News - Joliet and Will County

Lurry family members grill Joliet City Council

Members of the Will County Progressives protest police brutality and demand criminal justice reform Tuesday outside Joliet City Hall in Joliet.

Eric Lurry’s family on Tuesday grilled the Joliet City Council over his death, a police video that has recently become public, and an internal investigation that has led to a whistleblower being stripped of police duties.

Several relatives and others questioned Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and council members during a City Council meeting that edged upon an open debate over the Lurry incident, police reform and city politics.

"You have created a monster," Anthony Terrell, a friend of the family, said as he insisted people would continue to call for accountability from police and other city officials.

"We are a large family," Meshona Mitchell said, telling the council that "we are going to be everywhere you go."

At one point O'Dekirk and council member Bettye Gavin got into a heated discussion with one another over a letter calling for an outside investigation into the matter.

O'Dekirk at another point told the group that former interim City Manager Martin Shanahan was trying to make changes in police administration when he was removed from that position by a council majority.

A few of the speakers thanked O'Dekirk for calling for an outside investigation into the Lurry case.

But Cedric Johnson-El told the mayor, "We're coming for you."

"I remember you," Johnson-El said to O'Dekirk. "You're nasty."

Johnson-El later said he was referring to O’Dekirk’s past days as a Joliet police officer.

Eventually, Police Chief Al Roechner came to the meeting after his presence was demanded by a couple of the speakers and read a statement prepared earlier, criticizing “the false narrative that has been put out regarding that there was not an outside investigation done, video evidence was withheld and that the Joliet Police Department was covering up evidence.”

Several of the speakers questioned why Sgt. Javier Esqueda, who provided a portion of video from Lurry's arrest to a media outlet, has been stripped of police duties.

Roechner said both Esqueda and Sgt. Doug May, the undercover officer who is seen in the Lurry video, were put on administrative leave Monday during an outside investigation into the matter.

Roechner later met with some of Lurry's relatives and discussed the matter outside the council chambers.

O’Dekirk, while attempting to regain control of the meeting, pointed out that it was not a town hall meeting but added, “Maybe we should have one.”

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News