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Jail incident ‘totally avoidable’

April 11, 2019 GMT

KANKAKEE — The Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office this week explained how it mistakenly released a federal inmate earlier this year.

On Jan. 18, the county jail released 41-year-old Anees Ahmed Usmani from the jail in place of another inmate.

In an interview Monday, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ken McCabe said Usmani had the same last name as the inmate who was supposed to have been released. They also were believed to have been related.

“This was totally avoidable. They had different dates of birth and different first names. If the checks and balances were followed in this case, it wouldn’t have happened,” McCabe said. “We book in and book out thousands of inmates every year. Occasionally, we’ll mess up. We’re human. We all share in the blame, including me.”

Throughout the years, he said, the jail’s policies have been perfected to help prevent accidental releases. He said Usmani found “weaknesses in the system and played them.”

When the sheriff’s office discovered its error, it put out a news release with Usmani’s mugshot to enlist the public’s help in finding him.

A day later, Usmani was captured without incident by deputy U.S. marshals and FBI agents in the Lincolnwood neighborhood, north of Chicago. He was found with a gun, McCabe said.

Usmani had no history of weapons offenses, the sheriff’s office said in a news release in January.

Usmani had been held in Kankakee for the U.S. Marshals Service since December on federal drug-related offenses.

The Marshals Service has a bed rental agreement with Kankakee County, as does Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Those contracts bring up to $1 million per month — a major source of money for the county.