After calling 911 to report a suspicious vehicle with three armed men in my neighborhood, I was harassed, beaten and shocked with a Taser gun in my front yard in Hoffman Estates, Ill., in front of my wife and child. I was subsequently charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault. I was then subjected to six hours of abuse at the hands of the local police.
I suspect that this operation was not accidental and was not an initiative of the local police. The questions remains whether I have been targeted as part of an ADL-FBI operation because of my journalistic investigations. Over the years, I have investigated the many unanswered questions surrounding 9-11. Having received several threats in my career with AFP and the now defunct <>Spotlight<> newspaper, this is the first time I have been beaten and abused by authorities.
Last summer, we discovered that two local people, who had befriended us for years, are actually FBI informants tasked to monitor us. For this reason, we feel vulnerable and are reluctant to spend time at our home. We returned this summer primarily because our children badly missed our home, a simple suburban tract home that has belonged to the Bollyn family since 1957.
Since returning to the area in July, I have noticed an unusual amount of police activity around my house, which lies on a quiet side street where one normally sees a police cruiser once or twice a week.
On Aug. 14, I noticed an unusual vehicle around my house. It was an unmarked car with three armed men wearing body armor.
The next evening, the same car with three men slowly passed the Bollyn house where the neighborhood kids were playing.
“Hello, FBI,” I called from my porch and waved.
The man in the front passenger seat waved back. I immediately alerted my wife and kids about the suspicious vehicle. My wife suggested asking them what they want.
I had just finished making several phone calls to the Israeli embassy, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the office of the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Most of the calls were related to 9-11 research. One call was to an older Israeli, who is connected to the Israeli Air Force and is a former president of Bedek, the parent company of Israel Aircraft Industries.
I was troubled about the presence of the dark car as I went to the store. Concerned about my family, I called 911 from the store to report the suspicious car with armed men loitering in my neighborhood. I was told that a police officer would meet me at my house in 20 minutes.
A few minutes, I was surprised to see the suspicious car stopped in front of my house, and three armed men in body armor standing on my driveway.
With my wife and 8-year old daughter beside me, I asked who these men were and why they were prowling around my house. “Why are you driving around with this gear in an unmarked car menacing my house,” I asked? “Who are you?”
The non-uniformed agents were unwilling to identify themselves and became confrontational.
I went to call my brother from the house when the three men tackled me from behind and shocked me with a Taser gun while they sat on top of me. After forcefully subduing me, one officer kneeled on my head while the others handcuffed me.
Within minutes, a half dozen police cars, two fire trucks and at least 15 police officers, including a senior officer, arrived at my residence.
While I was being held down, my wife went to get a camera. An officer told her that she would be arrested if she dared to take any photos. According to a local lawyer consulted on this matter, I have been told it is against the law to prevent someone from photographing a police assault.
Having witnessed her father being violently arrested, my 8-year old daughter was distraught and crying. The police told my wife to take her away.
My wife consoled our daughter, but since the Bollyn children have seen much of the world, and witnessed major political events, she allowed our daughter to watch it, saying, “This is our new America.”
In an insulting manner, the police told my wife, a Swedish citizen, to “go back where you came from.”
Because the neighborhood does not have any crime or gang problems, I thought it was very odd for the undercover squad to be patrolling around my house day after day.
Sitting in the unmarked car with handcuffs on, an officer named Fitzgerald indulged in offending me and my late mother, a village pioneer. Fitzgerald repeatedly told me that I was going to be beaten.
“This guy was going to beat the [expletive] out of you,” he said when a senior officer approached the car. When I spoke to the other officer, Fitzgerald lied, saying, “I didn’t say that.”
The verbal abuse continued during the drive to the station. When I would lean forward, the officer would slam on the brakes so my head hit the plexiglass separation window. After doing this several times, I pushed myself back on the seat and didn’t say another word.
Once I reached the police station, however, my ordeal was far from over. At the station, a host of rubber-gloved cops awaited me in the police garage.
When Fitzgerald drove in to the garage, he told the 10-12 waiting cops: “He says cops are a bunch of [expletive]. You take care of him now.”
When I was pulled from the car, I told the police that I am a journalist and that I would write about the arrest. The verbal abuse now came from all sides. As the son of village pioneers, I was told that I should get out of town.
In the station, my shirt was ripped off, and I was left wearing only shorts and an undershirt. Asked why I was being detained, an officer said I had resisted arrest and threatened the police with clenched fists—two complete lies.
When I was thrown into a cell without water, I asked the undercover police why they were prowling around my house. “We are watching you,” Fitzgerald, said.
Thirsty, I asked for some water and was told, “Drink from the toilet.”
A police officer came to tell me that because I had been shocked with a Taser gun, paramedics had been called. However, no paramedics ever came to see me.
“Why am I being treated this way?” I wondered.
At midnight, an officer told me that I had to pay $100 to get out. “What am I being charged with?” I asked. “I called 911 and the police beat me up in my front yard for no reason.”
Eventually, my brother paid bail and shortly after midnight, I was pushed out onto the street for the long walk home.
On Aug. 16, AFP managing editor Christopher J. Petherick spoke with Lt. Richard Russo, who was acting as press spokesman for the Hoffman Estates Police Department while a superior officer was on vacation.
Russo faxed American Free Press a copy of the “Media Information Release Form,” which provided the police’s version of my arrest.
“Lt. Russo told me on the phone that undercover officers were engaged in something called ‘gang suppression’ in Mr. Bollyn’s neighborhood,” said Petherick.
Petherick said he pointedly asked Russo how this could have escalated to the point that police officers threw me to the ground and shot me with a Taser.
“Russo told me that the arresting officer had ‘physically’ stopped Bollyn and Tasered him because he said that Bollyn had made statements indicating that he was going to go inside the house and get a weapon,” said Petherick.
However, when Petherick received the press release, the charge that I was going into the house to get a weapon had been downplayed, instead noting that officers felt I “may be trying to get a weapon.”
“Keep in mind that Christopher, who was unarmed and has no criminal record, was the person who called the police in the first place,” said Petherick.
“There are really two key scenarios at play here,” remarked Petherick. “At a minimum, this was a brutal demonstration of the violent militarization of U.S. law enforcement. But at its worst, this was a deliberate attempt to intimidate and harass an American reporter, who has been writing about some of the most controversial issues, today.”
In the afternoon, Chief Clint Herdegen phoned Bollyn and said he was not ready to answer any questions. A court hearing is scheduled for me on Sept. 13.