Father of Jailed Shorewood Teen Mad at Cops For Rough House Taser Take Down
The father of Shorewood teen Jacob Gajcak says if the police wanted to come in to arrest his son, he would have opened the door for them.
Jim Gajcak has no idea what went down the day his son allegedly tried to rip off a man looking to buy pot, then ran his car over a young woman's arm during the ensuing scuffle. But he says the Shorewood police were way out of bounds when they forced their way into his house without a warrant and shot his son with a Taser.
"It was definitely excessive force," Gajcak said of the Shorewood police busting into his house to take his son, Jacob Gajcak, into custody.
Jacob Gajcak was arrested at his home Saturday on charges of robbery, aggravated battery and resisting arrest. When he went to court two days later, the charges were dropped to misdemeanor theft and battery.
Charles B. Pelkie, the spokesman for the Will County State's Attorney's Office, said prosecutors are still reviewing the matter and might boost it back up to a felony case.
Jim Gajcak has no opinion of whether his son robbed or ran anyone over.
"If he did it, fine," Gajcak said, adding, "If they wanted him, he was coming in the house, I would have let them in."
Jim Gajcak makes no secret of his son's troubles with the law, saying, "The cops have been over our house numerous times." He also told of helping the police track down his in the past when they were looking for him, and that he turned the teen's car over to them to search without even seeing a warrant.
But this most recent arrest of his son, he said, is not only illegal but also endangered his 16-year-old daughter, who was near her brother when an officer shocked him with a Taser. Jim Gajcak also was not happy with a cop pulling a gun on him in his own house.
On the night of the arrest, Jim Gajcak said his son and a teenage friend were sitting together in the home's attached garage when Shorewood Police Officer Daniel Dougherty showed up about 8 o'clock.
In his police report, Dougherty said Jacob Gajcak was sitting on a lawn chair "outside the open garage."
Dougherty wrote in his report that he "told Jacob he needed to come with me to the Shorewood Police Department in order to be questioned about the robbery. Jacob quickly shouted, 'I'm not going anywhere,'" and made a run for it.
Dougherty said he chased Jacob Gajcak and grappled with him in the garage, but the teen got away, ducked into the house and let out a "scream" for his father.
Dougherty then fired his Taser at Jacob Gajcak, hitting him in the back and on a fingertip.
Jim Gajcak said the electric probes narrowly missed his 16-year-old daughter, who was watching television from a living room couch when the cop and her brother appeared.
Jim Gajcak said he came up from the basement to see what was going on and found his 130-pound son "flopping around on the floor like a fish" with two cops kneeling on top of him.
Then one of the officers pushed his daughter, Jim Gajcak said, and "as I turn around he's got his gun unholstered" and was ordering him to back away.
None of Jim Gajcak's claims differ greatly from Dougherty's account of the arrest, which Police Chief Robert Puleo called "good police work."
"You see him, you know there's felony charges against him, he runs in the house, it's called 'hot pursuit,'" Puleo said of the procedure his officers followed.
The officers had headed to the Gajcaks' home with the express purpose of arresting Jacob Gajcak, even though they had not obtained a warrant for his arrest in connection with the alleged robbery of five days prior.
Following the May 30 incident, officers conducted a photo lineup that included a picture of Jacob Gajcak. Both the young man Jacob Gajcak allegedly attempted to rob and the young woman whose arm he supposedly ran over picked the picture of somebody else.
Jacob Gajcak is at least the second man the Shorewood police have fired Tasers within an 18-day period. They failed to stun the other man, Steven Velazquez, 40, of Joliet, but did inadvertently Tase two of their own officers.