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The Beat(ing) Goes On

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Topics:  Viking Dodge

The Beat(ing) Goes On

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
October 26, 2008

Recently one of McHenry County's most persistent protestors, Wayne Beto of Marengo, was contacted yet one more time by Crystal Lake Police officers, while he was parked in his favorite parking spot on U.S. 14, just south of IL 176, diagonally across from Viking Dodge.

As you may have read here before, Wayne is the man who tried to buy a new vehicle from Viking Dodge, didn't like the way he was treated, and began to exercise his First Amendment right to free speech by plastering the sides and back of his vehicle with signs urging readers to go to www.RipOffReport.com

Wayne is also the man being sued by Viking Dodge for $500,000; that's right, half a Million dollars! That case has been gathering dust in the McHenry County Court system for two years, only occasionally dusted off for one more continuance. Next court date? February 2. Groundhog Day. Catch the irony of the date?

Wayne recently submitted a FOIA Request to the Crystal Lake PD for a report in which, Wayne says, a Viking Dodge employee frivolously accused him of leaning against the post in the right-of-way where Viking Dodge's mailbox is placed. You know there must a law somewhere in the Compiled Statutes or the Federal Postal Regulations that reads, "It shall be unlawful, especially if you are 73 years old and short of breath, to lean against a U.S. Mailbox for more than two seconds, even if no damage is caused to the mailbox or the post on which it is placed."

Two police officers responded to Viking Dodge and then talked to Wayne. As it happened, I was there that day and can attest that Wayne violated no law. And the police officers agreed.

Wayne has been trying to file a complaint with the Crystal Lake Police Department about the false report. Wayne has been harassed on several occasions by Viking Dodge employees, some of which I have also witnessed. The Crystal Lake Police will not pursue Wayne's complaint.

Last Friday Wayne met with a man who, Wayne said, identified himself as the police chief. Wayne reports that the man said he had not read the police report, but "it" (the complaint) wasn't going anywhere. Wayne understood that to mean that the police department was not going to investigate the possibility that its time and resources had been wasted by a person making a false report.

I know Chief David Linder to be a good police officer, and he and his officers (with one notable exception) have already treated me respectfully. Because of the number of times the police have been called to Viking Dodge to hear whining about Wayne, I would think that the police would eventually explain to the employees there that Wayne is not breaking any law and that they will be prosecuted if they continue to make groundless complaints.

The City Attorney for Crystal Lake has issued a letter to Wayne confirming that the signs on his vehicle are not unlawful and that Wayne's signs fall within his First Amendment rights to free speech.

Maybe Wayne's supporters will all be in court on February 2. Wear your favorite Groundhog Day sweatshirt with Punxsutawney Phil on the back and "You go, Wayne" on the front.

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