DIXMOOR, Ill. (STMW) – The mayor of south suburban Dixmoor allegedly choked a 21-year-old temporary worker after he asked to work overtime.
Mayor Keevan Grimmett, 53, is charged with simple battery, a misdemeanor, according to the State Police. He is accused of grabbing Andre Mitchell by the shirt collar and choking him on Oct. 5.
A village trustee, Michael Smith, is calling on Grimmett to resign. “This shows he can’t handle himself,” Smith said.
Grimmett declined to comment, except to say that he intends to stay in office and that Smith is a “trustee with political ambitions.” Grimmett’s term expires in 2013.
Mitchell was a worker in the state’s Putting Illinois to Work program. He mowed grass, filled potholes and did other maintenance work for the Dixmoor public works department.
Mitchell said he discovered that other temporary employees were offered overtime work. He said he approached the mayor to ask for extra work, too. Mitchell said the mayor became annoyed, saying he was visiting the public works department to talk to its superintendent, and not Mitchell.
Mitchell said it was about 4:30 p.m. and his shift was over. He said he walked away from the mayor because he needed to get to his other job at Sears, which started at 5 p.m.
“The mayor grabbed me by the shoulder in front of the workers, including his full-time employees,” Mitchell said. “He said, ‘Let me speak to you, young man.’ We went back to the barn that stores the tractors and backhoes. He grabbed me by the neck and said he didn’t like the way I was talking to him. I pushed his hands down and he choked me again. I ran out of the garage and left.”
Mitchell said he was fired later that week after meeting with the mayor and the public works superintendent.
Mitchell said two co-workers have backed up his account to a state police investigator. The State Police arrested Grimmett on Jan. 6 after he turned himself in at the Riverdale Police Department, a State Police spokesman said. Grimmett appeared in court Friday in Markham and the case was continued to Monday, officials said.
Mitchell said he was uninjured after the confrontation with Grimmett, but found the alleged choking “humiliating.” He said he continues to work at Sears and is a student at Moraine Valley Community College where he is studying secondary education.
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