Sheriff: Politics not a factor in trustee's arrest

April 29, 2010

The arrest is another blow to the town of 3,400 which continues to be bullied by the poor economy and is considered one of the poorest suburbs in the nation.

The family of the Ford Heights trustee- who has not been identified because he has not yet been charged- said the man's arrest is payback for a scuffle the trustee had with Cook County sheriff's deputies almost a year ago.

"They came in looking for drugs, cannabis, firearms anything that they can find on the search warrant and they didn't find any of those things up in here," said Antonio Adams, village trustee's stepson.

Cook County sheriff's officials say the arrest of the village trustee was the result of a 2 month drug investigation and not a vendetta.

"Routinely when a lot of people get into problems they find a lot of different explanations as to why it occurred and I've heard political motivations quite frequently before," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

When the trustee was taken into custody Thursday morning, investigators said they found cocaine and a gold badge. Officers served search warrants on both the village official's home and his daughter's residence -- where they found a firearm, but not the other man they were looking.

"They told me and my kids to get on the floor get on the ground, lay down. I mean, these are little kids, why?" said the trustee's daughter.

Town officials have not commented on the arrest.

Last year, the same trustee was arrested for allegedly striking a sheriff's deputy during an argument with a liquor store clerk.

Some Ford Heights residents said they are fed up not just with the current administration, but also the Cook County Sheriff's Office, which took over policing the town two years ago after the village could no longer afford to pay officers.

"It's demoralizing, but it's come to the point where it's expected," said Kamil Walton, resident.

On Thursday, a handful of residents took to street corners to protest the corruption they say is destroying their town.

"We go forward. We intend to take back our community. They stole it and we're going to take it back with the help of God," said Rhonda McMillian, Ford Heights resident.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office says the trustee remains in custody and formal charges are still pending.

When he was arrested, investigators found a Ford Heights tractor in his front yard -- one they say he admitted to using at his home -- which is a violation.

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