The new Rock Island City Council was sworn in this week, but most of the attention was on a re-elected member.
“Most of this is directed at that empty chair over there,” said Ray Lind.
That chair belongs to alderman Dylan Parker. He posted a controversial statement about police on his official Facebook page after the State’s Attorneys ruled the police shooting of Deshawn Tatum was justified.
It reads in part, “One life lost is too many. The loss of even one life should prompt us to examine the circumstances that led to the tragedy. We, as policy makers, have a responsibility to ensure the agents of state violence under our authority have the appropriate policies to check that danger.”
Members of the Rock Island law enforcement lined the back of the city council chambers in a silent protest during public comment.
“I come here tonight to express my support and solidarity with Alderman Dylan Parker regarding his comments towards the Rock Island Police Department and its foot pursuit policies,” said Andrew DeFrieze.
“I’m asking for Dylan Parker’s resignation,” said Lind.
Several took issue with the Alderman’s statement.
“Its anti-police, its anti-law enforcement, its ant- citizens of Rock Island and we deserve better, we deserve protection,” said Don Mewes.
“He doesn’t want our police department to serve and protect, he wants them to be a babysitting service for criminals,” said Lind.
Others saw it as a good start.
“What are you doing about this problem?” said DeFrieze. I’m glad to see at least someone on the current city council is vocal about these issues, but I want to see concrete action, not just rhetoric.”
The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Executive Director, Shawn Roselieb, thinks the way forward is with words. He just wants everyone to be careful how they use them.
“I challenge you to ask the tough questions, why things happen,” said Roselieb. “I challenge you to stay off social media. I challenge you to pick up the phone, make a phone call, meet in person with your police chief.”