7 Complaints Against Macomb Police Officers Being Investigated By Internal Affairs

With the latest witnessed affidavit turned into Macomb, Illinois Police Department, Internal Affairs has a busy winter and spring ahead of them. With 7 complaints, most from Black folx, former State Trooper/Macomb Mayor Mike Inman’s misleadership over the police has been a destructive, moral failure.

Our community leaders’ lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability is a disgrace. Those (racist) white people demanding Black folx “submit their own complaints” in the community have gotten their wish. Absent reporting from any local media, it’s likely the community will remain in ignorance that their police department has multiple credible complaints alleging very serious allegations and crimes by several police officers, including those high up in leadership.

We wish our new Chief Jones all the best as he faces cleaning up Chief Barker’s appalling mess and abdication of any professional responsibility.

The most frequently named Officer in the complaints is Officer Gavin Steiger, who we first called on to be investigated in the Fall of 2019 – after which, Mayor Inman and Chief Barker and the city awarded him the “Officer of the Year.” We have to wonder how history will judge that, given all the complaints for rights violations – and potential lawsuits – he’s racked up since then.

*Insert slow clap to republicans and complicit white liberals on the city council for exposing the city to yet MORE police lawsuits*

How will history judge Macomb’s leadership during this time?

#FailureToAct #ColorOfLaw #CoIntelPro

#RacialJustice #InvestigateMacombPD #BlackLivesMatter #WhiteSupremacy #BlackInMacomb #WIU

Racial Justice Coalition

In September, the Racial Justice Coalition grew it’s wings, and has broken off from being a sub-group under our partisan Democratic label, becoming it’s own grassroots org, now with local organizers in 9 counties – now grown to 12 counties in Illinois – actively working to identify local structures of inequity, injustice, and exclusion to address. It has been an honor building the group, watching it’s teams take on new work in new communities, form their own local groups, and challenge racism and white supremacy. We wish them well and as always, are their allies in our county.

The message:

“***Official Announcement: The Racial Justice Coalition of West Central Illinois has outgrown McDonough County to become it’s own non-partisan grassroots civil rights organization in West Central Illinois.***With team members in 9 counties organizing for racial justice in traditionally white, conservative-led communities, the Racial Justice Coalition seeks to identify, challenge, and work to abolish bigotry, hate, and systemic and structural racism and injustice at all levels of local, county, and regional government, services, and culture in and around West Central Illinois.

The Racial Justice Coalition of West Central Illinois wishes to thank the Democratic Women of McDonough County County for taking on the work in creating this org, as well as providing support, training, and mentoring for it’s growing leadership team. We are forever in their debt. #Gratitude

White Allies, Abolitionists, and Activists

“Making it easier for white women to become CEOs isn’t the same as making life easier for all women.” – Illinois Author, Lecturer, Abolitionist Mikki Kendall [ Learn more >> | Buy the Book “Hood Feminism” ]

All counties need courageous white people with white privilege to step up and perform the actual work of dismantling structures of injustice and oppression. Not everyone needs to be the public abolitionist to take the heat of the hatred. There are many opportunities for those wanting to do their part in the civil rights struggle of our time. All efforts have value and are appreciated.

Some ways to get involved:

  • Watchdogging of city, county, school boards meetings
  • FOIA’ing Sheriff’s Departments for policies, procedures, stats on vehicle stops, searches, arrests
  • FOIA’ing/watchingdogging functioning of jails for constitutional, civil, and human rights
  • White allies to be trained as civil rights witness/observers to respond in their own communities as necessary to ensure Black folx and other People of Color are treated with fairness, dignity, equity, and respect when interacting with white people in positions of power, authority
  • Court-watching
  • Voter registration – NON-PARTISAN
    • Pollwatchers
    • Election Judges
    • Precinct Committeepersons
  • Watchdogging how those in Section 8 Housing are treated
  • FOIA teams to identify structural procedural, and interpersonal bias, deficits, incidents
  • Digital media team support
  • IEP/School Resource Officers/Title IX/Civil Rights in education – this team is for white allies to assist caregivers of Black, Latin, Hispanic, and other Children of Color in ensuring their schools are complying with their responsibilities in preventing, identifying, and properly responding to rights violations against marginalized students=

If you want to step up and take on doing your part to bring about racial justice, let us know and we’ll connect you to the Racial Justice Coalition, and they’ll connect you to others in your county.

