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Legal Newspaper

Trustee Airdo verbally abused Bartlett officers

Trustee Airdo verbally abused Bartlett officers

 (Part one)

 

  Bartlett’s Acting Village President, Mike Airdo, interfered with a traffic stop and verbally abused Bartlett police officers last January, according to an interoffice memorandum on file at the Bartlett Police Department.

  As part of The Examiner’s newly-launched investigative series on image, ethics and abuse of power in local government, Airdo is the first in a series of profiles of local elected officials from Bartlett, Hanover Township and other units of municipal government. In the wake of recent, contentious Village Board meetings in which trustee standards of conduct have been debated, The Examiner filed an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request with the Bartlett Police Department.

  The village’s 24-page response to that request revealed extensive police records detailing Airdo’s multiple contacts with local law enforcement since 2006, during all of which time he was a sitting village trustee.

  Significant among those records is an incident occurring shortly after midnight on Jan. 30, 2011. According to the memorandum, a Bartlett police officer stopped a car for improper lane usage at Railroad and Western avenues at 12:11 a.m. Upon approaching the stopped car, the officer smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver’s breath and conducted field sobriety tests. During this testing period, the driver told the officer that a “village official” was on his way and would “clear this up,” and that the driver was, in fact, on his way to the official’s house.

  In short order, Trustee Airdo and his father arrived at the scene. Still wearing a tuxedo after a Mardi Gras party at the Fire Barn, Airdo—with a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath”—announced that he was a “Bartlett Village Trustee.” After some shouting by Airdo and his father, a second police officer noticed both men approaching the squad car of the first officer, who was seated inside and writing the warning notice for improper lane usage. The second officer took quick action to protect his fellow officer by placing himself between the squad car and the advancing men.

  Then, the second officer offered to walk both Airdo and his father back to their car to explain what was happening and why, whereupon Airdo’s father shouted: “You guys are a bunch of a**holes!” and walked away.

  But Airdo refused to move from the eastbound lane of Railroad Avenue, whereupon the second officer advised him: “I don’t want you to get hit by a car. Let’s get out of the street.”

  Airdo refused: “No, if I get hit by a car, it’s on me.”

  The officer asked again: “No, we are conducting a traffic stop, and you are interfering. Please get out of the street.”

  Airdo cursed the officer: “You’re an a**hole!”

  The officer then pleaded: “Aren’t we on the same team? Please come to your car so I can explain to you what’s happening.”

  Airdo replied that he and the police were not on the same team and that the police were a “bunch of a**holes.” Airdo then yelled that the driver of the car originally stopped for improper lane usage was “going to my house! He’s fine to drive!” and commanded that the police “Let him go!”

  The officer explained to Airdo that his friend, who had already been determined to not be impaired by field sobriety testing, would soon be released from the traffic stop after a warning notice was issued for improper lane usage.

  Airdo disregarded the police procedures and shouted past the officer to his friend: “Just go to my house! Go to my house! Go ahead and leave!”

  The officer instructed the driver to not leave the scene and advised Airdo that “he was interfering with the traffic stop.”

  Airdo then went on the attack: “I don’t trust you guys! You’re a bunch of a**holes! You guys are harassing us!” Airdo again started walking toward his friend’s vehicle. Ordered by the police to stop, Airdo exploded: “I’m a village official! I can go anywhere!” Airdo continued to walk toward his friend’s vehicle.

  The officer tried one last time: “Please, you are putting me in an uncomfortable position, and I don’t want to arrest you for obstructing.”

  Airdo demanded the officer’s name and demanded that the chief of police be called “now!”

  A supervising sergeant then arrived, whereupon Airdo began walking toward his own vehicle, where his father again insulted the police officers by calling them “a**holes.” The sergeant eventually defused the situation, and all parties finally left the scene.

  The Examiner anticipates having the opportunity to review and report upon additional related police records—specifically the in-car video and audio recording documenting the Jan. 30 incident detailed above—in a follow-up story later this month.





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