DiCianni: I won't apologize for standing up for cops
Amid continuing fallout from his actions during a recent pro-police rally in Elmhurst, DuPage County Board member Pete DiCianni says he has no intention of stepping down from office.
More than 1,400 people have signed a change.org petition calling for the Elmhurst Republican to resign. The online petition was started by a Hinsdale group supporting Black Lives Matter.
In addition, at least two county board Democrats want DiCianni censured for the way he confronted counterprotesters during the "Back the Blue" event on June 27 outside the Elmhurst police station. And nearly 250 people want to participate in public comment about DiCianni during next week's county board meeting.
On Tuesday morning, DiCianni briefly addressed the controversy during a meeting of the county's health and human services committee. DeCianni, who is chairman of the committee, spoke after written comments from seven critics -- two of whom do not live in DuPage County -- were read aloud.
"My passion got to me, I apologize for that," DiCianni said. "But I do not apologize for standing up for the men and women in blue that protect our community."
After the meeting, DiCianni said he has no plans to resign and has received phone calls and messages of support from roughly 1,000 people. He also questioned whether county board rules allow for a censure, which is essentially a public admonishment.
"There are no rules to do that," he said.
Board members Elizabeth Chaplin of Downers Grove and Mary FitzGerald Ozog of Glen Ellyn are pushing for the censure.
Chaplin said DiCianni showed a lack of respect for the safety of others by "yelling" at counterprotesters without wearing a mask during a pandemic.
In one video from the event, DiCianni is seen holding a homemade "We back police" sign and talking in defense of the Elmhurst Police Department.
"We've got a great PD," he says on the video. "We respect everybody. We love this town. We love our cops."
He says "God bless" and walks away.
In another video clip, DiCianni is seen going up to a woman who is holding a megaphone and saying something close to her face.
"It is disgraceful that he yelled directly into a young woman's ear without a mask, recklessly endangering her health simply because she disagrees with DiCianni," Elmhurst resident Sheila Evans wrote in a comment to the health and human services committee. "If Mr. DiCianni is unable to show proper judgment and doesn't have the stable temperament required for the job, I recommend he resign."
DiCianni said he was wearing a mask at the start of the "Back the Blue" event but took it off when counterprotesters started using megaphones and cowbells.
"I took it (the mask) off so I could be heard," he said.
He said counterprotesters were trying to disrupt a peaceful gathering of law enforcement families. He said he became emotional because the counterprotesters were using obscenities and insulting the police.
"That's not tolerable," he said. "That's wrong."
DiCianni, who has been a county board member since 2012, served as Elmhurst mayor from 2009 to 2012.
While he won't apologize for defending police, DiCianni said he regrets his crude response to an email from a resident demanding his resignation.
"It was a lapse of judgment in how I responded to the email," he said.