#CivilRights #HumanRights #NoWhiteSupremacy #EndQualifiedImmunity #Illinois #BlackLivesMatter #ACLU #GoodTrouble

We see your white nationalism, Marjorie Taylor Greene

***Official Statement***

The Democratic Women of McDonough County strongly condemns Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s abhorrent, ignorant, and BLATANTLY RACIST remarks.

Falsehoods are part of the #WhiteNationalist agenda of today’s Republican party at ALL LEVELS. These lies already destabilizing our government threaten the destruction of our vibrant democratic nation, which threatens the futures of all our children.

We challenge republicans and their leadership to loudly, strongly condemn the attacks on teaching of #CriticalRaceTheory, cease the falsehoods about the attack on January 6th, and affirm the legitimacy of the Biden administration. Leaders must govern by the facts, and we must ensure our teachers are empowered and protected to #TeachTheFacts.

More info: https://www.newsweek.com/marjorie-taylor-greene-says-crt-should-outlawed-teachers-fired-spot-1608594?fbclid=IwAR0RYgXbl1y4eRrsqvapH23zAJZcgaMt4ZRcnCitr7dSEAFxMpBt2b5zVuo

It’s time to defend democracy.

The Democratic Women of McDonough County, Illinois

Statement from the Democratic Women of McDonough County on the violence and murder of Asian and Asian-American women in Georgia

Dear Friends,

Our hearts are broken at the despicable – and all too familiar – acts of wh*te male armed violence in Georgia in which an angry white man with a gun targeted vulnerable Asian, Asian-American women at their place of work. 

The rise in targeting of people of Asian descent by ignorant, angry wh*te people scapegoating fellow human beings is unacceptable in every sense. Xenophobic targeting of people of Asian descent for the failures of leadership, resources, and political collaboration leading to the pandemic spread is alarming and should serve as a call to action by all peaceful white Americans to condemn such hate loudly, repeatedly, and publicly. 

We stand with our members and community members grieving loved ones and living in fear of more xenophobic targeting likely to come. We condemn all acts of bigotry and hatred, and urge all white Americans to challenge our neighbors and friends spreading such destructive sentiments. Hate and violence degrades us all as Americans, and sets a terrible example for our next generation.

We wish for safety, comfort, healing, and peace for our hurting Asian and Asian-American community members, their families, and our community. We stand with you. We value you. We are glad you are here as part of our community.

In Solidarity, Love, & Our Pledge To Visibly Oppose Hatred,

The Democratic Women of McDonough County
http://www.democratic-women.org/

McDonough County’s Law & Legal Committee

This is interesting. Though there’s been a reporter paid to cover this committee for well over a decade, nobody apparently ever questioned who has oversight of the Sheriff, Sheriff’s Department, and McDonough Jail.

As it turns out, apparently nobody:

“McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout told The Voice that he does not believe that the county board has oversight authority over his department. The board passes his department budget annually, he said, but he believes that only the voters have oversight with elected officials like himself.”

“Furthermore, Petitgout said that Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Adam Cremer, who often attends committee meetings, does so as a courtesy to the county board.”

MCdONOUGH COUNTY VOICE ARTICLE, https://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/story/news/local/2021/02/05/law-legal-committee-discusses-oversight-responsibility/4413982001/

“When asked where members of the public with complaints about the Sheriff’s office or jail can go with their concerns, Erlandson referenced the Sheriff’s office, the State’s Attorney, and the Illinois State Police.

Committee member Mike Kirby said that the sheriff’s department has yet to share a copy of the complaint procedure. He said that they agreed to do so during their December meeting.

Kirby told the Voice that Republicans on the board seem to have no desire to exercise any oversight of county resources in the sheriff’s department. Additionally, State’s Attorney Matt Kwacala won’t pursue any allegations of misconduct by the sheriff’s department, Kirby said.

Kwacala confirmed to The Voice that there won’t be an investigation into the sheriff’s department. He also said that he’s never received a complaint on the matter. Regarding oversight, the Law & Legal Committee doesn’t have the authority to investigate criminal complaints, he said.

As for the belief that allegations against the sheriff should only be pursued in the courts, Kirby said that he doesn’t necessarily disagree. He said, “Our committee is certainly not meant to be a court of law.”

