The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

CeaseFire Director, Ex-State Rep Vouched For No-Snitch Enforcer In Letters To Court

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 19, 2013 1:30PM

Rashod "Fat Man" Bethany (Chicago Police Department)
Rashod “Fat Man” Bethany, the leader of a group of drug dealers on the Far South Side that brutally enforced a “no snitching” code that kept witnesses from talking to police, had letters written on his behalf vouching for his character from CeaseFire director Tio Hardiman and former state Rep. Cory Pugh after his 2006 arrest on drug charges.

Bethany, who pleaded guilty and faces up to 30 years in prison, was born into a gang family that taught him how to bag marijuana at age 7 and bag cocaine by 11. At the age of 10 he was attending gang meetings and was shot in the back at 13. By the time Bethany was 21 he was in charge of a group known as the “Killing Crew” that ran two crack dens on the Far South Side — one of them owned by a Cook County juvenile probation officer — and would regularly use violence to keep witnesses to their crimes, customers and even some of his best dealers in line. Prosecutors said Bethany’s reputation was so large that it took six years to build a case against him.

The letters written by Hardiman and Pugh in 2008 told a different story. Hardiman called Bethany an “affable young man,” while Pugh said he had “untapped potential.” Contacted by the Sun-Times, Hardiman said he wrote the letter, which wasn’t on CeaseFire stationary, as a favor to Bethany’s father, and that “I only told the truth about Rashod during the little time he was around me.”

Possibly the most damaging testimony at Monday’s sentencing hearing came from Mercedes Garner, a former customer of Bethany’s who witnessed the Killing Crew get into a gunfight with a rival gang in 2004 and was later shot in the face by one of Bethany’s foot soldiers to keep her from talking to police.

The sentencing hearing continues Wednesday. Bethany is also tied to five murders and could be charged with them once authorities build a case against him.