Metro-East News

Police investigating Parks over threat to ‘break off’ trustee’s finger

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks is under criminal investigation in connection with his admitted threat to “break off” Trustee Edith Moore’s finger when the two verbally clashed during township board meeting Dec. 14.

Moore made a complaint to the East St. Louis Police Department. On Wednesday, police Detective Carlos Coleman was attempting to interview some of the 20 or so people who attended the meeting. Parks has not been charged with any crime.

The confrontation occurred after Moore told Parks’ mother, Lillian Parks, that she wasn’t interested in what Parks had to say. During the public comment session, Lillian Parks, a former District 189 school superintendent, spoke for over five minutes, in which she praised her son.

Moore told Lillian Parks, “I’m not caring about nothing you have to say.”

Alvin Parks then quickly turned to Moore and said, “And she’s not caring nothing you are talking about.” Moore raised a finger when she angrily told Alvin Parks, “You know you can’t be jumping in my face.” Moore did not bring her finger near Park’s face.

East St. Louis Township Supervisor Alvin Parks

Parks then said, “And you better get your finger out of my face, too. Unless you want it broken off.” Parks then said if Moore continued with her raised finger, “I’ll show you what time it is,” and laughed.

In a letter dated Dec. 17, and printed on township stationary, Parks apologized to Moore for “what may have come across as a threat, when I discussed breaking your finger.” But the letter then blamed Moore for invading his personal space and “using the threatening tone you expressed” against his mother.

Under state law, Parks could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the results of Coleman’s investigation.

Moore said Wednesday that she did not accept the letter of apology because it falsely blamed her for disrupting the meeting, even though Lillian Parks’ comments from the audience went over the time limit and were out of order, she said.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Parks filed a performance bond with Township Clerk Harry Hollingsworth, as required by state law.

The bond should have been filed when he took office in May. It cost $5,100 for a year — 10 times the usual amount for a bond that covers a potential loss of up to $600,000. Parks said he personally paid the fee, which he said was higher than normal because of the notoriety to the township from former supervisor Oliver Hamilton’s five year federal prison sentence for stealing $40,000 in public funds. That prosecution was prompted by a News-Democrat investigation of $230,000 in questionable charges Hamilton made on a taxpayer-backed no-limit American Express card.

A Nov. 17 notification to the township from Equifax, a national credit reporting agency, stated that a bond for Parks was denied following a review of his “credit history.”

George Pawlaczyk: 618-239-2625, @gapawlaczyk