Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mother of the accused mugger tells her side

October 31, 2006
Jemelle Lloyd, 17, is described by his mother as a good kid. A senior at the Chicago Military Academy in Bronzeville, Lloyd has cleared the hurdle that trips up too many African-American males.

Lloyd is also captain of his high school basketball team and calls his ailing mother twice a day.

So how, then, did Lloyd end up being charged with the attempted robbery of a University of Chicago student in Hyde Park last Friday?

His mother, Suzette Lloyd, blames the green-and-yellow sweats her son was wearing at the time of his arrest. It was identical to the outfits worn by five other Bronzeville students also charged in this incident.

If that's the case, it wouldn't be the first time that a black man has been swept up into a lineup because he "looks like" the suspect.

But a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said Lloyd was part of a group of teens who "struck" a University of Chicago student in the "back of his head," and when the young man fell to the ground, they "struck his head and body with their feet and fists."

The other students also charged with attempted robbery are Van Epinger, 17; Michael Pleasants, 17, and Lawrence Gardner, 17. Two others, Armani Carson, 18; and Alexander Tolks, 18, are being sought by police.

On Monday, the mother tearfully explained her understanding of what transpired before her son's arrest.

Apparently, three of the teens are childhood friends and members of their high school basketball team. The group hitched a ride with another student from 35th and Giles (where the school is located) to the Hyde Park area because "that's as far as the student was going," Lloyd's mother told me.

"My son started calling me between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m," she said. "We talked and all of a sudden, the phone went dead."

$5 demanded, then an attack
Lloyd was supposed to catch the No. 15 bus to his home in the 6900 block of East End. His mother called his cell phone until a police officer answered.

"He told me my son was being arrested," she said, crying. "I could hear him in the background telling the police officer that I had had a stroke," she said.

Lloyd was eventually taken to 26th and California.

"He called me at 3 a.m. the next morning and said "Mama, I swear to you. I didn't do this," the mother said.

A police spokesman verified that Lloyd has no police record.

Even so, his bond is $50,000, which means his mother has to put up $5,000 to get him out of Cook County Jail.

Parents of the three other teens have already posted bonds.

"I don't have that kind of money," Suzette Lloyd said on Monday. She and other family members are trying to scrape up money to get Jemelle a lawyer.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Military Academy principal is promising to take disciplinary action against the teens.

I don't know whether Lloyd is innocent or guilty. Unless the other teens admit guilt and exonerate Lloyd of any involvement, he will likely end up with a record.

And why?

According to police, the teens demanded $5 before allegedly attacking the university student.

Five measly dollars.

It will cost each of these parents at least 1,000 times that amount if they stand a chance of keeping these students out of the criminal justice system.

Whoever assaulted the university student has been looking at far too many rap videos and listening to too many gangsta CDs.

This is real life outside of black neighborhoods.

Shamed parents, community
The University of Chicago has its own police department, which includes a robbery mission team.

After several incidents last year in which university students were attacked by groups of teens, police are vigilant about safety, as they should be.

In this instance, the victim was able to give a description of the offenders because allegedly they were all wearing the same color and type of clothing -- sweats bearing their school's logo.

If Lloyd was wrongfully snatched up from the street because he was identified as being with the group solely because of his clothing, I sincerely hope he gets help defending himself.

Because the people who committed this idiotic crime are going to have to pay for acting like as---.

They shamed themselves, their parents, their school and a community that continues to support young men like them.

Worse than that, they are killing their mothers.

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