Chicago, gun violence and 'another black person tossed away'

This morning, we rolled out a few more pieces to our latest investigation, which exposes the just how wide spread adult prosecution of juveniles is here in Cook County. Among the vignettes is Isaac Mobley's story.

I randomly plucked Isaac's case from a stack of 3,386 court files. I wanted to take a closer look at the violent crimes these young people have been convicted of. He fit the profile. But as I flipped through the court documents, I was struck by how this 16-year-old's case was hardly black and white.

By most accounts, Isaac was a kid on the right path. His grades were good. His teachers gave him a model-citizen award. His biggest problem was that he had to cross too many gang lines to get to school. After getting jumped getting off the bus one morning, Isaac decided to transfer out of Hyde Park High--giving up his spot on the football team--simply out of fear. Despite being a good student, he landed in an alternative school. And he got himself a gun for protection. The latter earned him an adult felony conviction, which Cook County Circuit
Court Judge Vincent Gaughan handed down with a one-year sentence and a tinge of regret. We explained:

It's unclear how long Mobley had the gun before school officials found it in his locker on Feb. 15, 2008.

Police charged him with unlawful use of a weapon on school
grounds [...]

"I know the streets are dangerous," Gaughan added. "You have to
get that through your head, no matter how dangerous it is out there. ...
You are going to be able to adapt without having the weapons.
Otherwise, you are going to keep getting hurt."

After serving two months, Isaac was released. He moved back in with his mom and re-enrolled in
school. But five months later, he was inexplicably gunned down while walking to a
birthday party.

Police chalked up his death, his mother Patricia Wilson told us, to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. In an effort to find closure, she petitioned the state to acknowledge that Isaac was a victim. It was rejected. And that continues to eat away at her.

"He wasn't just a child who was abandoned on the street," Wilson told us from her Altgeld Gardens apartment last month. "You feel like he was just another black person tossed away."

Check out this excerpt from our conversation. 

Be sure to check out our full investigation here.

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