City manager tells Joliet council his email on police arrest should have stayed confidential

Capparelli said he was passing on preliminary information

City Manager James Capparelli commented Monday at the Joliet City Council meeting about his email concerning a police officer’s arrest but only to say it should never have been made public.

Capparelli on March 27 sent the mayor and City Council an email that Joliet police had taken one of its own officers into custody the night before on charges of domestic battery and possession of a controlled substance.

He did not name the officer. However, the email was sent the morning after the arrest of officer Andrew McCue.

McCue was formally charged March 29 with domestic battery by the Will County State’s Attorney’s office. There were no drug-related charges, and officials have declined to clarify whether there were any drugs involved in the arrest.

“An inquiry into the matter is ongoing,” Carol Cheney, spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office, said Monday.

Capparelli did not address the specifics of his email but said he was passing on preliminary information.

“Before I had all the facts, as the chief of police forwarded me that information preliminarily I forwarded that to each and every one of the members here and the mayor,” Capparelli told the council. “I expected that information to remain confidential.”

The Herald-News reported on the existence of the email and its reference to a charge of possession of a controlled substance, in addition to a domestic battery charge.

McCue was one of the officers involved in the controversial arrest of Eric Lurry Jr. in a drug case in January 2020. Lurry lapsed into a coma during his arrest and died from what authorities determined to be an overdose of self-ingested drugs.

Video of the arrest shows Lurry lapsing into a coma as McCue and another officer probe his mouth before pulling out what appear to be a number of baggies that police said contained narcotics.

Lurry’s widow, Nicole Lurry, a candidate in the City Council election on Tuesday, was at the council meeting but did not speak. Afterward, however, Lurry said information coming out about McCue raises questions about his “state of mind” during said the arrest of her husband.

“He needs to be terminated for his actions,” Lurry said.

Resident Karl Ferrell told the council that it should seek an investigation from the Department of Justice or Illinois Attorney General into all the officers involved in the Lurry situation in light of McCue’s arrest.

“We don’t know what their state of mind was at the time of that situation,” Ferrell said.

Council members did not respond to Capparelli at the meeting, but they did meet in closed session. Some members said last week that they planned to ask Capparelli about his email in closed session.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, however, said the contents of the Capparelli email should not have been made public.

“I think everyone here understands that personnel matters should not be discussed with the media for obvious reasons,” O’Dekirk said.