Metro East police departments are increasing patrols
By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor
Businesses in Shiloh closed down due to threats of looting on social media. Police in Shiloh, Fairview Heights, and other Metro East towns were made aware of the situation.
The threats of
looting stem from the murder of George Floyd, 46, by a Minneapolis
Police Officer George Chauvin, 44, while in police custody, an event
that was video-recorded. Chauvin was fired by the department and as
of May 29, was charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.
Protests and unrest, including looting and burning, erupted in
Minneapolis and protests have occurred in several cities worldwide,
including nearby St. Louis, where most recently, Highway 44 was shut
Sergeant Sean Joy said “We were tipped off to chatter on Facebook,
and the city of Shiloh was mentioned. Our largest shopping area is
the Green Mount Plaza, so we increased patrol, and then we informed
all of the businesses and left the decision up to them. As of now,
most have closed, including Target and Dierbergs, but there are some
food places still open.”
Sgt. Joy said
“People are understandably upset.”
Rumors on social
media ran rampant that the Fairview Heights Target and other
businesses were closing, but Fairview Heights Police Sergeant James
Mason said “That is not true, it is business as usual in Fairview.”
He did say the
department performed shift change with at least 10 vehicles in the
Target parking lot because of the rumors of looting, so people may
have been responding to seeing an increased police presence.
“There were statements on social media from individuals upset about the current situation, but we do not believe they are substantial. We’re taking it at face value. It doesn’t mean that people won’t come out and exercise their First Amendment right to protest- that doesn’t concern us. What concerns us is when those protests turn angry and violence ensues. Obviously, we want to use caution, and we will protect our businesses and our residents,” said Mason.
Sgt. Mason confirmed that several Metro East businesses in multiple towns were named.
In O’Fallon, FlamentCo’s The Place has suspended deliveries for the evening as a cautionary measure over the threats, and several other businesses are making decisions.
departments have condemned the actions of Chauvin, who had previous
instances of violence.
O’Fallon Police Chief Eric Van Hook released the following
statement about Floyd’s death, saying “The
tragic death of George Floyd while in custody by Minneapolis police
officers has sparked outrage across the nation. As I watched this
disturbing video, I, much like you, was overcome with emotions of
anger, frustration, and confusion as to why these things are
happening. As law enforcement officers, we swore an oath to serve our
communities with compassion, dignity, and respect. George Floyd was
not afforded any of these rights. There is no place for abuse in our
profession and police leaders must stand up and confront these
your Chief of Police, I want to assure you we do not tolerate the
brutal and negligent behavior observed in the video by the
Minneapolis officers which led to the death of George Floyd. We pride
ourselves on being one of the most thoroughly trained police
departments in the area. We train and emphasize the importance of
using of de-escalation tactics to reduce the potential for
confrontations that endanger law enforcement officers and community
members. As stated in the 10 Shared Principles, we value the life of
every person and consider life to be the highest value. This is one
of the tenants of our policing philosophy.
have worked hard for many years to build relationships and trust
within our community. Incidents like this can tarnish the dedication
and reputation we have worked so hard to build. I do not want the
reckless and horrific actions of four Minneapolis police officers to
define our profession and our department. I implore you to continue
working with us to make O’Fallon a community we can all be proud of
and call home.”
Sgt. Joy urges
residents to use caution, and to stay home and let the police handle
anything that may arise from the threats.