Kane sheriff's lieutenant contests suspension, suggests politics played a role

A Kane County sheriff's lieutenant who ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 2014 wants a judge to review and overturn a three-day suspension he received for how he handled an investigation in late 2017 in which a deputy fired at a burglary suspect.

Willie Mayes Sr., a 26-year veteran who oversees the department's midnight patrol shift and bomb squad, filed his appeal earlier this month, arguing the three-member Sheriff's Merit Commission erred in its ruling that Mayes be suspended without pay for failing to follow procedure in a Sept. 13 episode near Big Rock.

The commission ruled Mayes failed to make a phone call to the department's chief deputy informing him that an officer had used deadly force, which had been the department's past practice.

"You failed to be reasonably aware of the gravity of the situation, leading you to not providing the proper guidance to deputies under your supervision," the commission wrote to Mayes.

Mayes argues the commission wrongly interpreted a state law as well as a sheriff's department policy involving discharge of a firearm. The single shot fired in the scuffle went through the clothing of the defendant but did not hit him.

"The Sheriff's Merit Commission's final decision and order affirming the three-day suspension of Lt. Mayes was arbitrary, capricious and contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence," wrote Mayes' attorney, Patrick Kinnally, who declined to comment further when reached by phone.

Mayes did not return an email or phone messages this week.

Kramer, a Republican who won the November 2014 election against Democrat Mayes, said he disagreed that Mayes' suspension could be perceived as politically motivated, calling it "fair and appropriate."

"It's pretty cut and dried. We have policies that govern the use of force," Kramer said. "Lt. Mayes was the lieutenant in charge of the shift. He oversaw officers handling the scene."

In the March 20 primary, Mayes and Sgt. Ron Hain are running for the Democratic nomination for sheriff. Kramer also is seeking another term and will face Sgt. Kevin Tindall for the Republican nomination. The winners will square off in the Nov. 6 election.

Mayes' lawsuit is next due in court April 20.

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