NATO 3 on trial: ‘Ready to see a cop on fire?’
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter January 23, 2014 2:34PM
Brent Vincent Betterly (left), Jared Chase and Brian Church | Chicago Police photos
Updated: February 25, 2014 6:28AM
A Chicago Police officer whose sole undercover assignment led to the arrests of the three out-of-town activists now known as the NATO 3 denied Thursday that she and her partner got the men drunk or pushed them to make Molotov cocktails before the international summit.
“We don’t instigate at all,” Nadia Chikko said, insisting that when she yelled, “riot” in the presence of the trio, she was actually quoting a “catchy” song.
Chikko, who took the stand in the men’s terrorism trial for the third straight day, also maintained that she was “going with the flow” when she blurted, “Should we make it? Let’s do it,” before the four firebombs were created out of beer bottles on May 16, 2012.
During cross examination, defense attorney Michael Deutsch said his client Brian Church and Church’s friends weren’t even thinking about the explosives until Chikko’s partner, who was also working undercover, brought it up while dismissing the “mortar” the group allegedly built for the NATO protests.
“Dude, we got the Molotovs. That’s not wack,” the officer nicknamed “Mo” was heard saying in recordings played in Cook County Judge Thaddeus Wilson’s courtroom.
Church, 22, Jared Chase, 29, and Brent Betterly, 25, could be heard mimicking bomb blasts on the recordings, but at times, they sounded confused about what to do with the Molotov cocktails and more keen on the fizzing made by mixing Lemonheads with beer.
Church allegedly asked Chikko if she was “ready to see a cop on fire,” but he also mentioned targeting a bank near the Bridgeport apartment where he stayed with the others.
At one point, Church sounded like he didn’t want to do anything at all.
“I’m too f------ cold to go anywhere. I just want to wrap myself in a blanket and go to sleep,” he said.
While Church said he came to Chicago to “do more” than protest, he is later heard saying that he doesn’t “believe in preemptive strikes or property damage” unless he’s threatened. “I’ll be peaceful until [police] start hurting someone,” he said.
Chase also said, “We’re peaceful,” prompting Betterly to reply, “Peaceful protesters.”
But Chikko told Assistant State’s Attorney Jack Blakey that all three men had “sarcastic expressions” on their faces when they characterized themselves as nonviolent.
After the Molotov cocktails were completed, Church allegedly said, “It’s ready to go, huh, huh,” sounding like the characters in the cartoon “Beavis and Butt-Head.”
As she was being grilled by Deutsch, Chikko said weeks before she met the NATO 3, police were asked to scout Permanent Records, Division Street and the Heartland Cafe to look for “anarchists and criminal activity.”
Chikko said she never received special training for her undercover NATO work and couldn’t do any more covert activities after activists revealed her identity.
“After the case, my face was compromised. . . . My picture was put all over the Internet,” she said.