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Crime

Inmate suspected of threatening gay clubs is accidentally released from jail

Bea Mitchell May 3, 2018

A man suspected of threatening gay bars with violence has been accidentally released from jail in Chicago.

According to Chicago Police sheriff’s spokeswoman Cara Smith, 31-year-old Shane Sleeper was released from Cook County Jail on Tuesday night, reports the Chicago Tribune.

He was facing state terrorism, hate crime and felony harassment charges after apparently threatening gay bars with violence in the Lakeview area of Chicago.

Police said Sleeper told one of his victims in Chicago something along the lines of, “Orlando will come to Chicago,” referencing the Pulse gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead in 2016.

Smith said Sleeper had been in custody since February, and was being held on a “handful” of misdemeanour charges that were allegedly upgraded to felonies by the state’s attorney’s office – who did not notify the sheriff’s office.

Chicago Pride (KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty)

“Preliminarily, it appears that the only cases he was being held on were dismissed and the sheriff’s office was never notified of any additional charges that were brought,” Smith said.

“We were never notified. Our phones are on 24 hours a day,” she added. “We complied with the only court order we received.”

Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokesman Robert Foley said the sheriff’s office is responsible for custody of defendants.

Foley said in a statement: “Mr Sleeper was in custody when the sheriff’s office brought him to court yesterday. He was arraigned in a felony trial court room where he was assigned a no bail status and left in the custody of the sheriff’s office.”

Sleeper was arraigned on multiple felony charges during the hearing on Tuesday before Cook County Judge Matthew Coghlan.

Foley said the charges include falsely making a terrorist threat, hate crime, harassment through electronic communications, criminal trespassing, stalking, assault, false personation of a police officer and telephone harassment.

Revellers celebrate the 48th annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade in Chicago
Chicago Pride (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty)

Police are actively searching for Sleeper. Anyone with any information should call 911 or Chicago police.

Last year, an estimated one million people gathered in Chicago for the 48th annual Pride celebration. City officials confirmed the huge outcome for the event which took place on June 25, 2017.

Orange is the New Black’s Lea DeLaria was the Grand Marshal for the parade which made its way through a number of neighbourhoods on the day.

Speaking at the event, DeLaria said she was overjoyed that she could celebrate Pride in her home state.

More: Chicago police, Shane Sleeper, US

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