Mike Stephen meets up with Chic-a-Go-Go host Miss Mia Park in honor of the taping the 1000th episode of her wildly successful CAN-TV dance show, talks with local filmmaker Nancy Bechtol about the new Illinois eavesdropping law and her documentary Free Speech &the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist, and checks in with Aldertrack co-creator Mike Fourcher about how the Chicago aldermanic races are shaping up. This week’s local music is provided by Minor Characters.
OTL #433: Chic-a-Go-Go’s 1,000th episode, Illinois’ new eavesdropping law, Aldertrack’s latest local election preview
by Outside the Loop
Mike Stephen meets up with Chic-a-Go-Go host Miss Mia Park in honor of the taping the 1000th episode of her wildly successful CAN-TV dance show, talks with local filmmaker Nancy Bechtol about the new Illinois eavesdropping law and her documentary Free Speech &the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist, and checks in with Aldertrack co-creator Mike Fourcher about how the Chicago aldermanic races are shaping […]
Outside the Loop | February 1, 2015 at 7:22 AM | Tags: Aldertrack, CAN TV, Chic-a-Go-Go, Chris Drew, eavesdropping law, La Pasadita, Mia Park, Mike Fourcher, Minor Characters, Miss Mia, Nancy Bechtol, OTL, Ratso, WGN Radio | Categories: Mike Stephen, Outside the Loop Radio | URL: http://wp.me/p2OIZP-shJ
Illinois Eavesdropping Law -Why is it back? who/what is protected?
Remember the Old Illinois Eavesdropping Law? It was hotly contested by many in Illinois, major public interest, local and international media and social media all were astounded by the arrests and prosecutions under this law. including the case of Chris Drew, Street Artist’s battle against unexpected charges–Prior to this, hardly anyone even heard of this law, This STILL is a hot topic, since rearing its ugly head to major notice in 2009. .
reference: early posting on APA site, for background on first showing of film:
I saw this first hand. I documented Chris Drew (1949-2012) and his journey stating “Art IS Speech” He was selling Art for a $1 to protest the Peddler’s Ordinance but was charged with a Class 1 felony faced 4-15 years in prison , for audio recording his own arrest! he Spent 2.5 years in the court system – defended by Mark Weinberg, on Civil Rights, and then Joshua Kutnick, for the Criminal Defense–and he won! vs State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez (“Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” documentary film, 2014)
and many others in Illinois, including Tiawanda Moore and Michael Allison were brought in on charges and had to challenge their arrests in courtThe media buzzed locally, social, national and international on his case and many others.
The law that was declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court in March 2014. Now fast forward, New Illinois Eavesdropping Law approved by majority in the House and Senate and signed into Law by outgoing Gov. Quinn Dec. 2014.
The ACLU of Illinois opposed the new statute
Unfortunately, compared to the last version of the Illinois eavesdropping statute, the new statute significantly expands the circumstances when police and informants may record and intercept private conversations and phone calls without all-party consent or a warrant. We know of no evidence that the prior version of the statute, which required police to seek judicial approval, was any impediment to law enforcement in these instances. We are concerned about the expanded number of cases where no judicial officer will provide a check on police. On this basis, the ACLU of Illinois opposed the new statute.
So in 2015 and we have the New Illinois Eavesdropping Law leaves many in the land of freedom..now in the land of uncertainty-especially in Chicago and Illinois.
Why is this law back? I have been trying to grasp this issue, and reading many articles, including the Law itself. I write this to bring awareness, and may you come to your own conclusions, So, how can the Original Illinois Eavesdropping Law, in March 2014, be thrown out as unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court and now be back ?
My overall perspective is that the new law has ambiguous language, making it easier to have options for confusion, leaning strongly on the side of police and courts for interpretation. You will need a good lawyer, for sure.
When you read this, it may just start you thinking too..Who is being protected? Why is Illinois only one of a few states that keeps a law like this?.
As always, more questions than answers.
YES you still can photograph/videotape/audiotape police in public…but there is text in the new law which makes you wonder– about the definitions of Public VS Private.
a few references- the interpretations vary:
Free Speech it is our constitutional right!
Bring on the bodycams for police? Evidence on both sides is important. Keep videotaping! evidence is important. as you know..
“It is never over when it comes to fighting for your rights” – Chris Drew, Street Artist
Citizens Recording Police – Once Again a Felony?
Current news on the “NEW” version of the Illinois Eavesdropping Law now sits at Gov. Quinn desk for either Veto or Signature. Just when we thought it was over..
Recall that Chris Drew, Street Artist, activist and community leader, was charged with the Class 1 Felony for Audio-recording his Own arrest in public, in front of Macy’s while selling art for a Dollar, in a challenge to the Peddler’s Ordinance, expectantly turned into a Challenge to the Ill. Eavesdropping Law, and he won! backed by pro bono attorneys, Weinberg and Kutnick, in the court of Judge Sacks in 2012. and in 2014 the Illinois Supreme Court overturned this law which restricts rights, ultimately to bring evidence in court of any police misconduct. Even Supt. McCarthy, Chicago, was in favor of this saying it protected police and citizens…for more of the background story on this:
In March the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously overturned that state’s draconian Eavesdropping Act, finding that it “criminalizes a wide range of innocent Conduct..
