DuPage County Board member calls for censure of colleague for conduct at protest

  • Pete DiCianni

    Pete DiCianni

  • Elizabeth Chaplin

    Elizabeth Chaplin

 
 
Updated 6/29/2020 4:39 PM

A DuPage County Board member wants to censure fellow board member Pete DiCianni for his actions during a pro-police rally Saturday in Elmhurst.

In a letter addressed to Chairman Dan Cronin, Elizabeth Chaplin said she's "deeply troubled and disturbed" by what she called DiCianni's "aggressive actions, inappropriate language and complete lack of respect for the safety of others" during the Blue Lives Matter gathering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Without wearing a mask, he yelled in the faces of my constituents and boasted about being a county board member and mayor, painting all of us with the same brush," wrote Chaplin, who is a Downers Grove Democrat. "This behavior is unbecoming to the office of a member of the DuPage County Board."

She notes that DiCianni -- an Elmhurst Republican -- is chairman of the county's health and human services committee.

DiCianni and Chaplin both represent District 2, which covers all or portions of Addison, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont and Woodridge.

DiCianni released a statement Monday saying Elmhurst has allowed Black Lives Matter protesters to demonstrate without conflict.

"We gave them a permit and a safe venue," DiCianni said. "Unfortunately, that courtesy was not given to our police officers and their families."

He said attendees of Saturday's pro-police rally were "met with hatred from young kids with megaphones." He said the counterprotesters were "shouting at and taunting our police officers and their families."

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In a video from the event, pro-police supporters are chanting "Fund the blue" as they walk past counterprotesters, who are chanting about Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in Louisville.

At one point, DiCianni is seen going up to a woman holding a megaphone and saying something close to her face.

In another video, DiCianni is seen holding a homemade "We back police" sign and talking in defense of the Elmhurst Police Department.

"I was mayor of this town, and we have a great PD," DiCianni, who isn't wearing mask, says to one of the counterprotesters. "We don't hurt people. We protect them."

Aware that he's being recorded, DiCianni at one point tells the person taking the video to "make sure you post all that."

"We've got a great PD," he said. "We respect everybody. We love this town. We love our cops."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He says "God bless" and walks away.

As a member of the county's judicial and public safety committee, DiCianni on Monday said, "I fully support and will continue to support DuPage County law enforcement. We set the bar on training and policing for others to follow."

But Chaplin says the Illinois Department of Health has issued guidance on the use of masks and that they must be worn when people can't social distance.

"He flagrantly goes out not wearing a mask and yells at people's faces, putting them at risk," Chaplin said Monday. "He didn't have the respect for the safety of the people to put a mask on and protect them."

On Monday, county board member Mary FitzGerald Ozog joined Chaplin in calling for DiCianni's censure. The Glen Ellyn Democrat also says she wants Cronin "to convene a board workshop on race, public safety, and responsible social media use as soon as possible."

Chaplin said she wants the board to censure DiCianni when it meets July 14. A censure is essentially a public admonishment that carries no further penalties.

"Whether a censure happens or not, this will be spoken about at our next board meeting," Chaplin said. "It won't be forgotten."

Cronin responded to Chaplin's letter on Monday by saying he was "offended" by DiCianni's behavior. He said he also was offended by "remarks made on social media," referring to a Facebook post that says DiCianni responded crudely to an email from a resident demanding his resignation.

Cronin wrote to Chaplin, "We are trying to determine what the best course of action is at this point."

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