The mayor of an Illinois city sends his police force to break up illegal gatherings taking place in defiance of statewide social-distancing orders. One of the attendees at one of those gatherings was allegedly none other than the mayor’s wife, HuffPost reports.
Alton, Illinois is a riverfront city on the Mississippi, about 20 miles north of St. Louis. The city’s 26,000 residents, like all residents of Illinois, are under strict social-distancing orders that prohibit gatherings of more than a few people. Further, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s orders have shut down all non-essential businesses, such as bars and restaurants.
Alton Mayor Brant Walker warned the city’s citizens that he had authorized the police to break up illegal gatherings. And he appears to have followed through on that threat. Early Sunday morning, as The Alton Daily News reports, police broke up an illegal gathering at Hiram’s Tavern and issued citations to the people inside.
One of the people inside was allegedly Walker’s wife, who was not identified by name.
In a Monday Facebook post, Walker declined to make excuses for his wife’s alleged behavior.
“My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance, she exhibited a stunning lack of judgement. She now faces the same consequences for her ill-advised decision as the other individuals who chose to violate the ‘Stay At Home’ order during this incident,” he wrote on Facebook.
He also noted that when the Chief of Police informed him that one of the people allegedly inside the bar, he instructed the officer to treat her the same as he would treat any other citizen of Alton.
“I am embarrassed by this incident and apologize to the citizens of Alton for any embarrassment this incident may cause our City,” he wrote.
Every person who was cited for illegally being in the bar has been charged with reckless conduct, a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois.
On Facebook, Walker is getting praised for applying the law equally to everyone in Alton, even his wife.
“He is not using his position for any favors. I think he is doing the right thing,” wrote one user.
“Mayor Walker has a great deal of integrity,” wrote another.
Across the country, police and the judicial system are dealing with scofflaws who flaunt business closures, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders. As Forbes reports, in some jurisdictions, judges are even throwing people into jail, although the American Civil Liberties Union cautions that inside a jail, suspects are at a greater risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus.