Fire the Rapist yelled by citizens of Dolton at a rally today in front of City Hall (Dolton, IL)-About 20 or more residents and advocates protested in front of Dolton village hall Tuesday, calling for Mayor Tiffany Henyard’s resignation.
Some protestors said they came to the 11 a.m. protest due to a host of issues that have taken place since Henyard has been in office. Many of those issues surrounded unaddressed questions of transparency, a trend they said is continuing to spiral out of control after a Nov. 1 board meeting.
That’s when trustees voted to adjourn the meeting after a virtual chat room was disabled during the live stream. Trustees Kiana Belcher, Brittany Norwood, Tammie Brown and Jason House questioned whether the village waas compliant with the Open Meetings Act in light of that move. Trustee Edward Steave noted residents weren’t sufficiently notified about a new way public comments would be handled.
At the beginning of Henyard’s administration, residents could submit their questions to the board on a virtual chat. Now residents must submit their public comments to a village email address. But even at the beginning of this procedure, residents’ questions were seldom answered, said Valerie Stubbs, former Dolton Trustee and resident.
“These are our tax dollars,” she said. “My taxes are over $20,000 a year to live in the village and you’re telling me I don’t have the right to say what goes in with my tax dollars? I don’t have a voice? That’s unheard of and she’s violating our first amendment rights and she needs to step down and let someone else run for that office that can do the job.”
Dolton resident Trina Downs held a sign that read “fire the rapist,” referring to Lavelle Redmond, a convicted child sex offender, who was hired by the village as a code enforcer. Trustees said they weren’t notified of the hire despite legislation they passed for Henyard to advise and consent the board for firing and hiring.
“As poor as Dolton is, it’s not a man that needs this job with a family that hasn’t done anything to anybody or at least not a violence offense?” Downs said. “She needs to resign. She needs to go immediately.”
Dr. LaShawn Latrice is part of a group that’s been protesting the village’s handling of the death of Alexis Wilson. She said she came out to show support for Dolton residents “in pointing out the insufficiency of a mayor that is ruling like a tyrant.”
“I’ve been to almost every board meeting in the last few months and the behavior is disgusting,” she said. “The inability to communicate without being frustrated is unproductive and these issues they are bringing to light need to be addressed by the mayor and instead of them being addressed she’s throwing a temper tantrum.”
When residents weren’t chanting things like “this is what democracy looks like” or “no justice, no peace” at the protest, they spoke about their frustrations.
“She’s a duplicate of Riley,” said one resident who didn’t want to give her name. “If trustee Henyard knew mayor Henyard, she wouldn’t like herself.”
Trustees Norwood, Brown, House and Steave said they attended the protest to show their support for residents; they declined to comment, noting the day was about them. However, House briefly noted “the residents are entitled to voice their opinions and as elected officials we have to listen to the will of the people.”
Fire the Rapist yelled by citizens of Dolton at a rally today in front of City Hall