Carbondale community members protest, call for mayor’s resignation

By Rana Schenke, News Editor

Over 25 protestors gathered at the Carbondale Civic Center last night for a sit-in protest against Mayor John “Mike” Henry.

“We’re here because Mayor Henry had a domestic dispute right before the election,” Devarsi, a community member and protestor, said. “The police responded to it and it was covered up by [the Henrys] and the police.”

The protest comes after the Southern Illinoisan obtained an SIU Police incident report containing details about the incident in question via a Freedom of Information Act request.

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According to the Southern’s article on the report, details from the report appear to contradict a social media post by Henry about the incident in which he said, “There was never any violence, or threat of violence.”

The report, obtained by the Daily Egyptian, describes injuries to Henry and blood on the clothing of his wife, Theresa “Terri” Henry.

According to a Carbondale Police press statement released April 1, no arrests were made and there were no injuries requiring medical treatment.

The incident report describes a bite mark on Henry’s hand and scratches on his chest. Theresa had bloody clothing and she reported being struck.

The report said arrests were not made due to inconsistencies in the statements given by Henry and his wife and a lack of evidence.

(See more: Police respond to ‘disturbance’ at mayor’s house Saturday night, Henry responds)

Protestors at the Civic Center said they were calling for Henry to resign immediately and would not leave until he did.

“If this happened to anyone else someone would have left in handcuffs, but he was running for mayor and this was a few days before the election,” Devarsi said. “This is not okay and we cannot have someone that is a domestic abuser as our mayor. That’s just not okay.”

According to Devarsi, the group consisted mostly of concerned citizens representing different groups in the city.

Connor Sullivan, a junior studying political science at SIU, said he showed up after seeing the article in the Southern.

“We would have never found out about this had they not filed a Freedom of Information Act,” Sullivan said. “I think the mayor and the police are very well aware that if people saw this report before the election, they would have never voted for this guy.”

Sullivan said he thinks charges should be filed.

“There is no place for domestic violence in a civilized society, and we shouldn’t accept it from our leaders, we shouldn’t accept it from anybody,” Sullivan said.

Julianna Johnson, another protestor, said she finds what happened unacceptable.

“Even though the wife says that it was not a domestic dispute, what woman in a domestic abuse situation would ever say?” Johnson said. “Especially when her husband’s the mayor.”

Johnson said she was not a Henry supporter but was not why she showed up to protest.

“I wouldn’t just sit out just to be like, ‘I don’t like this elected official,’ but it’s a lot different when it’s like 99.9% a probability he beat his wife,” Johnson said. “If this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t come out to a protest against him.”

At the time of publishing, Mayor Henry has not responded to phone calls requesting comment.

Carbondale Public Relations officer Amy Fox said the city could not comment on the protest because of the personal nature of the incident.

News Editor Rana Schenke can be reached at [email protected].

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