Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Ronald Evans
Reporting crime in the Herald and Review explains the impact of society within the community of Decatur, Illinois.
Today me, Brynna Sentel, and Reporter, Huey Freeman took a trip to the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Macon County, Illinois. Learning how to classify between misdemeanors and felonies among the convicted prisoners in Macon County gave us an experience we’ll never forget.
The people of the state of Illinois plaintiff -vs.- Drake O. Reed, he was charged with possession of suspected cannabis, which weighed 77.6 g, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and battery. His bond was posted in the courtroom of $15,000. DPD arrested Reed because of the way he carried his pink/black Nike bag.
On the scene of the crime-taking place, Reed and Stephen Brown were arguing and accordingly, Reed assaulted Brown by punching him in the mouth with his right hand.
Police came and talked to Brown and closely observed Reed walk along the west side of the residence they were at. They advised that he had a bag and they didn’t know that Reed dispatched his bag in the “woods”. Reed told the officers they could search his bag.
Inside of the bag contained a KEL-TEC .380 auto handgun and 77.6 g of suspected cannabis and a digital scale. DPD officers also located $784.30 in misc. USC inside the bag Reed was in possession with. Homeowner, Jeff Ludwick arrived to the scene of the crime and stated to police that he had no knowledge of Reed being at his residence and having no permission to possess a firearm at his residence too.
“I’m glad we have the court system and it exists to help the communities by stopping the bad people in our environment. Making our world a better place to live in,” she said explaining her experience after we all left the courthouse.
Reporter, Huey Freeman is a man who devotes his career as a journalist into crime. Not only that it’s what he loves to write about, but also he is highly respected among his community.
“I interviewed a man of the orchestra in Decatur and it didn’t have nothing to do with crime. I meet a lot of people outside of what I do and it’s good to know I am respected among the city of Decatur”, he said.
Brynna Sentel and I are young interns at the Herald and Review for only two days, we manage to observe the skills the reporters and photographers possess there. Learning about how they develop a good news story, how to proper report at press conferences, interviewing important people such as judges and city councilmen, it was a great experience to acquire for the use of our young journalistic career ahead of us.
As an observer for this case, reading the official document about this case surprised me because of the details were so specific and I believe they only arrested Reed for the way he carried his book bag. There was no warrant for his arrest either.
What I normally would see on television did not appear in reality, as it was my first time in the courthouse dealing with a crime case. In the television shows I would watch, they would be very brief about the suspect’s background and witnessing an actual case, the documents explained everything from start to finish.