“So if the voters are the only ones who provide oversight to the sheriff’s department, then it makes sense to the sheriff and the Republican members of our local establishment that those voters get as little information as possible about alleged human rights violations in our local jails and elsewhere,” Kirby said.

The January meeting agenda released to media outlets indicated that the committee would be meeting by Zoom as well as in-person. However, the February agenda sent to the media did not provide any Zoom meeting details. When asked Friday why the Zoom meeting was cancelled, Erlandson said the decision was made to move all County meetings to in-person only. He said he assumed this was due to lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions.”

Source: https://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/story/news/local/2021/02/05/law-legal-committee-discusses-oversight-responsibility/4413982001/



Interview Transcript: Police Complaint Against 10/19/2020

The Democratic Women of McDonough County submitted a complaint to Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker about the behavior of Macomb Police Detective XXXXXXXX for his anti-BLM protestor posts on his wall of his tactical equipment site.

“The staff of our department is committed to providing our residents and visitors with effective and efficient policing services that enhance their quality of life and keep Macomb a great place to live, work, or visit.

The Macomb Police Department will form partnerships through open lines of communication and cooperation to continually identify the needs and concerns within our community while collectively developing strategies to solve these concerns or issues.

My philosophy for the department is that no call for our services will ever be too small and that we will provide police service to the community in the same manner and at the same level we expect other law enforcement agencies to deliver police services to members of our own families.

We welcome your input and suggestions. In the near future we will be undertaking new initiatives to ensure that we remain responsive to the community needs and continue to be at the forefront of modern policing. Our employees are professional and well trained. They are committed to making our department the finest police department in the country on your behalf.” – Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker, on the Macomb Police Department’s website


We submitted a complaint to the Macomb Police Department to see how the complaint process works, how community members can expect to be treated by the MPD Leadership, and how the department responds to complaints.

  • Process is not trauma-informed, nor are accommodations agreed to upheld, such as being able to speak without interruption
  • Deputy Burnham tries to claim Ms. McMeekan can only speak for herself, which is inaccurate; furthermore, it is an abusive tactic used to create a sense of isolation in a complainant. That these tactics are being used against a law-abiding citizen bringing concerns of multiple people to the Police Leadership’s attention says much about the departmental culture.
  • Deputy Burnham repeatedly calls Ms. McMeekan by her first name, “Heather” which is disrespectful, especially given the manner and tone in which he addresses her; later he calls Dr. Rutledge by her first name, and dismisses her remark about being cold in the room
  • Requiring them to meet in the small interview room during COVID violates pandemic distancing guidelines, putting Ms. McMeekan and Dr. Rutledge at potential risk
  • Deputy Chief Burnham misunderstands or misrepresents the 1st Amendment
  • Deputy Chief Burnham repeatedly, persistently interrupts Ms. McMeekan

Thank you to Allen “Max” Axelrod for his analysis.

Redacted Transcript of the video

Our Complaint to MPD…

This is being submitted as a public comment to the Macomb City Council tonight.

Nov 2,  2020

***Public Comment***

Three weeks ago, Democratic Women of McDonough County President Heather McMeekan submitted a complaint to Chief Barker about a Macomb police detective’s online behavior making derogatory and incendiary comments about Black Lives Matter protestors on his tactical/concealed carry business’s Facebook wall.

Last week was the meeting for this complaint. You were all sent an email with the link to the audio file and transcript. We hope to hear in your reports an acknowledgement you received it.

The complaint process DWMC President Heather McMeekan was subjected to was inappropriate, unprofessional, and unacceptable.

For more than a year, we’ve been asking the Mayor and this city council to address the multiple concerns we have brought to you about the process. 

She was bringing serious concerns from our organization to your departmental leadership’s attention on OUR BEHALF. That she received such maltreatment says much about this city’s police and city hall leadership. You all owe her – and us – an apology.

Photo ops and signing statements from MPD and city leadership trying to portray a police culture of professionalism and respect are still just performative feel-good actions without substance. NO community members can safely make a complaint about the police to our police.

Allowing a department to police itself is failure of oversight. A police leadership permitted to treat community members bringing complaints to them with such outdated, traumatizing, & inappropriate tactics sends a chilling message.

The Macomb Police Department must be investigated, Chief Barker must go, and the department must be de-militarized AND re-structured. 

