A robot, a panic attack, misdemeanor charges — Cicero pol’s Naperville arrest detailed
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN AND JON SEIDEL Staff Reporters September 2, 2013 11:26AM
Updated: October 4, 2013 6:06AM
A robot, a Cicero politician and the Naperville police.
They all came together in a bizarre barricade situation in Naperville weeks ago that ended with Cicero Town Collector Frances “Fran” Reitz in the bushes outside her boyfriend’s home — and facing charges of misdemeanor battery and resisting a peace officer.
Anthony Garcia, Reitz’s boyfriend and a Town of Cicero mechanic, was charged with a felony for battering a cop and misdemeanor resisting a peace officer. His 18-year-old son was also charged with a misdemeanor.
A Cicero spokesman defends Reitz and Garcia and said the Naperville cops “overreacted” and “wrongfully abused” the two. Cops were there to check on a despondent man inside the home.
But a Naperville police spokesman disagrees and said the couple and the teen got in the way of police, resisted arrest “and battered officers.”
The “chaotic” scene happened earlier this summer in a quiet, west suburban neighborhood.
It began with a call at about 6 p.m. July 31 about a despondent man — Garcia’s relative — who was going through a “rough time lately” and who might have barricaded himself in Garcia’s home, according to police reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
The cops couldn’t get the man, who was living at the home, to come out of the house, and police knew there were weapons inside. So they pulled out some special equipment.
They grabbed a large speaker that can be used for negotiations and tried to talk to the man inside.
And they took out “the robot” — a remote-controlled contraption with a live-feed video camera typically used for hostage situations, to avoid booby traps and generally help officers avoid walking into harm’s way.
“We knew that there was a person inside that was reportedly despondent and suicidal and may have had access to weapons. We sent a robot in to get a look at what was going on in there,” said Naperville police spokesman Sgt. Lou Cammiso.
The robot searched the first floor, went upstairs but it couldn’t reach the man because he was behind a closed door. Police stormed in and found the man in an upstairs bedroom, and paramedics removed the despondent man and took him to a hospital.
As police searched for any drugs or substances the man may have taken, Garcia and Reitz arrived.
Reitz, 51, got belligerent, police said.
According to police:
She yelled at officers. She said they didn’t have a warrant. And she got in their way. They told her to step outside, and she refused. So an officer put his hand on her arm.
Police said she hit the officer. She allegedly tried to push him away. And she began yelling and swearing as an officer tried to lead her out of the home, records show.
“What the f--- are you doing!” Garcia, 50, the homeowner, allegedly yelled next, then he jumped on an officer’s back, pushing all three to the ground and into the bushes next to the front porch. Garcia’s son, Nicholas, also allegedly attempted to punch a detective and pushed another officer in the chest.
Reitz allegedly resisted as officers tried to handcuff her. So did Garcia, at first. Then Reitz complained of a panic attack and chest pain and she was taken to a nearby hospital, records show.
The ordeal took more than two hours, according to records.
Reitz suffered a scrape on her forehead, Anthony Garcia had several on his face, and his son’s head was cut, reports show. Some officers also suffered cuts and scrapes.
Reitz and Anthony Garcia still have their town jobs.
After all, Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said, Reitz was arrested as a private citizen. Asked if the arrest affected Garcia’s employment, Hanania answered in an email, “Why should it?”
He also said, “From what I understand, the Naperville Police overreacted and wrongfully abused Fran and Tony Garcia.”
Reitz plans to plead not guilty, her lawyer said. Her boyfriend already has.
Anthony Garcia’s attorney Donald DeWilkins pointed out the accused town employees are the ones who ended up injured.
“So I guess that probably says a lot about the case,” he said.