‘new’ The Illinois Eavesdropping Law? Who is being protected? read carefully:
Only a government that lives like cockroaches in the darkness would pass a law criminalizing the act of turning on the light. Illinois — In March of this year the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s…
According to IllinoisPolicy.org, the bill discourages people from recording conversations with police by making unlawfully recording a conversation with police – or an attorney general, assistant attorney general, state’s attorney, assistant state’s attorney or judge – a class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of two to four years in prison. Meanwhile, the bill makes illegal recording of a private citizen a class 4 felony, which carries a lower sentencing range of one to three years in prison.
Read more at
Watch this important issue as it unfolds in the days ahead…
as Chris would say, “you are always at the beginning when fighting for your right…it is never over..”
The Legacy of Chicago’s Own: Chris Drew, Street Artist. Artist, Advocate and Activist
…Upon hearing of his VICTORY over the Class 1 Felony Eavesdropping charges, after showing his passion, his determination to ensure and declare “Art IS Speech” , for his Challenges and mandate to abolishing the Peddler’s Ordinance (which he never got to challenge due to the most unexpected switch to felony upon arrest) to his withstanding the trials of grueling 2.5 years of court battle, (with probono Attorney Mark Weinberg, and probono Attorney Joshua Kutnick, his most strong archangels in defense) to his faith that the people, especially those who are most vulnerable against the dark forces, that all shall have 1st Amendment Rights, to Free Speech”
Chris Drew RIP (1950-2012) was heralded Patron Saint of Street Artists (first proclaimed by Kingdom, a street artist himself) and additionally, Defender of Free Speech!
and now the truth, the rest of the story, for all time, for history, as given to me, slowly revealed in many ways, and sometimes through dreams by all the powers that be, I now give you the film.
11.14.14 Friday. Chicago Premiere at the Logan Theatre. doors open 6:30 screens at 7:30 p
Recommended by the Chicago Reader
~Nancy Bechtol, artist, inspired educator, filmmaker
Chris Drew speaks on “?” of Peddling to Felony
I need to share with you this clip, it is very raw and intense. Deep. Chris Drew speaks on “? “of Peddling to Felony This video clip marks/reveals the beginning of the legal journey, shot shortly after he was released on bond and started to redirect his energies on the challenges ahead. date: Dec.29, 2009. He is carrying on the workshops and getting the word/truth out by blogging, going to events, and meeting with counsel, bracing for the court proceedings. Backed by first his probono Attorney Mark Weinberg, for the Constitutional Challenge/Peddling-Civil Rights, then for the Challenge of Felony Eavesdropping (4-15 yrs if convicted), criminal defense, probono Attorney Joshua Kutnick. This court proceeding went on for 2.5 years. He gave his life to the cause. He won. we all won. But Chris would say “the fight is never over when it comes to your rights.”
See/Hear the raw interview with Chris:
Chris would call me and ask that I record him throughout the journey. I told him I would so here it is. He wanted a record of it all, and towards the end, asked me to “tell the story” I agreed. I accumulated countless hours in 5 different formats, from cell phone to DSLR (in the latter part for a few interviews) now the 99 min film you now will see– It is his story, it is the story of Free Speech. this clip is when I talked with Chris at the beginning of the ordeal, as he was out on a $20,000 bail and facing the 1st Class Felony Eavesdropping Charges. He speaks on the reasons he believes his challenge to the City’s Peddling Ordinance were dropped, and the Felony was imposed. his charges were deeply involved with others faced for years under this same law. Filmed on location The American Indian Center, Chicago location of the nonprofit he founded, the Uptown Multi-Cultural Arts Center, where he helped bridge the digital divide and inspire and teach for 25 years.Chicago Premiere at the Logan Theatre ,” Free Speech and the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” by Nancy Bechtol. Featuring indie Music by Behind the Sun-Andy Alton & David Mansfield “Paper Airplane” courtesy of Hey Now Records – one night only – 11.14.14 Friday 7:30 PM
See/Hear the Nancy Bechtol interview by Dan O’Donnell – Logan Square TV
An important documentary about street artist Chris Drew, and his challenges and victory defending First Amendment rights for all citizens, especially Artists. Chicago premiere at The Logan Theatre on Friday, 7:30pm November 14. The film, Free Speech and the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist is a film by Nancy Bechtol. Literally thousands of people across Chicago know Chris Drew, because of his vibrant presence in Chicago’s art community.
Original Music featured in the film is courtesy of Hey Now Records. http://www.heynowrecords.com “Paper Airplane” by Behind the Sun` Andy Alton & David Mansfield.