A transparent complaint system OUTSIDE of Macomb Police Leadership must be established and be independent of the police and city leadership’s disruption. Trauma-informed interview practices should always be employed. Psychologically traumatizing interview techniques should have been banned from this process decades ago.

Despite all your assurances, signing statements, photo ops, this process is NO BETTER for our community. This is only allowed by your complicity. We hope you remember this as you repeatedly ignore our leaders while demanding our “respect” for your part in upholding this unacceptable status quo.

Repeated attempts to get you, our elected representatives, to hold your Mayor accountable and fix these issues have yielded no progress. The list of job duties claimed as racial justice hasn’t addressed this problem. Produce actual progress on fixing these basic tools and structures of good government. Hold a public town hall on the record for us to discuss our police department.

Sincerely,

Verna Parkins, 1st Vice-President
Becky Danner, 2nd Vice-President
Regina Matthews, Racial Justice Coalition Leadership Team
Robin Johnson, Secretary
Democratic Women of McDonough County

Our Latest Public Comment

“It’s long past time for you, our elected officials, to provide the oft-requested Town Hall for community members to share experiences and concerns about the racism in our community. Since you’ve refused to put the discussion about it on the agenda (despite multiple requests to do so), we will continue bringing up our concerns in the ONLY format you white city council members & Mayor have allowed, and that is the 3 minute public comment.

Content Warning for Racial Trauma: This past weekend, some white republicans allegedly celebrated a birthday by hanging some democratic candidate’s signs from a tree in their yard, ostensibly as some kind of sick, twisted “joke.”

We hope our fellow white people in our community listen up. Displays, jokes, comments, references etc. regarding HANGING or LYNCHING of human beings are NEVER OK.

Such behavior triggers historical racial trauma and creates new racial trauma, here and now, which harms our Black community members. It demonstrates profound ignorance and/or indifference to the pain of those who live in this community and have had ancestors hanged by white folks.
This event, and the many racist, hateful comments continuing to be posted online via social media by community members and yelled at Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrates that the structural racism in our community is not confined to any particular agency, institution, process, policy. It’s our local culture.

It is pervasive, lives in the hearts of our white community members, and is expressed on a tragic, hurtful spectrum of racial trauma ranging from indifference and silencing to deliberate acts of hatred and violence. Our Black community members have reported many are experiencing racism in housing, employment, education, healthcare, finances, and religion.

Lack of representation, transparency, and oversight in white-designed and white-led agencies allows these problems to persist. You have the power to work on these structures. Please step up in your humanity and service as elected and appointed city officials and take on this work now.

Silencing, centering of white feelings, misusing power to thwart transparency and accountability is what structural racism looks like in the north. Mayor Inman, we are your citizens too and we need you to do your job and schedule a Town Hall to discuss these problems before the quality of life for our Black and other community members of Color gets worse.

Sincerely,

Heather McMeekan, President
Democratic Women of McDonough County
#BlackLivesMatter #BlackAtWIU
Source: https://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/news/20201015/public-comment-mayor-inman-give-us-town-hall-on-race-issues-in-macomb

Of Bushnell and Black Lives Matter Pop-Ups

Today, a Bushnell Pastor Dave Eden posted a blatant falsehood about our events on Facebook. He claimed that at one of our protests, one of our posters said “The only good cop is a dead cop.”

We have no such sign, have never displayed such a sign, would never be a part of an org that would display such a sign. That was a falsehood, and when we attempted to correct him, he doubled down on the lie, and added more.

We would never allow such a sentiment to be a part of our protests. We have police officers in our families, friends, and as work colleagues. To claim we’d ever be about death or violence is bearing false witness against us, Pastor Dave. You owe us an apology for spreading such a despicable lie.

Also, it puts us at greater risk as such an incendiary falsehood is likely to further inflame reactive racists with a propensity for violence, particularly against women. Shame on any pastor who would do this.

Why Are We In Bushnell?

We have members in Bushnell with concerns, and we’ve received complaints. We’ve done a few low-energy pop-ups. Just 2-3 people, silent, with 2-3 #BlackLivesMatter flags and 2-3 racial justice posters.

Just that low energy, low impact display on behalf of our Black community members is still too much for some people.

Tonight’s example:

Bushnell, IL – Oct 15, 2020 – Black Lives Matter