and we didn’t feel we could meet our burden of proof so we dropped it,” said Andy Conklin, spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney.
Helm’s attorney, Tim Grace, was not forgiving.
“I’ve been a defense attorney for a lot of years and I think that’s happened a handful of times,” said Grace.
While the case has been dropped, the Chicago Police’s use of aggressive tactics for Helm’s arrest remain unexplained. The State’s Attorney’s Office refused to comment on the matter.
Helm believes his arrest was politically motivated.
“There was a lot of divisiveness within the 47th Ward and some party got a hold of it,” he said.