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Springfield Mayor Responds To Police Union Over Ald. Gregory Fight

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder speaks at news conference addressing recent gun violence in the city.
Mary Hansen
NPR Illinois
Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder speaks at news conference addressing recent gun violence in the city.

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder clarified Tuesday night comments he made about a video showing Ward 2 Ald. Shawn Gregory in a physical altercation with another man.

This comes after Springfield’s police union, PBPA Unit #5, sent the mayor a letter calling for Gregory to be held accountable for the fight. In the letter, union president Don Edwards said officers feel like the city doesn’t care about them or the difficult job they do, and called reaction to the incident a “double standard.”

“(Union members) feel vilified when they make mistakes, and when an elected official exercises poor judgement, nothing happens at all,” Edwards said in the letter posted to the union’s Facebook page.

At a Friday news conference about gun violence in the city, Langfelder said he was glad the fight did not involve guns or knives, seeming to imply that the physical altercation was OK. He walked back the comments Tuesday night.

“I don't condone the violence,” the mayor said. He then cautioned against judging situations too quickly, saying that things happened before and after that the video didn’t show.

“We should not pass judgment on that moment in time, regardless of the situation,” he said. “That holds true for Ald. Gregory, it holds true for our men and women in the police force.”

Gregory also addressed the incident, which was caught on video last Thursday. The video shows Gregory in an argument with another man. The man pokes Gregory in the eye, and Gregory responds by punching him. The two wrestle to the ground for a minute before being separated.

“I definitely know what's expected of. I make no excuses. I only accept responsibility,” he said.

According to Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow, a police officer went to the scene of the fight and took a report. No arrests were made, and neither decided to press charges.

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