UPDATE: Rockford Police Chief Loses Court Battle

-         UPDATE (7/3/14): A judge has ruled against Chief Epperson's attempt to get a restraining order against the union and commission.  This means those who subpoenaed to provide documents about the incident with NAACP President Lloyd Johnston must provide documents to the Police and Fire Commission. 

A copy of the judge's order is attached above.  We'll have more on this story as it develops.

        ROCKFORD - Chief Epperson filed a restraining order against the city’s police union and the Rockford police and fire commission.

        The relationship between the chief and the union has been contentious for years, but chief Epperson now believes the union has gone too far.

The controversy revolves around chief Epperson's involvement in a police call. What started out as a dispute is
now a court fight.

Regarding the filing of the restraining order, Epperson’s Attorney, Thomas McGuire, said, “I want the union to be stopped from proceeding any further with their activities before the board of fire and police commissioners."

        The issue centers on whether or not the chief improperly interfered with his officers actions. Officers were called for a welfare check at the home of NAACP president, Lloyd Johnston.

        Following the incident, the police union filed a complaint asking for the police and fire commission to investigate.

        The attorney for PBPA, Dan McGrail, argues, “It’s very, very clear in the state law, it's very, very clear in the commissioners rules. They have every right in the world to hear a citizen’s complaint, and in fact, this is a citizen’s complaint that's brought by the PBPA.”

        McGuire said, “This is a very significant case, because it really comes down to who the devil is running the police department. Is it the union, or is it the chief of police?”

        Both sides also touched on whether or not the police and fire commission have any jurisdiction over chief Epperson.

        “It's clear in the state law and it's been a custom and practice in the city of Rockford forever, that the mayor appoints the department heads with the exception of the chief of police and the chief of fire,” said McGrail.

        McGuire, however, argues the opposite, claiming the board of fire and police commissioners do not have jurisdiction authority over Epperson.                        

        Today the judge continued the case until July 3rd, at which point another judge will hear arguments over whether to issue the restraining order.

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