Over the weekend, State Representative John Cabello replied to a Facebook user who asked him if, “now is it time to lock and load? Asking for a friend.” Cabello replied to the comment by saying, “not yet but be ready.”
Winnebago State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite-Ross said in a press release that the representative’s rhetoric is unacceptable. She said that, "In my office, if anyone made comments of that nature, they would no longer be employed by my office."
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara was also concerned about Cabello’s comment, and said that the representative's comments could be interpreted to, “at worst to incite violence and at best not promote peace. We must expect high levels of professionalism and performance from those who serve and represent us and his post was incendiary and not befitting of a public servant.”
Cabello released a statement on Facebook saying that his comment had been misconstrued. Cabello has served as a police officer and detective.
The comments come after a weekend in which hundreds of people gathered for a “Back the Blue” rally where Cabelo was a featured speaker. Over the weekend, officers arrested 17 counter protestors on charges related to Mob Action and Resisting Arrest.
- Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.