COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE – If you happened to see a man with a gun at Daley Plaza on Thursday, he meant you no harm, his lawyer said.
When Chicago security officers at Daley Plaza stopped Ahmed Chergui for wearing a bulletproof vest and packing semi-automatic handgun, he was only wanted to serve and protect, Chergui's attorney said.
Chergui, a resident of Morocco, was arrested outside the Daley Center at 50 W. Washington Street on Thursday evening
Police found him donning the protective gear. His unloaded handgun was holstered on his right thigh; a 4-inch tactical knife was in one pocket and 10 rounds of live ammunition were in another.
But according to Chergui's attorney, the 34-year-old father had no intention of hurting anyone. In fact, said Robert Kerr, Chergui was under the impression that he was either "volunteering or working" for Reliant Security Consulting, which provides security in the area.
The owner of the security firm told police that Chergui was not hired because he did not have the necessary licenses required for armed security officers, according to court records.
Chergui was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a weapon, possession of ammunition, failing to register a firearm and unlawful use of a "black-jack" knife.
"Ahmed is an upstanding member of the community ... perhaps a little overzealous in his desire to become a police officers," said Kerr, adding that Chergui planned to travel to Honolulu in April to join the police academy there.
A Cook County Judge set Chergui's bond at $50,000 and warned him that traveling to Hawaii was out of the question.