By: Diane Benjamin
Imagine the neighborhood bully attacks you in your driveway and does this with a knife?
Then the Normal police arrest you for defending yourself even though other neighbors and your family tell them the victim wasn’t the aggressor?
This happened last May to a Veteran named Chad Berck. Charges against him were dropped in November. Neighbors testified in court for him, the judge even apologized for the legal system that didn’t protect the victim. Meanwhile his FOID card was confiscated, it might take a year for the State Police to return it.
The aggressor was never charged – James Allen Dewitt. He pled guilty to criminal trespass in 2021. In 2016 he was charged with Aggravated Battery/use of a deadly weapon. I appears those charges were dropped in 2017, they involved stabbing an interracial couple around ISU. Maybe the victims refused to testify. Berck did not have a criminal history before this. Both cases are listed on the County website https://publicaccess.mcleancountyil.gov/PubAC_SearchCriminal.aspx
According to Berck harassment by Dewitt started in November 2021. I have video of Dewitt laying on his car horn in front of their house. I have video of his obscene gestures while driving by. I have MANY more details I won’t include. The rest of the Berck family was asleep when Dewitt woke Chad with his motorcycle. Chad took his dog out to pee and that’s when the incident started. Dewitt was not arrested for the injuries he inflicted with his knife.
Berck was handcuffed even though he was recovering from shoulder surgery, the Normal police didn’t care. The Bercks now have an order of protection against Dewitt. January 1st that won’t matter because the Safe-T Act eliminates penalties for violating an order of protection. (from media reports)
I find it ironic the Normal police want you to fill out a survey for them. I hope the Bercks have completed it, the neighbors too. Several have public safety jobs. That survey needs some truth attached.
I’d sure like the police to explain why the injured party was arrested and the guy who did it wasn’t? Supposedly the attack moved out into the street which is public property. Berck didn’t want to give Dewitt access to his house and his sleeping family, so he purposely moved farther from his front door. The police decided the street is public property and used that to justify his arrest. I wonder if they know charges were dropped?