Cook County Jail

Did a Paperwork Failure Allow a Suspect to Walk Free?

Kenneth Ray was arrested for a violent attack on a CTA platform in August

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Chicago police were scrambling Wednesday to find an aggravated battery suspect who was already in custody, but released because his charging information apparently was never entered into the system.

Kenneth Ray, 33, was charged with two counts of felony aggravated battery in connection with an attack on a man at the CTA's Argyle stop on August 15. In a release last month classifying the case as a potential hate crime, prior to the arrest, the FBI said that when the victim, an Asian man, asked why he was being attacked, the suspect used an ethnic slur and said he deserved the assault.

Ray was arrested last week inside Cook County Jail, where he was already being held on a variety of prior charges. He had been slated for a bond hearing on the new arrest on Friday. But that morning, after appearing in court by Zoom for one of his prior cases, the judge sentenced him to time served. Jail officials say they had nothing further to hold him on, and he was ordered released.

Problem was, he faced two new felony counts. So who dropped the ball?

No one will say. A spokesman for Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx insisted that their office approved the new felony charges against Ray. And police noted that when they arrested him, he was already locked up.

The only thing that is certain is that the charging documents finally found their way into the clerk's system on Wednesday - five days after he should have been in court.

One other document was filed: a warrant for Ray's arrest. That means even though Chicago police found him once, already in custody, they now have to find him all over again.

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