A mayor of a small Illinois city threatened arrests for violators of the state’s state-at-home order during the coronavirus outbreak — only for his wife to be busted at a bar the following night.
Brant Walker, mayor of Alton, Illinois, said in a briefing on Friday: “These are very serious times and I’m begging you to please stay at home … I have directed the police department to use their discretion in issuing citations or making arrests for those refusing to follow the state-issued stay-at-home mandate.”
Less than 48 hours later, police found Walker’s wife, Shannon at Hiram’s Tavern in downtown Alston when they broke up an illicit gathering in the watering hole around 1 a.m. Sunday, the mayor admitted in a statement.
The mayor apologized to the city, saying he was “embarrassed” and that his wife had exhibited a “stunning lack of judgment.”
“I instructed the Police Chief to treat her as he would any citizen violating the ‘Stay At Home’ order and to ensure that she received no special treatment,” Walker said.
Illinois’ order prohibits public and private gatherings of any number of people outside a single household or living unit.
But Alton Police Department had received several complaints that the tavern was continuing to operate on weekends, the department said in a statement.
Walker’s wife was discovered among “several” people “located inside Hiram’s Tavern in an area outside public view, clearly disregarding the executive order and public pleas for compliance,” the department said.
Criminal complaints for reckless conduct were issued “against every person found gathering at the bar,” police said. Each will be summoned to court with a Class A misdemeanor charge carrying up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $,2500.
They were the first complaints doled out under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order announced back on March 20, The Telegraph in Alton reported.
The bar’s owner, Hiram Y. Lewis, faces additional, unrelated charges, according to police.
Lewis was taken into custody and transported to the Alton Jail on an active warrant for his arrest out of Madison County for domestic battery.
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