Former police officer and current Washington Park trustee Clyde “Stonewall” Jackson received a settlement of $38,000 in back wages Tuesday night from his own board, even though he never filed an appeal claiming he was unjustly fired.
The village’s former police chief said Jackson left the department after he mishandled a shooting that remains unsolved.
While employees in cash-strapped Washington Park went unpaid Tuesday, a regular payday on the 15th of the month, Mayor Rickie Thomas handed Jackson an envelope containing a $12,000 village check. The resolution, which was written by Thomas, called for Jackson to be paid $1,000 a month until the remaining $26,000 has been paid.
The measure passed 3-1 with trustees Mary McKinney, James Madkins and Debbie Moore voting in favor. Trustee Ferris Williams voted against it, and Trustee Juliette Gosa was absent. Jackson abstained from voting.
Jackson hung up after a reporter identified himself. Thomas could not be reached for comment. Thomas and Jackson are political allies.
The resolution stated that Jackson claimed he was owed for 4 1/2 years of back pay.
Former mayor Ann Rodgers, who attended the meeting, said she was shocked that the resolution went through because Jackson had never presented an actual claim in writing to the village.
“This was just something Rickie wrote up. Rickie gives him a lump sum payment on a payday when the employees don’t get their money? It’s a bad look. A bad look,” Rodgers said.
“During my time as mayor we went through all the outstanding claims and our lawyer, Eric Evans, settled the ones that were legitimate. I never saw anything from Stonewall,” Rodgers said, referring to Jackson by his nickname.
Rodgers said village attorney Robert Sprague was asked during the meeting whether he had reviewed the resolution beforehand and he said he hadn’t seen it. Sprague, who is the St. Clair County Democratic Committee chairman, could not be reached and does not routinely talk to the news media.
Former trustee Carlene Tucker, who heard about the settlement, said: “Rickie Thomas is acting like Trump ... bullying people. paying people off. It’s a mess. I don’t trust him.”
Trustee James Madkins, who voted to pay Jackson, said: “He had issues. He had problems. It wasn’t going to go away.”
Former Washington Park Police Chief Dave Clark said as he remembers there was a shooting of Kevin Anderson, of St. Louis, in July 2011, and Jackson and then village officer Bruce Moore failed to properly investigate it. He said the shooting involved a man exiting his vehicle at a convenience store who was shot and left wounded on the ground. A police video shows a Washington Park police car pulling up outside the convenience store until an ambulance arrived. Jackson and Moore drove by without initially calling for an ambulance, Clark said. Moore is now deceased.
Clark, the former head of the drug investigation unit for the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, said that not long after the shooting, he was removed as chief but recalled that Jackson was told to fill out proper reports on the shooting but didn’t. Clark said Jackson never came back with the reports and was removed from the payroll.
Clark said Jackson was a part-time officer and could be removed at any time.
Ray Coleman, who was a village financial consultant under Rodgers, said he and Evans, the former village attorney, spent days reviewing claims against the village, deciding to pay those that seemed to be legitimate. These payments were brought to the trustee board and were approved.
“To my knowledge, he (Jackson) never got a lawyer, never submitted a claim. Nothing. We never found any paperwork,” Coleman said.