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No explanation on mistaken inmate release

January 31, 2019

KANKAKEE — When Kankakee County mistakenly released a federal inmate earlier this month, it had little choice but to get the word out because officials wanted to recapture the man.

And they did so in a day.

But the mystery remains how the accidental release happened in the first place.

When Kankakee County sheriff’s officials did not return messages about the issue, the Daily Journal submitted an open records request for any reports or documents related to the release of Anees Ahmed Usmani, of Chicago.

It also sought any memos or other correspondence with employees about policies on inmate releases after the mistake happened.

In a response Tuesday, the sheriff’s office denied the newspaper’s request.

“I must respectfully deny your request at this time due to the fact that there is an ongoing investigation into this matter and by releasing it to you, it would interfere with the pending contemplated law enforcement proceeding,” sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ken McCabe said in a letter. “The information you requested will be made available to you at the completion of our investigation.”

McCabe cited exceptions to the state Freedom of Information Act in denying the request.

At 4:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Usmani was inadvertently released from Jerome Combs Detention Center in the place of another inmate.

According to the sheriff’s office, Usmani was dropped off at a local business after receiving a ride from another inmate who was released at the same time.

It’s unclear how long it took before the jail realized Usmani was missing.

The sheriff’s office put out a news release with Usmani’s mugshot to enlist the public’s help in finding him.

At 4:45 p.m. Jan. 19, Usmani was apprehended without incident by deputy U.S. marshals and FBI agents in the Lincolnwood neighborhood, north of Chicago.

Usmani has no history of weapons offenses, the sheriff’s office said.

Usmani was being held in Kankakee for the U.S. Marshals Service since December 2018 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.

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