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Police: Cameras Failed In Lockup Where 2 Committed Suicide

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A street surveillance camera seen on top of a light pole along a Chicago street (Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

A street surveillance camera seen on top of a light pole along a Chicago street (Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is acknowledging there were “issues” with the cameras inside the Calumet District police lockup on the city’s Far South Side, where two inmates hanged themselves within four days.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, the first suicide happened early last Thursday morning. The second followed early Sunday morning.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

Both were hangings, in different cells in the lockup at the police station, at 727 E. 111th St.

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating. IPRA Deputy Chief Carlos Weeden says the security camera inside the lockup recorded no video.

“I don’t know if it was broken or wasn’t turned on, but there’s no video that was recorded from the cameras,” Weeden said.

McCarthy says police are also investigating.

The purpose, McCarthy says, is “to ensure that a) the folks who are accountable for ensuring the safety of the prisoners are in fact complying with the policies in place, and b) whether or not our policies are adequate right now.”

McCarthy acknowledged that the cameras in the lockup recorded no video.

“I don’t know the specifics of that,” he said. “I have to follow-up on it, but I did hear that there was an issue, through IPRA, with the cameras at the location.”

He happened to be speaking at a news conference where officials were touting the new security cameras on the Chicago Transit Authority ‘L’ system.

The first suicide victim at the lockup was Develt Bradford, 52, who had been charged with murder in the Nov. 10 robbery and shooting at the Aldi store at 9001 S. Halsted St. The shooting killed security guard Reginald Lanier, 54, and injured a 67-year-old woman.

Jail staff said Bradford committed suicide by hanging himself with his pajamas.

Another suspect, Michael E. Smith, 30, has also been charged in connection with the incident.

The second suicide victim was Melvin C. Woods Jr. 62, who had been arrested on charges of aggravated assault.

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