The Elgin policing task force blows up – again!
This time they crashed and burned in the most magnificent fashion with former U-46 school board candidate and community task force on policing chairman LeJewel Crigler throwing the kind of hissy fit that would make former Carpentersville Village President Bill Sarto jealous. Not to be outdone, the rest of that fascinating group followed suit with a few foul-mouthed tirades of their own. Having watched it for myself, I can honestly say I’d expect more from a group of fifth graders stuck on a school bus in a traffic jam in 90-degree weather with no food or water.
For the record, I like LeJewel. She’s one of my favorite podcast guests, and when she came to me for campaign advice, I was always happy to help. But in my 16 years of covering everything from water reclamation districts to the Illinois general assembly, I’ve never borne witness this kind of spectacularly embarrassing public meltdown.
Crigler kicked off the “festivities” by insisting that “Black people are not heard” in Elgin.
Really? Then please explain how nine members, or 56 percent of that 16-seat committee, are black in a city that’s just 5.4 percent African American? No voice? I’d say that’s a disproportionate voice at the cost of Elgin’s Hispanics and Asians. Let’s not forget that the Elgin black community is also represented by two alderman, or 22 percent of the City Council. It might also behoove some folks to consider who city hall is named for, too.
I’m not saying Elgin is a perfect proposition, but those stark facts certainly put a damper in Crigler’s bizarre self-serving and ultimately destructive theory.
Not nearly finished, the chairwoman declared that Elgin reserves all manner of special considerations for every other ethnic/racial group but not black folks. Really? Perhaps she’s missed the city spending $250,000 on a task force dominated by African Americans that, after two long years, has done everything they can to make the situation worse.
That’s a special consideration most white folks will never see.
Crigler capped off her disturbing rant by excoriating the task force for their failure to discuss reparations, to listen to the black members, and in a move that clearly demonstrated the deleterious effects of institutionalized victimhood, said she couldn’t walk into an Elgin grocery stores without facing “racism” because “as a black woman there’s people possibly looking for me.”
And that, Dear Reader, is nothing more than pure unexpurgated bullshit. It’s the product of a fertile imagination that’s determined to see exactly what it wants to see. Even down here in lily white Geneva, nobody gives a flying bleep about who’s standing behind them in the Meijer checkout lane. Perhaps someone should remind Ms. Crigler that this is 2022 and not 1942, and that she lives in a city where, at 40 percent of the citizenry, Caucasians are the decided minority. All her false narrative does ins manifest the kind of blatant reverse racism I’ve been accusing this committee of from the start.
As Crigler grabbed her purse and shouted she was “walking away,” not one to miss an opportunity to make it all about him, task force member Walter Blalark got up and launched into yet another self-righteous rant about how he got a February 1st ticket for driving while on his cellphone insisting that “they don’t do that to white people.”
First, he got that citation at a time when the EPD was cracking down on all forms of distracted driving and ticketing everyone.
And second, after reviewing IDOT’s 2021 annual Illinois traffic stop study, it would appear that Elgin’s black residents are the beneficiaries of all manner of traffic breaks. Stopped white motorists are ticketed 56 percent of time while African American drivers are cited at just a 40 percent rate. Do the math and that means Elgin Caucasians are 40 percent more likely to get ticketed during a traffic stop. Even Hispanic drivers do better than their white counterparts in this regard.
Blalark is proof that anyone can become a “pastor” simply by putting the word next to their name. This man’s ego is so vast that he couldn’t spell the word “Christianity” if you spotted him eleven letters.
Instead of calling her out for her temper tantrum and poor leadership, the panel’s white members, like Danise Habun, who can’t deal with the fact that she was born white, applauded and supported this theatre of the absurd, hurling invectives with no consideration for the fact they were being videotaped. So much for any semblance of political professionalism.
The irony, of course, is that Crigler’s screed was likely solicited by Kearns and West, the incompetent task force moderators, who finally seem to be pushing the task force to move forward. They understand this panel has to show something to show for their “efforts” soon or the city will cut off their gravy train. But this newest debacle is simply more evidence that Kearns and West couldn’t successfully moderate an octogenarian bridge club, much less a public body. It would be one thing if they were doing this on a volunteer basis, but to receive a-quarter-of-a-million-dollars to preside over this disaster is beyond the pale.
Despite what Crigler said and what the task force seems to believe, it was NOT created as a forum for members to go on self-aggrandizing rants, discuss reparations, make false claims, or redress the past – as bad as the past could be. No! This body was granted the rare privilege of developing a plan to create a better dynamic between the Elgin Police Department to benefit ALL of Elgin, not just the African American community as Crigler insisted. Ain’t it funny how Elgin’s 47 percent Hispanic community never seems to matter much to those black task force members?
Then, despite her “resignation” and subsequent storming out of the meeting being caught on video, in an effort to top her temper tantrum, Crigler told the press she didn’t quit, citing she “never submitted a letter of resignation.” How many times have I had to say that “You can’t make this stuff up?”
And what do you want to bet that the city will re-install her as chairman?
If this farce wasn’t costing the taxpayer so much it would be nothing more than a humorous diversion. But not only does the meter keep running, now this gaggle is seriously damaging Elgin’s reputation and it needs to stop. Please note that not even city council Gang of Four (Powell, Dixon, Steffen, Rauschenberger), who brought us this group, no longer utter the words “police task force” for fear of the stink sticking to them. And in an amazing show of gratitude, the task force turned on and savaged their council benefactors at the same meeting.
Chief Lalley, please STOP telling the mayor and council this group is making progress because they’re not and wishful thinking isn’t nearly enough to change that. They’re further from their goal than they were on day one and it’s clearly getting worse and not better. Mayor Kaptain! You had the opportunity to vote this thing down once and for all, but instead of trusting your judgment, you listened to advisors who were dead wrong. Please don’t make that mistake again.
I’d add city manager Rick Kozal to this list, but he’s made it abundantly clear that he couldn’t manage a sixth-grade softball team, much less the City of Elgin.
This task force is a real governing body that should demand respect and gratitude, not evoke the kind of pity and anger that’s dogged it every step of the way. And how has this panel responded to their rare 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th chances? They just flipped everyone in Elgin the collective bird. So, now it’s time to stop throwing good money after bad and pull the plug on this irrecoverable embarrassment before they take the entire city down with them.