UNITED STATES NEWS

Chicago suburb drops citations against reporter for asking too many questions

Nov 6, 2023, 6:12 PM

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (AP) — Officials in a suburban Chicago community on Monday dropped municipal citations against a local news reporter for what they said were persistent contacts with city officials seeking comment on treacherous fall flooding.

The reversal occurred days after officials in Calumet City mailed several citations to Hank Sanders, a Daily Southtown reporter whose job includes covering the suburb, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday. The Southtown is owned by the Tribune’s parent company,

The tickets from the city of 35,000, located 24 miles (39 kilometers) south of Chicago, had alleged “interference/hampering of city employees” by Sanders.

The Southtown published a story online Oct. 19 and in print Oct. 20 in which Sanders reported that consultants had informed Calumet City officials that their stormwater facilities were in poor condition before September’s historic rains caused flooding.

A day after the story was published online, Sanders continued to report on the issue, drawing complaints from city officials, including Mayor Thaddeus Jones, that he was calling employees to seek comment.

Calumet City attorney Patrick K. Walsh sent a Tribune lawyer a letter Monday dismissing the citations.

Tribune Executive Editor Mitch Pugh said the newspaper is “glad that cooler heads prevailed and Calumet City officials understood the error of their ways and dismissed these charges.”

“We’re glad to see Hank can get back to doing his job serving the readers of the Daily Southtown, and we’ll continue to be vigilant watching how city officials treat him in his capacity of reporter,” Pugh said. “We’ll continue to support our journalists’ right to do their jobs, whether in Calumet City or elsewhere.”

In his letter, Walsh said city employees “have a right to refuse to speak with” Sanders. But, Walsh added: “I understand it would be Mr. Sanders’ position and your argument that he was not harassing anyone.”

The letter from Walsh encourages Sanders to direct his inquiries to the suburb’s spokesperson and concludes: “Mr. Sanders is a nice young reporter and I wish him well with his career.”

On Monday, Sanders was back at work reporting.

The city citations were the latest of several recent First Amendment dust-ups involving city officials and news outlets around the country, following last week’s arrest of a small-town Alabama newspaper publisher and reporter after reporting on a grand jury investigation of a school district, and the August police raid of a newspaper and its publisher’s home in Kansas tied to an apparent dispute a restaurant owner had with the paper.

United States News

Associated Press

Ohio man gets probation after pleading guilty to threatening North Caroilna legislator

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An Ohio man received supervised probation after pleading guilty to threatening to kill a North Carolina state senator in a social media message last year. Nicolas Alan Daniels, of West Portsmouth, Ohio, entered a plea to one felony count of threatening a legislative officer last Thursday in Wake County court, according […]

10 minutes ago

Associated Press

House Ethics Committee will investigate Rep. Henry Cuellar after his federal indictment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee is opening an investigation into Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, after his indictment earlier this month on allegations of bribery, money laundering and working on behalf of a foreign government. The committee said Wednesday that it voted unanimously to take the rare step of pursuing an investigation into Cuellar, […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Murder trial ordered in Michigan killing that stoked anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A man accused of killing his Michigan girlfriend after returning to the U.S. following deportation was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for murder. The case against Brandon Ortiz Vite, a Mexican citizen, became a political flashpoint in April when former President Donald Trump accused the Biden administration of failing to […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Authorities arrest man allegedly running “likely world’s largest ever” cybercrime botnet

WASHINGTON (AP) — An international law enforcement team has arrested a Chinese national and disrupted a major botnet that officials said he ran for nearly a decade, amassing at least $99 million in profits by reselling access to criminals who used it for identity theft, child exploitation and financial fraud including pandemic relief scams. The […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

New Orleans mystery: Human skull padlocked to a dumbbell is pulled out of water by a fisherman

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A human skull padlocked to an exercise dumbbell has been fished out of a New Orleans waterway, leaving police with a mystery on their hands. The skull was found earlier this month by a man using a red rope and a magnet the size of a hockey puck on a bridge […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

A nurse honored for compassion is fired after referring in speech to Gaza ‘genocide’

NEW YORK (AP) — A nurse was fired by a New York City hospital after she referred to Israel’s war in Gaza as “genocide” during a speech accepting an award. Labor and delivery nurse Hesen Jabr, who is Palestinian American, was being honored by NYU Langone Health for her compassion in caring for mothers who […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Chicago suburb drops citations against reporter for asking too many questions