Freedom of speech is under attack in Decatur, Illinois. On the morning of Saturday, May 10, Decatur police attacked the home of Napoleon Williams and Mildred Jones, arresting the two founders of Black Liberation Radio.
Police officers equipped with shields and gas mask cut off the electric power to the house and completely destroyed the front door. The raid was the latest of many acts of official harassment. For seven years, Black Liberation Radio, a small, unlicensed FM station, has courageously exposed official misconduct in central Illinois.
Napoleon Williams and Mildred Jones have paid a high price for their work with BLR. An Illinois state agency took custody of the couple's older daughter in 1992 and of the youngest daughter in 1994. The couple is still fighting to regain custody of those two children.
The police arrested Napoleon on a warrant from a grand jury that was called for by a man from the Illinois attorney general's office, rather than by the Macon County State's Attorney. This is because Napoleon is charged with felony eavesdropping. What he did was to place a call on the air to a person with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and inquired about the status of his children. Over the air, the person admitted to knowing that the case did not hold water.
Mr. Larry Fichter, the Macon County state's attorney who has been on a campaign to get BLR for seven years, could not let Napoleon take a tape of this conversation to court. Napoleon was quickly arrested and a raid subsequently occurred on January 9, in which the radio equipment and other material, including a computer, compact disc, and compact disc players were taken by the police. After this raid, a warrant was issued for Napoleon for felony eavesdropping.
The May 10 raid was conducted to take Napoleon and Mildred into custody. Napoleon for the eavesdropping warrant and Mildred for aiding and abetting a fugitive. This charge against Mildred has violated her parole [stemming from a very questionable conviction for shoplifting] and she is due to be sentenced around June 20. Her probation will most likely be revoked and she will have to serve the remainder of her sentence of six years.
She is presently five months pregnant and will give birth in jail. Her very real fear is that when her probation is revoked, Napoleon will still be fighting his legal case; thus, DCFS will have a clear path to get both of them declared unfit parents. This action will assure that the newest baby will become state property immediately after birth.
Rock Out Censorship joins numerous of groups and organizations in calling for instant action to stop the present situation from playing itself out. In just weeks, Mildred is due to be sentenced. We must get the charges on both Napoleon and Mildred thrown out. Contact the Illinois Attorney General's office, or the state's attorney office in Macon County, or pitch in for Napoleon's Defense Fund.
TO MAKE A DONATION: Make out a check to "Mildred Jones" and indicate in the memo section of the check that it is for Black Liberation Radio. Mail it to Black Liberation Radio, 629 E. Center Street, Decatur, Illinois 62526.
TO PROTEST THE ARREST: Contact Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan. Phone 217-782-9082, Fax: 217-524-7740. A direct e-mail address could not be found for Attorney General Ryan, but you can go to his official web site at http://www.acsp.uic.edu/~ag/ and leave him a message in the "comments" section of his Guestbook. Contact the Macon County state's attorney's office at 217-424-1440.
TO OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION: Call Black Liberation Radio at 217-423-9997.