Free Speech! Rights vs 1st Class Felony
Chris Drew and Supporters Speak: Echoes of Artist vs 1st Class Felony
Drew’s Rights upheld in ruling in court 2012, probono attorney, Joshua Kutnick, defended vs Ill State Attorney Alvarez. Judge Sacks declared, “wholly innocent conduct”
in 2014, March, the Illinois Eavesdropping Law was abolished by the Illinois Supreme Court.
see the legacy footage which was posted during Chris Drew’s Court Case, as he and supporters, on the streets of Chicago speak!
the lady said an important thing.”knowledge is power” that’s why they want to take your rights away. So you have no power and they can hide truth. FIGHT ON PEOPLE.. – anon-blog comment
This video clip shows Chris Drew and supporters on the streets giving away art from the “Art Patch Project” a community effort from UM-CAC, Uptown Multicultural Arts Center. posted on YouTube, during the court case of Chris Drew. 1.26.2010 TAKIN’ IT TO THE STREETS OF CHICAGO. Downtown Chris Drew and supporters bring the Felony eavesdropping charges to the public. The Channel 2 CBS news, responds with 5pm dynamic and supportive piece on the issues. The broadcast piece includes clips from this videographer’s youtube video on the arrest of Chris Drew.
Chicago Premiere at the Logan Theatre ,” Free Speech and the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” by Nancy Bechtol. Featuring indie Music by Behind the Sun-Andy Alton & David Mansfield “Paper Airplane” courtesy of Hey Now Records – one night only – 11.14.14 Friday 7:30 PM
See/Hear the Nancy Bechtol interview by Dan O’Donnell – Logan Square TV
An important documentary about street artist Chris Drew, and his felony trial for recording police, will premiere at The Logan Theatre on November 14.
“I would have to describe him as dynamic..I never experienced a person being so enthusiastic about their dream that the energy just flew off them!”
“We made a very good team” – Deborah Drew, the widow of Chris, speaks of their life together.
Interview and video by Nancy Bechtol, APA photojournalist. ©2012 Excerpt. Deborah Drew, widow of Chris Drew, from the Chris Drew Legacy Interviews in the series of 16 people sharing insights to the artist/activist and his life work. Chris’ journey went from a First Amendment Challenge (represented by Mark Weinberg, Civil Rights Attorney) to criminal charges of Class 1 Felony Eavesdropping (represented by Criminal Defense Attorney Josh Kutnick) which carried a possible 4-15 years in jail. The law was declared unconstitutional May 7, 2012 by Judge Sacks. Nancy Bechtol, who, on Chris’ request, documented his activism/art for over the years. Finally, in March 2014, the Illinois Eavesdropping Law was abolished by the Illinois Supreme Court.
See/Hear the Deborah Drew, Widow of Chris Drew’s Interview:
Link to the film trailer :
Much more information about Chris Drew and this film can be found on Nancy Bechtol’s website
1.14.14 Chicago Premiere info
Chris Drew Legacy:Interview :Dr. Barbara Iverson, Columbia College-School of Journalism, Assoc Professor, Chicago Talks, Journalist. Video by:Nancy Bechtol, APA photojournalist©2012 .This interview is part of the Chris Drew Legacy Interviews series # people sharing insights to the artist/activist and his life work. Barbara speaks about her connection with Chris and a larger circle of concerns including public rights, grassroots connections, the “art patches”, FCC, Free Speech, the Illinois Eavesdropping Law and the Constitution.
Two probono lawyers stepped up to defend Chris. First Mark Weinberg, Civil Rights Attorney, then Joshua Kutnick.
The Law was declared Unconstitutional in Chris’ case based on “wholly innocent conduct” March 2012 by Judge Sacks. Attorney Kutnick won vs IL State’s Attorney, Alvarez. Chris Drew RIP May 2012. The Illinois Supreme Court finally abolished the Law, March 2014. Now a feature documentary, “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist”. by Nancy Bechtol. 2014 release.
11.14.14 Chicago Premiere at Logan Theatre http://www.thelogantheatre.com/index.php/movies/coming-soon?view=showdetail&id=568 of indie doc “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” (99 min) film by Nancy Bechtol. Music by Behind the Sun. Andy Alton & David Mansfield. “Paper Airplane” Courtesy of Hey Now Records. www.heynowrecords.com
READY | Logan Tech Check Good 2 go! 11.14.14.
View of the Logan Theatre from Projection Booth (with Orlando, he is surrounded with films high above all and makes the magic happen) photos also shot in theatre 2- secretly known as the haunted theatre. The spirits welcomed the film! Tech Check good. “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artist” (99 min) film by Nancy Bechtol. Music by Behind the Sun- Andy Alton & David Mansfield-“Paper Airplane” courtesy of Hey Now Records. http://www.heynowrecords.com. It was amazing to see the film- shot in 5 formats from DSLR to Cell and whatever I had at the time) that took 5 years (plus clips from 10 yrs ago of peace marches in 2002 and on the streets, including Occupy 2011 and the Critical Mass tribute ride for Chris 2012) In gratitude for being able to tell the story, finally. hope you can see this one. very Chicago with the deep commitment of a determined spirit, Chris Drew. Yes, the Spirits of Theatre 2 welcomed him. smile.