Caseyville chaos: Police chief, mayor get irate on video

News-DemocratFebruary 21, 2014 

Nose to nose, shouting, Caseyville's mayor and police chief loudly bared their issues Wednesday night in front of the Village Board and cameras.

"I've never had control of this police department. Bob Romanik runs this police department," Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez shouted at Mayor Len Black.

Romanik could not be reached for comment. He is a former Washington Park police chief with a felony conviction related to the Thomas Venezia video gambling ring. He now runs local radio stations, hosting a talk show on KZQZ-1430 AM as the "Grim Reaper of Radio." His family members operate strip clubs.

The exchange is caught on a video of the meeting obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

For about three minutes Alvarez and Black went at it over hiring police dispatchers, whether those dispatchers should be from Caseyville and the need for an assistant police chief. At one point Sgt. Frank Moore, who Black appointed interim chief when he tried to fire Alvarez, tries to restrain Alvarez.

"I'm your chief, you go sit down. Now. Sergeant, go sit down. Now. See what it says here? Chief. It doesn't say interim," Alvarez shouts at Moore.

Black on Feb. 12 fired Alvarez without telling the chief, saying he wanted to go in a different direction with the police department administration.

Trustees unanimously voted to keep Alvarez on Wednesday. The audience, also, appeared to back Alvarez.

"You are a disgrace to this community," Alvarez shouted at Black.

"And you're not right now?" Black responded.

"No sir I'm not."

After Alvarez was separated from Black by audience members, Alvarez shouts: "That's what your people want. Someone who will stand up to Bob Romanik."

Alvarez was hired in September following the suicide of former chief J.D. Roth. Roth was facing felony charges for using and then making a deal to buy a pickup seized by his officers during a drug bust.

 

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