In The News: [Joliet Patch] - Police Sergeant Named Whistleblower Of The Year
Updated: Aug 3, 2021
This article features The Lamplighter Project and originally appears here. This article references The Lamplighter Project's National Whistleblower Day Press Release (July 30th, 2021) which can be found here.
A Joliet police sergeant who was charged with several felony crimes under former Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner captured a national award Friday from a notable law enforcement whistleblower organization. The Lamplighter Project announced that Joliet Police Sgt. Javier Esqueda has won the Lamplighter Award for Moral Courage in Law Enforcement.
Written By: John Ferak, Patch Staff
Posted Sun, Aug 1, 2021 at 11:35 pm CT
Lawyer Jeff Tomczak has predicted a total vindication of Joliet Police Sgt. Javier Esqueda in the criminal justice system at the Kendall County Courthouse. (Image via city of Joliet )
JOLIET, IL — A Joliet police sergeant who was charged with several felony crimes under former Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner captured a national award Friday from a notable law enforcement whistleblower organization. The Lamplighter Project announced that Joliet Police Sgt. Javier Esqueda has won the Lamplighter Award for Moral Courage in Law Enforcement.
"The inaugural recipient of the Lamplighter Award is Sgt. Javier Esqueda of the Joliet Police Department. Sergeant Esqueda became aware of video footage related to the 2020 in-custody death of Eric Lurry, a Black man who was subjected to unconscionable treatment by the Joliet Police Department. Believing that members of his own agency would not be held accountable, Sergeant Esqueda released video footage of the incident to the media," the Lamplighter organization announced.
"In pursuing justice for Eric Lurry, Sergeant Esqueda has been criminally charged with four counts of official misconduct by the Kendall County Prosecutor's Office and placed on administrative leave during an internal affairs investigation which resulted in a sustained complaint. He remains on administrative duty, assigned to the City of Joliet's Business Services Department. Through all challenges he has confronted, Sergeant Esqueda's utmost concern is for Mr. Lurry, stating, 'I want justice for the death of Eric Lurry, a man I didn't know but whose death has changed my life forever.'"
Joliet Patch has produced several articles about Esqueda and Eric Lurry's controversial death on Jan. 29, 2020, following his arrest by Joliet police on the afternoon of Jan. 28, 2020.
In August 2020, Eric Lurry's wife filed a federal lawsuit against four members of the Joliet Police Department who were involved in the events surrounding Lurry's death: Sgt. Doug May, Lt. Jeremy Harrison, Officer Jose Tellez and Officer Andrew McCue.
For unrelated reasons, McCue is now facing termination from the Joliet Police Department, an exclusive story that Joliet Patch first reported on July 22. In recent months, Esqueda has returned to work for Joliet, working out of City Hall, assigned to the city clerk's office.