Mayor McNamara Disgusted By High-Tension Weekend in Rockford
Rockford's mayor did not use that exact word to describe the entire chaotic weekend downtown but after reading his comments, but he's not happy. Rightfully so. The protests, the tension, the comments on social media - it is sad and disappointing.
The weekend started with Rockford City Market canceling this past Friday's market out of safety concerns for vendors and visitors. This, a week after aggressive protests. It didn't stop protests at East State Street and Water Street Friday evening, where protestors blocked traffic and vocalized their feelings. This led to both Rockford Police and Winnebago County Sheriff's Department getting involved, ultimately leading to tension and arrests. Some of those arrests were "assisted" by civilians, which the mayor does not support.
Though we may have seen a legal explanation that citizens have the right to be involved, I want to be clear - we do not need or want civilians engaging in police activities when the scene is under control by law enforcement.
Mayor McNamara also expressed concern over a social media post shared by State Representative/Rockford Police Officer John Cabello.
I am extremely concerned by a Facebook post by State Rep. and Rockford Police Officer John Cabello that was worded at worst to incite violence and at best not promote peace. We must expect high levels of professionalism and performance from those who serve and represent us and his post was incendiary and not befitting of a public servant.
This was not the end for weekend tension as protestors got chest-to-chest with those attending the "Back The Blue" rally on Saturday. All-in-all, the state of Rockford is deeply disturbing.
Late Sunday evening, Mayor McNamara opened up about "disturbing and disgusting" comments made at members of the community and their families while debating the problems and how to address them.
No one in our community should have family attacked or have threats against them for voicing their opinion. We need to reject systemic and ingrained racism as a community. If you don’t think it exists, you clearly have not been paying attention. Rockford’s diversity should unite us and our Rock River should bring us together. We are better than this and we must be better than this.
His remarks were not all filled with concern as he made "Tell Us Your Story, Rockford" aware and included a link for citizens to share ideas on how to handle mental health crisis calls and more strategically reinvest in our people and in under-served areas of our community.
There are more commonalities that bind us together than those that can split us apart. We are truly strongest when we reject the calls to stand apart and will only move forward when we work together to replace what is broken.
You can read his full statement HERE.