A jury deliberated two-and-a-half hours Wednesday before finding former Cordova police officer Ray Goossens guilty of one count of intimidation.
Mr. Goossens, 54, was accused of telling Cordova Dragway Park president Scott Gardner he would not respond to 911 calls at the track if Rich Wallen or Todd Allen -- both former Cordova police chiefs -- was working there as a security guard. The statements allegedly were made May 28, 2011, when Mr. Goossens was a sergeant with the Cordova Police Department.
Mr. Goossens did not testify at the trial and declined comment after the verdict. Nate Nieman, Mr. Goossens' attorney, said an appeal is planned but declined further comment.
Sentencing for Mr. Goossens is scheduled July 16, when he could receive two to 10 years in prison. Judge Michael Meersman on Wednesday allowed Mr. Goossens to remain free on bond until then but ordered him to surrender any firearms in his possession within 24 hours.
Mr. Goossens' trial began Tuesday morning and ended by 11 a.m. Wednesday. Before deliberations, prosecutor Norma Kauzlarich told jury members that as a public official -- a police officer with a badge and a gun -- Mr. Goossens was expected to respond to emergency calls.
"Police officers' duties are to serve and protect," she said, adding police go to their jobs every day a little afraid because they never know what they might encounter.
"They are still bound to do their job," she said. Mr. Goossens' threat of withholding action, she said, was initimidation.
Mr. Nieman asked members of the jury not to forget their common sense. Cordova village officials and police were under the impression there was an investigation targeting Mr. Allen and Mr. Wallen, he said. Mr. Goossens was concerned what might happen if he encountered the two men, Mr. Nieman said, adding Mr. Goossens might have helped the two lose their jobs.
"You know the context now. You know the whole story," he told the jury. "It (Mr. Goossens' comment) wasn't meant to compel Scott Gardner to do anything.
"Ask yourself: what's a threat?" Mr. Nieman said.
He also said that, after Mr. Goossens' alleged comments, there was no lack of Cordova police response to the track. He noted police responded to a burglary report at the dragway.
Ms. Kauzlarich countered that Mr. Goossens was not on duty when Cordova police responded to the burglary report.
Jurors on Wednesday also heard testimony from Illinois State Police special agent Ryan Tone, the final prosecution witness, and Mr. Goossens' only witness, former Cordova village trustee Bruce Wood, who had chaired the village police committee.
Agent Tone said Mr. Goossens contacted him to discuss the allegation against him. Agent Tone said Mr. Goossens told him he was going to get an attorney but continued to speak with him.
Agent Tone said during two telephone conversations Mr. Goossens denied saying he would not respond to emergency calls. Mr. Goossens did, however, say he would not conduct courtesy drive-throughs at the dragway if Mr. Allen and Mr. Wallen were there at the direction of Cordova Mayor Bob Van Hooreweghe, according to Agent Tone.
He also said Mr. Goossens told him he did not trust Mr. Allen and Mr. Wallen because they had threatened the mayor, a threat that another state police branch was investigating. Agent Tone said he told Mr. Goossens state police knew of the threat but were not investigating it.
Agent Tone also testified he told Mr. Goossens the mayor had not admitted to giving orders about the dragway and there was no written evidence of the order.
During cross-examination, Agent Tone said his office was approached by Mayor Van Hooreweghe about allegations of threats, but the agent did not remember when that occurred.
Mr. Wood testified that, upon heading the police committee, he read depositions from Mr. Goossens and another Cordova police officer stating Mr. Allen and Mr. Wallen allegedly had made statements about killing the mayor or planting drugs in his car.
Mr. Wood said he was stunned by what he read and that the village board and Mr. Goossens were under the impression an investigation was under way into the alleged threats. He also testified that Agent Tone later told him there was no investigation.
On Tuesday, Mr. Gardner told jurors Cordova police often had patrolled the park, but Mr. Goossens informed him several times they would no longer respond to calls if Mr. Wallen or Mr. Allen were working because of an ongoing investigation. Mr. Gardner said the Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office told him there was no investigation.
On Wednesday, Mr. Gardner said he was pleased with the verdict.
"I think justice was served," he said.
Mr. Wood, however, said the charge against Mr. Goossens was "trivial" because there was no investigation into threats against Mayor Van Hooreweghe.
"It obviously shakes my faith in the judicial system," he said.
Today is Thursday, May 23, the 143rd day of 2013. There are 222 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: Messrs. J. and M. Rosenfield have moved their leather and hidestore to the building formerly occupied by Temple Bufords's store. They buy and sellhides, pelts, furs, wool, beeswax, lard, tallow, etc. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Lumber Company has recovered 5,000 of the8,000 logs that were carried away by the Mississippi River flood last week. 1913 -- 100 years ago: John J. Ullemeyer has been awarded the contract to furnish RockIsland fire and police department members with uniforms, at the city's expense. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Work on Aledo's new $38,000 swimming pool was started thismorning at South Park when ground for the pool was broken by Mayor John W. Murphy. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Students and teacher at Moline High School called today "MissLeona Day" day at the school in honor of the government teacher who retires at theend of the school term. Although she's been teaching for 43 years at the school, Miss Dayfound a new way of arriving at the school this morning. At 7:30 a.m., a police squad carpulled up in front of Miss Day's home and escorted her to school. A caravan of students' cars joined the procession along the way. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Barbecue cooking and riverfront antics are planned for Discover the River Day Saturday in Leach Park, Bettendorf. A 5K run, wind surfing, a canoe race, hogcalling and more will round out the day under the Interstate 74 bridge.