Chilling Free Speech in Island LakeI haven't seen the complaint against disabled Vietnam Veteran Greg Kachka made to the Island Lake Police Dept., but reportedly it was stimulated by Village Trustee Debbie Herrmann and Clerk Christine Kaczmarek a month and a half ago.
Kachka had been critical of the village board.
Was the arrest for disorderly conduct retribution?
As my son says, “You're not in my mind.”
But it certainly will have a chilling effect on free speech at village board meetings.
Wonder where the ACLU is when they could be useful.
Kachka called me this afternoon to tell me a Fox News crew would be coming out to do a story.
I decided to drive over.
But, before I went this is part of what Kachka told me.
“This Debbie Herrmann is really famous for making faces at people.”
Although he is Polish, Kachka said, “I talk with my hands. They're saying I made my hand into a gun and I was shooting at (them).”
He explained that nothing was said at the meeting.
“It wasn't until Monday, (March) 17th that he (a policeman) started an investigation.”
He came over and “I showed him my guns (and my) FOID card.
“I FOIed (filed a Freedom of Information request) for a copy of the report to Christie Kaczmarek. She denied it due to the privacy of the people accusing me. (So much) for my rights.”
He appealed to Village President Tom Hyde. No luck there either.
Kachka talked to a policeman the day before he was arrested and this is what he heard:
“The state's attorney (Lake County's) said we could arrest you on disorderly conduct. We could do it the easy way. You could come I with $75.”Kachka said he wanted to talk to his lawyer first. The prepaid legal services folks told him had to be arrested before they could help him.
He finally called the Island Lake Police and said, “I didn't do anything wrong. I'm not turning myself in.”
At this point in our conversation, his cell phone rang. It played the Marine hymn. You know, “From the halls of Montezuma...”
By then I was trying to produce a map to find his home.
When I arrived in Island Lake, there was a crowd in front and the Fox News crew was inside while Kachka was trying to find the part of the village meeting which had been called into question. The story I got was that the village officials thought he was pointing his had like kids do when they don't have a gun. (Kids probably get sent home from school for that in some school districts, zero tolerance and such.)
They had probably picked up the story from the Daily Herald, which had a picture of Kachka wearing the offending tee shirt—the same one he wore when taken to jail to post $500 bond. So far, nothing in the Northwest Herald.
Fox reporter Darian Trotter and his crew had made the 2-hour trip out. I told him the second time it wouldn't seem so long.
He interviewed police sergeant Anthony Sciarrone, who said the complaint was more about Kachka's hand gesture than his tee shirt.
I wonder why it took so long for the powers that be in Island Lake to act on whatever fear that the complaining village officials supposedly perceived.
But remember, Island Lake has "friendly people."
In the group shot on Greg Kachka's flag bedecked front lawn are Laurie Rabattini, who has the "What's happening in Island Lake?" blog, her finance, who was filming also, Rob Rekosiewicz, Tom Martin, a former trustee, Bob Wargaski pointing with his unloaded hand, Dave Labuz, and Teresa and Village Trustee John Ponio the current trustee, plus homeowner Kachka.
The Tribune ran a story today on page 3 of the metro section, but is featuring a full-color version of Kachka in his tee shirt on its web page. No credit to the blogger who broke the story, although Laurie Rabattini, who writes "What's Happening in Island Lake?" is quoted in the story.
All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. Posted first on McHenry County Blog.