I’m not going to say that Mayor Gary L’Heureux lied at last night’s board meeting when he said “We hear you” to those who came to protest.
He said that, by the way. He stepped away from his written statement for a few moments and while I think he was trying to say words of reassurance, that’s not the message that was sent to a section of listeners, myself included.
For example, he mentioned that the Village is “helping” members of Roberson’s family. Apropos in light of current facts, but it doesn’t help move the Village away from its history of prejudice, especially within the ranks of the Midlothian police department.
I also heard last night that 4 to 5 shots were fired into Jemel Roberson that November 11, 2018 Sunday morning. That would be 1 to 2 more bullets than what a police officer deposited into Emantic Bradford at the shopping mall in Hoover, Alabama.
No, this has to do with Ghosts In the Gallery of Midlothian Government and how critical statistical data isn’t made available to the public, let alone those responsible for Midlothian the Corporation.
One of the more effective techniques Midlothian has used over the years to suppress the truth has to do with the “complaint system” in place to handle…well…complaints against the Village.
First off, I’m willing to bet a cup of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows that there are few in the Village that know there is an official Citizen Complaint Form available at Village Hall. It’s not like you can find a copy online because…well…it’s not there. And to think that back in October of 2014, then resident Kathy Caveney asked for the form to be published to the website. Of course, I myself used a few while former Mayor Terry Stephens was in office, but those complaints went nowhere. Also, Caveney is now a Village Trustee.
So to hear the Mayor say “We hear you?” to those who came to speak about Roberson?
My goodness. Members of the Government of the Village have been listening to complaints about poor policing habits for quite a few administrations. I don’t think very many paper forms were ever used to file such complaints–I know I certainly didn’t use very many over the past decade–but complaints via email, let alone over the phone or in person as still just as valid as those scribed by the person doing the complaining.
Maybe the words “we hear you” were never used in the past, but the illusion many were left with was that concerns were not only being heard, but that the Village would take steps to cure up a plethora of deficiencies…but not until the “next administration” gets into office.
That’s right. Many asked for patience while they kicked the can down the road, blaming some person on the Board, the Mayor or someone else for their own decision for inaction…especially this current Mayor. Often I was told by L’Heureux that it was best if I held back my own concerns until we had a new Mayor, sometimes without him actually having to say the words–just his demeanor alone sent the message loud and clear–especially when I was bringing up law enforcement-based concerns.
And now, with an even brighter spotlight glaring down upon Midlothian in search of evidence that might reflect a measure of prejudice in the Village (or lack thereof), the Village comes up shiny and clean as it relates to just how many complaints have been filed with the Village.
But that’s a false narrative created by the Village’s corrupt practices and procedures when it comes to its legal and moral obligation to have a complaint system to begin with. Sure, the public is allowed to file grievance against Government, but any grievance not filed on one of these Citizen Complaint Forms won’t show up in any statistics because…well…they aren’t “technically” classified as a formal Citizen Complaint.
For example, I know from personal experience (both as a submitter and as a result of a few FOIA requests), that a number of Citizen Complaints were filed with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s Public Corruption Division. Those complaints won’t necessarily show up in the archives of Midlothian when trying to do a statistical analysis of complaints filed with the Village.
I still find it interesting that the Village continues to maintain its stance that there is no prejudice coming from inside of Village Hall–
But hey! If there is no paper evidence to prove otherwise, then their claim must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…right?
There are other pieces of evidence out there that clearly say otherwise, including videos and even laws on the books.
I myself am still awaiting clear and convincing evidence that the Village takes the right of a citizen to complain without fear of retaliation from the Village seriously–even if it’s 12 years after the first time I voiced a complaint to the Village.
Posting the Citizen Complaint form on the website would certainly be one decent piece of evidence. Constantly reminding the public that it exists and that people are encouraged to use it would be another one of those pieces.
Posting the Complaints Against a Police Officer policy, procedure and form is another one of those desperately needed pieces of evidence. This is an area that I believe is screaming for a major overhaul, but until it is posted for all to see, it’s tough to explain all of the problems with the process.
So when Mayor L’Heureux said “We hear you”?
He left out two things.
He left out any statement regarding his commitment and willingness to work with the protestors and advocates towards a more improved Village, especially when it comes to the police department and its staff. They weren’t talking just about Roberson’s death and what came after–they were talking about the events leading up to his death as well.
But L’Heureux also left out, “except if your name is Midlothian Valerie. If that is the case, don’t bother saying anything else because everyone here at Village Hall knows you’re nothing but a toothless and mentally ill person that we can’t get rid of fast enough–even though the Village has been trying for years –and we cannot be expected to keep listening to you ramble on as you continue to lose your mind. You’re illness is one of the reasons we have so many problems here in Midlothian and you are still costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars with all of your wasteful complaints! Please just shut up already and leave the rest of us good, decent, honorable people alone. We know what we’re doing.”
Or something along those lines.
So, in other words, hearing people has never been the problem of the government here in Midlothian when it comes to its history of prejudice.
Doing something other than letting the figurative dogs and fire hoses loose after one speaks out against such prejudice has always been the problem.
I will now sit back and await to see if these complaint forms finally make it online so that anyone can fill one out if they choose to.
I did ask this of the Mayor’s Office today via email.