A small-town Illinois mayor on Sunday sent police officers to break up a social gathering that was being held in violation of the governor’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, only to find his own wife among the revelers.
Alton Mayor Brant Walker on Monday issued a statement on Facebook apologizing to the community and saying that he has instructed the town’s police chief to treat his wife, Shannon, ‘as he would any citizen violating the “Stay At Home” order and to ensure that she received no special treatment.’
The incident began unfolding at about 1am on Sunday, when police contacted Mayor Walker to inform him that they were in the process of breaking up a party at Hiram’s Tavern in downtown Alton. They said it had continued operating on the weekends in violation of Governor JB Pritzker’s March 20 executive order prohibiting all social gatherings to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 12,266 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 52 in Madison County where Alton – a town of 26,000 on the Mississippi River – is located, and 308 deaths statewide.
Police officers busted the illegal party and cited everyone in attendance – including the first lady of Alton – for reckless conduct, a misdemeanor punishable by up to nearly a year jail. They are due in court at a later date.
‘My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance she exhibited a stunning lack of judgement,’ Mayor Walker stated. ‘She now faces the same consequences for her ill-advised decision as the other individuals who chose to violate the “Stay At Home” order during this incident.’