“Justice for Alexis”: Dolton protestors arrested during village meeting (Dolton, IL) – Some protesters calling for justice for a 19-year-old who died after an incident involving police from the Village of Dolton were arrested Wednesday.
One of them was activist Camiella Williams, who said she was charged with disturbing the peace and arrested during a homeowners meeting held by the mayor and department heads at village hall. Williams and other protesters stood on a street across from the outdoor meeting chanting “Alexis Wilson” and holding signs that read “Justice for Alexis.”
She said the group wanted answers about a situation that left Alexis Wilson fatally shot and wanted two of the officers involved to be fired. This was one of a string of protests held since July, but the response to their demonstrations only strengthened Williams’ suspicions of the village.
“At no point have we harmed the mayor, yet we are met with armed force,” Williams said. “We just want answers.”
“I’m not backing down for Alexis,” Williams added.
Williams and other advocates have been protesting about an incident that took place on July 27 around 1 a.m. on Oakley Avenue and Sibley Boulevard at a Baba’s Steak and Lemonade. Dolton police have said they were called to the restaurant for reports of a woman with a gun in the drive-thru. When they arrived, a male passenger in Wilson’s red van got out of the car but police said Wilson refused. She then sped off, allegedly using her vehicle as a weapon, dragging an officer on the passenger side. That’s why police said they fired their weapons.
The shooting is being investigated by the Illinois State Police and an autopsy report hasn’t been released to the public. But, Rahsaan Gordan, a lawyer representing Alexis’ parents, said Wilson was shot seven times and twice in the head.
Williams, Wilson’s parents and the lawyer say the police’s version is not the whole story. Since the incident, the village has spun “a false narrative” about what happened on that July morning, Gordon said.
“They said she was outside waving a gun around, tried to use her car as a weapon and that she dragged a police officer. None of that is true,” he said.
Wilson got into an argument with a worker at the drive-thru who said they were closed, despite the fact that Wilson ordered her food online, Gordon said, noting the restaurant was also open for 10 more minutes. After the worker closed the window, Wilson is shown on video footage holding a long pole of some kind – not a gun – as she bangs on a drive-thru window to get a worker’s attention, he said.
Gordon also notes that one of the responding officers punched Wilson after telling her to get out of the van. The punch was uncalled for, he said, since Wilson refused to get out because she wasn’t fully clothed.
“From the time he told her to get out to him punching her, it was less than a minute,” he said. “A hallmark of policing is de-escalation. This is not a fancy word, this is literally your job.”
Moments after she was seemingly punched a second time, Wilson sped off out of fear for her life, Gordon said.
He also stated that the claim about Wilson using her vehicle as a weapon and dragging a police officer is also unsubstantiated. Gordon cited unreleased video that Gordon has seen, in addition to eyewitness testimony. That video shows Wilson wasn’t aware the officer had jumped into the van, he added.
“These terms like “dragging” are strategically used because it sets up a defense for officers in the future,” he said.
Williams said the incident highlights the need for a police accountability board for Dolton and other south suburbs. At the homeowners meeting, Mayor Henyard said she created an office to investigate police related incidents. The office will perform a preliminary investigation of incidents before they are sent to the Illinois State Police. An officer in charge of that office started on Aug. 5. Williams isn’t satisfied with that.
“It should have already been in place,” she said.
Meanwhile, Wilsons parents are still coping with the loss of their daughter. Alexis’ mom, Cara, said she was “the light and the life of this house.”
“She was the one who kept us all going,” she added.
Alexis’ father, Alonzo said she was a kid at heart and was really caring.
“She was the one coming like what we gone do for mothers day, what are we getting daddy for fathers day,” he said.
“Justice for Alexis”: Dolton protestors arrested during village meeting