A video posted to Facebook showing a stumbling woman who holds a beer as she crashes into a girl riding a bicycle has caused a social media stir in Clinton County involving a potential candidate for state representative.
The potential candidate, Dale Lappe III, posted the video to Facebook with the caption: “When Trump’s wall fails, so you have to take matters into your own hands.” The girl on the bicycle, who fell to the sidewalk, appears to be Hispanic.
Lappe has since removed the video, although several Facebook users have downloaded it. Lappe received but did not respond to messages sent to him by a reporter via Facebook.
In a subsequent Facebook post, Lappe wrote: “It’s not racist, it’s just funny. Everyone that made it about race might need to step back and evaluate their own morals. Also, it’s a joke not a (expletive), don’t take it so hard. That’s all I have to say about that.”
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The incident happened Saturday in Beckemeyer. The village president, Josh Mensing, said there is an “ongoing investigation” regarding the video. He declined further comment.
On a candidate page on Facebook, Lappe announced last year that he is running as an independent for state representative in Illinois House District 107, which covers parts of Clinton, Bond, Marion, Fayette and Effingham counties. That page has been deleted from Facebook since Monday. Lappe has not yet filed to be a candidate with the State Board of Elections, but there is still time for candidates to file paperwork to run as write-ins.
It’s not clear whether Lappe shot the video himself or if he simply uploaded it to Facebook after it was shared by someone else.
The woman in the video could not immediately be reached for comment. In the video, she’s holding a bottle of beer and cell phone while perched, unrestrained, on the passenger side of a Jeep traveling on Louis Street in Beckemeyer. Music is blaring on the radio, and at one point, the woman points to something off-camera. A few seconds later, the Jeep is pulled to the side of the street, and the woman leaps from the Jeep and stumbles into the girl on the bicycle. Both the woman and the girl fall to the sidewalk.
Some Facebook commenters argued that the woman’s actions appear intentional, while others argued that she fell accidentally while intoxicated. Some commenters also characterized Lappe’s post as racist, regardless of whether the collision was intentional or accidental.
Family members of the girl on the bike, when contacted by a reporter, said they have been advised not to comment on the matter.
No charges had been filed in connection with the video as of Tuesday morning. A representative of the Clinton County State’s Attorney’s Office said prosecutors had not yet received any report on the matter.
The woman in the Jeep, who is not being identified by the News-Democrat because no charges have been filed against her, has twice been previously charged with misdemeanor battery in Clinton County. In a 2002 case, she received a year of court supervision. In a 2008 case, she received a year of probation, one day in jail and was ordered to undergo alcohol treatment.
Facebook posts indicate the woman met up twice on Saturday, at bars in Beckemeyer and Germantown, with participants in a “poker run” for a charitable organization. Organizers of the poker run said the woman was not a participant in the poker run.