By Jim Hagerty
CITY HALL — A man suspended from making public comments during city council meetings earlier this year has returned more scathing words for the people of Rockford.
“[Rockford] is a filthy, bloody city,” Rev. Derrick Shelby told the council last Monday night. “And there some filthy, bloody white men that’s behind it.”
Shelby’s comments surrounded what he says has been a 50-year effort by white leaders to contain the black population. It’s a “containment policy,” he said. And the Winnebago County Jail is a concentration camp for black kids used for the economic, political and social oppression.
“The whole city is soaked with black blood,” Shelby continued. “Every white person in Rockford should be ashamed of what these white men have done. I have named a few of them, but I guess I can’t do that anymore.”
Shelby was referencing his 90-day suspension over comments he made in April, before Mayor Tom McNamara took office. During that session, the self-proclaimed reverend named five men he accused of raping children and killing African-Americans. Rockford school officials, Shelby said, intentionally target black students for undue disciplinary action. Legal staff reviewed audio footage of the meeting and determined the comments were defamatory, leading to the suspension.
McNamara was quick to strike his gavel after the reverend’s three minutes were up Monday night, instead of allowing him to finish his current thought. The mayor cut Shelby off just as he segued into a remark about the United States Constitution.
Earlier in Monday’s meeting, the mayor proclaimed the week of Sept. 17-23 U.S. Constitution Week in Rockford.
Shelby has been a regular speaker during public comments since the Larry Morrissey administration. He brings a similar message to each meeting, calling Rockford a “wicked town and evil city.” His accusations at a Rockford Public School District 205 meeting were similarly targeted, stopping short of naming Superintendent Ehren Jarrett.
“This is a wicked school board up here,” Shelby this summer. “He don’t care about our children. He’s raping black kids.”
Members of the public are afforded three minutes each to speak in front of city council every week. R.