ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A petition calling for the resignation of Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea has been started on Change.org, following a comments he made about juvenile shooting suspects at a press conference last month.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said he did not support comments made by Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea at a press conference last month which has sparked a backlash from protesters.
“I want to say, number one, that I do not agree with Chief O’Shea’s comments,” McNamara said. “Every single person who calls Rockford home is valuable. They’re worth fighting for.”
“I’m the mayor of the entire city of Rockford. It’s been an unbelievable honor. I’ve learned more in the last week in my meetings with different citizens that I’ve had the opportunity to learn, probably in the three years that I’ve been there,” he said.
A group of protesters, known as Rockford Youth Activism, included on a list of demands that O’Shea rescind his comments, which have since been widely shared on Twitter in light of the recent wave of protests in Rockford.
Watch the entire press conference here.
The comments came from a May 18th press conference where O’Shea addressed a series of recent murders and shootings, and an incident in which a suspect had fired on police officers.
He was asked if Rockford Police were planning education and prevention programs for teens.
O’Shea said, “The 16, 17-year-olds running around shooting each other, we’re not wasting our time trying to save them. They are lost. We’re trying to focus on 4 or 5-year-olds all the way up to 12 or 13, where we have a chance at saving them, changing their lives and changing the direction they are going in it.”
“Seventeen-year-olds that go around committing murders and shooting at people, yeah, well, sorry. Off to prison you go. I got nothing for you. Your family failed you up until this point and there is nothing that we can do for you,” he continued.
According to the Change.org petition, started by Aija Penix,
“Rockford PD is widely known in the community for racial profiling, using excessive force and harsh policing of primarily black and brown areas of Rockford, IL. There is no sect of any population that should be treated this way and then counted as a lost cause by the Chief of Police who took an oath to protect and serve the ENTIRE community.
“A primary role of the Police Chief is to manage police departments, which includes hiring, assessing, training, disciplining and firing of officers. A police chief who disregards an entire sect of the youth of our city as a lost cause should NOT be in the position to implement these views and practices on the officers who are in direct contact with this community.
“We, the people, demand Police Chief Daniel G. Oshea’s Resignation.
“We, the people, demand the individual who assumes Daniel O’Shea’s position possess a personal and public philosophy of building rapport with the community, especially the youth of all creeds and colors including the black and brown youth of Rockford, IL.
“We, the people, demand the Rockford Police Department and all governing bodies of the city of Rockford publicly present their plans to repair the relationship, build rapport and build trust between the police and the people, especially the black and brown youth of Rockford, IL.
“If we do not receive our demands, we will demand the resignation of the Police Chief’s superior, Mayor Tom McNamara.”
The petition currently has 306 signatures and is asking for 500.
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