ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney announced a series of new appointments to several community boards at a press conference on Tuesday.
Subject to county board approval: Cesar Sanchez is being appointed to the Community Action Agency Board, replacing Tiana McCall as she moved on to RVC. Sanchez currently works at Midland Bank and serves on the boards of United Way, HomeStart and the Rockford Public Library
Rhonda Greer-Robinson is appointed to the Winnebago County Housing Authority, to replace Fred Wescott. Greer-Robinson is a teacher and current president of the Rockford chapter of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Dr. Peter Frank Williams is appointed to Winnebago County Credit Commission, replacing Ken Burns. Williams is the Assistant Pastor at St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church and active member of the Rockford Minister’s Fellowship.
Paulina Sihakom is appointed to the Chicago Rockford International Airport Board, replacing Tom Dal Santo. Sihakom works at PNC Bank and serves on the boards of Goodwill of Northern Illinois and the Lao American Association of Northern Illinois.
Haney said he “couldn’t be more excited about these appointments.”
On Monday, Haney issued a letter in support of Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea in advance of a hearing regarding the citizen complaint issued against him by the advocacy group, 100 Strong.
The complaint makes one allegation against O’Shea, saying comments he made in May violate the department’s policies against biased policing. Specifically, it says O’Shea is biased against 16 and 17-year olds.
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.
Democratic aldermen in Rockford say they want Chief O’Shea held accountable for his comments.
A petition in support of O’Shea was launched Monday.
A local self-described “Black anarchist” group, 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.
The group also disputes the Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea statement that many of the violent protesters came from out of town, saying in part: “We believe that this statement was made to downplay the justified anger towards police violence that has been growing in the city due to deaths by police, brutality, corruption ,and misconduct.”
O’Shea has since clarified his comments to mean he was specifically speaking about violent offenders in a recent wave of shootings.
The formal complaint is set to be heard by the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners on Thursday at 10 a.m. at City Hall.
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