Town of Beloit group plans to speak out against police chief

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Saturday, January 15, 2011
— A group of Beloit Township residents want to make sure the entire town isn’t being painted as racist.

Former Rock County Sheriff Howard Erickson is a spokesman for the grassroots group of neighbors, business owners and friends who got together to share concerns about the town’s leadership. Many plan to attend Monday night’s town board meeting, Erickson said.

“It’s so easy to complain,” Erickson said about the group’s motivation. “What good does that do unless you step forward?”

The group plans to attend a regular board meeting Monday where residents will voice their opinions.

The group’s frustrations center around five lawsuits pending in federal court against the town and its police chief, John Wilson. The suits claim Wilson made racial slurs and based his decisions in racist ideals. The claims also state Wilson retaliated against police officers who said his behavior was inappropriate.

The group also is frustrated with the town leadership in dealing with the situation, Erickson said.

In December, former town board Chairman Greg Groves resigned three days after an attorney released a video of Wilson’s deposition in which Wilson repeatedly admits to using the “n” word at work.

Groves already had decided not to run for re-election in April.

On Monday, the board voted 3-1 to temporarily replace Groves with town board member Dave Townsend. Rob Pavlik, who is running unopposed as chairman in the April election, also was nominated to fill the position.

After moving Townsend from the board to the chairman seat, the board deadlocked in its attempt to replace Townsend.

Pavlik was again nominated as was resident Dave Sterna. After three votes with the same 2-2 results, the board decided to wait until board member Dick LaMonte could attend a meeting. LaMonte was absent, and it is not clear when he will attend another meeting.

If you go

What: Regular meeting of the Beloit Town Board

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Beloit Town Hall, 2871 S. Afton Road.

Details: The board could discuss or take action on appointing a replacement town board member. Residents also are expected to address the board about the police chief.

Last updated: 4:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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