Former mayoral candidate guilty of assault

Posted Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Jurors heard two radically different stories over the four-day trial on whether Christopher Lee Bollyn assaulted Hoffman Estates police officers last year.

The jurors said they saw holes in Bollyn's account of police brutality. Tuesday, they found the 50-year-old former Hoffman Estates mayoral candidate guilty of resisting arrest and aggravated assault.

He faces up to a year in prison and is to appear before Judge Hyman Riebman for sentencing June 25.

"I can't talk about it right now," a despondent Bollyn said minutes after the verdict.

Police arrested Bollyn Aug. 15 after Officer Michael Barber used a Taser to stun him. Three officers pushed Bollyn to the grass in front of his Kingman Lane home after prosecutors said Bollyn yelled to them that he was going inside to "get the militia to take them down."

Christopher Lee Bollyn
Bollyn said police broke his elbow. Prosecutors denied the extent of his injury and said he threatened police - who wanted to end the incident before it escalated - and that he ignored their commands.

"He wasn't talking in a calm, civil tone," prosecutor Stacy Cossette said.

The bizarre incident began when an unmarked police car cruised by Bollyn's home. He called 911 and said the car was suspicious. The car returned, and three officers got out to explain to Bollyn they meant no harm. Instead, a wrestling match ensued.

Police later said they were patrolling because of possible nearby drug activity.

Bollyn's attorney, Paul Moreschi, said the officers couldn't have been terrified of his client, who was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and whose 8-year-old was running around outside. The officers used the incident as an excuse to let off some steam and use excessive force, Moreschi asserted.

Bollyn, a self-described journalist, has written several articles posted online, including a series calling the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks a plot involving Israeli agents. He said the mainstream media have ignored facts and covered up a conspiracy.

After the verdict, friends and family said Bollyn had been targeted by police because of his political views. Prosecutor James Pontrelli dismissed that as "ridiculous." Pontrelli said Bollyn was looking for a confrontation with authority figures.

"It didn't matter if it was the FBI or Homeland Security," Pontrelli said.

Bollyn's wife of 12 years, Helje Kaskel, witnessed the incident and called police liars. She remained shocked after the verdict.

"This is not the end," she said.

Earlier Tuesday, Bollyn reflected on his time in the village, including his failed mayoral bid in 2000. He brought up the 1973 scandal, which saw some village officials go to prison after taking bribes from developers.

"Corruption isn't anything new to the village," he said.

Pontrelli also said Bollyn had two theft convictions in 1981 out of California, as well as an assault charge. Pontrelli sought to have Bollyn's bond revoked, but that was denied.

Hoffman Estates Police Chief Clinton Herdegen testified Monday and was again in court Tuesday as a spectator. He had no comment.

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