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A future Chicago alderman was far more involved than he’s publicly claimed in an armed robbery that landed him in prison, according to a never-before-released police report obtained by RebelPundit.

Walter Burnett, Jr., is currently alderman of the 27th Ward in Chicago, but in 1981 he was a seventeen-year-old teenager who was arrested for his role in an armed bank robbery. He was sentenced to six years in prison and released after serving two years and three months in prison.

According to a never-before-seen police report, Burnett’s role was far more involved.

Burnett entered the Momence Federal Savings and Loan Bank with two other individuals, whose names were blacked out in a copy Rebel Pundit acquired, and one of the men was carrying a semi-automatic pistol.

“Cash money was removed from several of the teller drawers while the man with the gun poked it to the side of a female employee.”

According to the police report, the three men left the bank and proceeded to a liquor store where their crime spree continued. “At the liquor store, they abandoned the car, kidnapped a patron of the liquor store, stole his car, and left with the owner held at gun point.”

Robbery – W.B. – Police Reports – Part 1 -12222014_Redacted

Burnett was first elected alderman in 1995 and has been re-elected ever since. The crime has been attached to his narrative, often portrayed as a story of redemption as Burnett has been portrayed as turning his life around after prison.

Burnett’s office was emailed a copy of the police report but didn’t respond with a comment.

It was provided the most coverage in a 2012 profile in the Chicago Reader by Mick Dumke, albeit with a far more sanitized version.

At the behest of the coworker and one of his friends, Burnett drove to Kankakee, where the coworker asked him to stop at a bank so he could cash a check. Instead he robbed the place. Wielding a gun, he hurried out with $3,000 and ordered Burnett to drive away. A few minutes later the coworker and his friend told Burnett to pull over. They carjacked another vehicle. Burnett dove into the backseat.

The police caught up with them within minutes.

“Next thing I know, I find myself running from bullets, being chased and apprehended by police. I’m crying. I said, ‘My parents are going to be disappointed. I messed up my life.’ The police officer said, ‘It’s going to be all right.’ Lo and behold, later in life, when I went to get a pardon, that police officer wrote a letter and told the governor that he knew I was a good kid even at the time when we got in trouble.”

Burnett pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to six years in prison. He put his energy into going back to school. By the time he was paroled after two years and three months, he had an associate’s degree in political science and a certificate in drafting.

Dumke, a writer and editor for the Chicago Reader, declined to comment when reached by email.

The details of this incident are not merely academic, and the truth is very relevant to Burnett’s ongoing aldermanic tenure.

While Burnett initially won the seat in 1995, he was nearly not allowed back on the ballot in 1999 because of a state law which disqualifies convicted felons.

In late 1998, he successfully applied for and received a pardon from the Illinois Governor Republican Jim Edgar.

Edgar, who is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, didn’t respond to an email for comment.

“I’ve seen this kind of horse trading my entire life,” said Wallace Davis, a former alderman who himself was convicted of bribery charges and lost to Burnett in 1995. “I can’t believe (Jim) Edgar saw the entire file (before making his decision to pardon).”

The Illinois Prison Review Board did make a recommendation on Burnett’s pardon however, according to IPRB spokesperson Tom Tuty, it is standard IPRB policy not to reveal any decisions in such cases.

He said he remembers Burnett’s hearing being an open public hearing however Rebel Pundit has found no media record of what transpired at that hearing.

Burnett has faced criticism recently after a marijuana license in his ward was approved for Perry Mandera despite overwhelming neighborhood opposition.

The Sun Times ran a report in December 2014 that exposed politically connected parking lot owners operating for as much as twenty years without paying rent or property taxes, including a company in Burnett’s ward.

A 2012 feature by this author recounted a story of Tony Demasi, who once owned the trendy night club Reserve, in which Demasi recalled being strong armed by Burnett into using a valet company affiliated with Burnett.

“He is the valet guy all the businesses use in MY ward.” Demasi recalled Burnett saying, according to that piece.

Demasi pled guilty to multiple counts of fraud in relation to a hedge fund he started going belly up. He’s since been released from prison and lives in Michigan; he stood by the story but declined further comment.

“Alderman Burnett has not changed his ways from his former bank robbing days.  The only thing he has changed is his weapon – a gun for a council seat,” said Gabe Beukinga, his opponent in the upcoming aldermanic election.

21 Responses

  1. Jim Allen

    Burnett is scum who been misrepresenting poorfolk for over a decade. He needs to go play in traffic. My support goes to Gabe

    Reply
    • Frank Caouto

      I am interestd to hear what Gabe has done for the 27th Ward since he came to the area. Has he provided any support to the community that needs to be known? I would like to compare each person on their accomplishments to cast an opinion.

      Reply
      • BobWest29

        I am not surprised by this article. What I am surprised about is that the Feds haven’t picked up Burnett yet for extortion. I would be willing to bet Burnett hasn’t seen his last stint in the slammer yet.

  2. Normal Day

    This story reminds me of another story written by Mike where a CT Family Court Judge – Elizabeth A Bozzuto – Lesbo Nanny Boinker, where she hid her sexual deviant life style from the divorce constituents of CT for 15 years, her request said her privacy was more important than the public’s right to know she is a sexual deviant – http://rebelpundit.com/connecticut-judge-seals-own-divorce-records-while-ruling-in-other-family-court-cases/ …… is the story Mike wrote … Apparently the past indiscretions of public and civic leaders should be hidden from public view?? My opinion is these people have no business holding public office and deserve to be serving fry’s at BurgerKing ! They are not fit to serve the public – apparently if you can pay off a few folks there is no problem with being a sex freak or a armed robbery felon ?

    Reply
  3. Tim Jones

    Gabe’s comment at the end is right on. Burnett is still a scumball and has never changed since his bank robbing days. He tried to shake me down on my business and I know over 10 other ones as well. I do not know anything about this new guy, Gabe, however I gty he will be 100x better than that felon Burnett.

    Reply
  4. Stepanie Gomez

    I am not the least surprised at this story. I moved out of near north 2 years ago after my neighbors and I called repeatedly about crime in the area and neither Alderman Burnett nor his staff showed any concern. Alderman Burnett’s mother works at his office as well and shows very little concern or respect to people and their concerns. I’m so glad I no longer have to deal with this idiot. How is he even legally allowed to be an alderman after this gruesome crime? This is exactly why Chicago is plagued with corruption and is bankrupt.

    Reply
  5. Courtney

    Alderman Burnett is also a pervert. Him and his mentor, Jesse White are. Yuck! I hope Alderman Burnett loses and then moves out of Chicago.

    Reply
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