FREEPORT, IL Freeport Mayor Jim Gitz backs the city’s police department after a strongly-worded message directed at a murder suspect is posted on the department’s Facebook page.
This all started Friday, November 14th when a member of the Freeport Police Department took to Facebook, writing a lengthy message directed at murder suspect Damon Dixson. Dixson is wanted in the shooting death of William Strong.
Now the post has been deleted and the city’s mayor tells WREX he believes the police department’s actions were justified.
Here is an excerpt from the post in question. The beginning of this post included a detailed description of Dixson, before reading:
“…if you’re reading this Damon, I hope you know that running away only makes you look like you have something to hide. If you didn’t do this, then turn yourself in and give your side of the story. If you did do this, as we obviously believe you did, then turn yourself in and take responsibility for your actions. Running from a murder warrant and being considered ‘armed and dangerous’ is a very dangerous position for you to be in. Every police officer in the region may now be familiar with your face and I would also guess that there are certain individuals out there that just might be looking to do you harm to even the score. You might want to hurry to the safety of our police station before that happens.”
13 News reached out to multiple city leaders over the phone and received no calls back. So 13 News Reporter Elliot Grandia drove to the mayor’s office and requested an interview. He was able to sit down with Mayor Gitz and ask a number of questions about the post, including whether or not he thought it was an appropriate position for the police department to take.
Gitz responded by saying, “I don’t find anything unusual about that, and I think in a time of social communications, I commend the police department for its aggressiveness because we are serious in Freeport about reducing crime.”
We then asked the mayor if he did not find anything unusual with the post, why it ended up being deleted from the department’s Facebook page.
He responded, saying, “Let’s just simply say that I have reason to believe, as does the [police] chief, that the posting has had its intended effect. In other words people know of it, now it’s up to them on how they react.”
Despite Gitz saying the post did its job, Damon Dixson remains on the the loose. We did reach out to Freeport’s police chief and deputy chief for comment, both did not return our calls.
So the questions remain, who wrote the post and who approved it? Police have not granted us an interview to ask them those questions, but after talking to Mayor Gitz, we now know the protocol when it comes to posts made on the Freeport Police Department’s Facebook page.
“They go through a process and ultimately the police chief has the ultimate sign-off on something major,” Gitz told us.
Again despite this comment, Mayor Gitz did not confirm that the chief gave the final OK of this post.