Chicago Park man accused of brandishing weapon at dog, impersonating officer
A Chicago Park man was arraigned Tuesday on several firearms charges after he allegedly threatened a neighbor with a gun.
But what was at the heart of the confrontation remains unclear. Mark and Julianne Henry say Matthew Bearry, who claimed to be there over livestock concerns, actually targeted them because they have Black Lives Matter signs visible in front of their home.
According to the Henrys, Bearry on June 26 drove up to their residence on an ATV, dressed in tactical gear and with a gun holster strapped to the front of the vest. They came outside to find him standing at the gate, with his hand extended through the rails of the iron gate, pointing a handgun at their dog, they said.
Bearry refused to put his handgun away, showed a badge and told them several times he was law enforcement. He then accused their dog of killing livestock, a claim the Henrys said was false, and threatened to come back and “do something about it,” Julianne Henry said.
Bearry is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony; and for brandishing a weapon and impersonating a peace officer, both misdemeanors, authorities said.
After talking to neighbors and viewing Bearry’s Facebook page, the Henrys became convinced they were targets after they posted a BLM sign on June 19. Julianne Henry noted a neighbor’s BLM sign had been repeatedly torn down. Bearry reportedly was seen by a neighbor on June 26 taking photos of the BLM signs at both their property and that of the neighbor minutes before he confronted the Henrys, they said.
Bearry faces no charges in connection with the signs.
On Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Taylor Balonon asked Nevada County Superior Court Judge Scott Thomsen to increase Bearry’s bail amount from $35,000, as well as for a criminal protective order to buttress an existing restraining order granted in civil court. Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said outside of court he believed bail should have been set at $125,000.
Bearry was free on bond Tuesday.
Mark Henry told Thomsen that he supported an increase in bail given Bearry’s prior convictions for similar incidents, as well as because of social media posts “filled with racism and violent vigilante content.”
“We fear for our lives,” he said.
Bearry’s attorney, Barry Zimmerman, noted that an initial arrest charge of making a criminal threat had not been filed, and added that there was no prior history of conflict between the Henrys and Bearry. He said that after Bearry posted bail in June, there has been no further contact and he has been abiding by the restraining order.
Walsh said after the hearing that the criminal threat charge was not filed because it was not a verbal threat, but was implied. He noted that Bearry has a prior strike conviction from 2008 for making terroristic threats, and is on probation for brandishing a weapon in Placer County.
At the end of the hearing, Thomsen noted “the alleged facts are troubling,” but also cited no evidence of Bearry having violated the restraining order in his decision to leave the bail as set. Thomsen did grant the criminal protective order, however, which includes the Henrys’ dogs.
Bearry is set to return to court on Oct. 9 for a felony conference.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at email@example.com.
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