As mayor of Aurora, GOP gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin said charges against his girlfriend would be ‘addressed’ at the scene of her arrest in the suburbs, according to a report by Police – Chicago Tribune
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who is currently running for governor of Illinois, arrived at the scene last year of an arrest by Aurora police in which his girlfriend from the era was accused of punching a security guard at a marijuana store.
The charges against her “would be dealt with,” a police officer heard her say, according to a police report on the incident obtained by the Aurora Beacon-News and the Chicago Tribune. She was charged with a breach of ordinance for assault and battery, a minor municipal charge.
In a GOP primary race where Irvin stood as a law-and-order candidate, the revelation that he ran during an arrest by Aurora police opposite his girlfriend threatens to damage the image he’s trying to cultivate through a relentless, tough-on-crime ad campaign.
Irvin disputes the characterization of his comments which were included in the police report and that it could have implied that he used his influence as mayor to influence the charges against his then-girlfriend, Laura Ayala- Clarke, saying it was “actually incorrect”.
While acknowledging that he might have said the “charges would be taken care of,” as the report states, he said in an interview with the Tribune and Beacon-News that he assured Ayala-Clarke that ‘She would get a lawyer and the case would be taken to court.
“When I told her that…things would ‘get sorted’, I meant she would get a lawyer, and that’s what I helped her do,” Irvin said. “I told her specifically not to discuss or have conversations with the police about this, that it would be dealt with in court and that it would be taken care of, since that, you know, she would have a lawyer. And she’s got lawyers, and they’re on it from now on.
Facing five naysayers who have focused much of their political anger on him in part because his campaign received $45 million from Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, Irvin on Wednesday sought to hush up the news included in the police report , which was released by Aurora Police. Department following a public records request. His campaign provided an unredacted version of the report to clarify any issues about what happened at the Zen Leaf in Aurora on May 24, 2021, he said.
The report describes in detail what happened, according to the police.
Ayala-Clarke went to the store to buy cannabis products and needed to get $100 from an ATM that was inside the store. When the ATM didn’t work, she became frustrated, the report says, and when she complained to store employees, they told her to contact the company that runs the ATM. Ayala-Clarke said she won’t be leaving until her boyfriend, Irvin, arrives, according to the report.
After Ayala-Clarke refused to leave for an hour, a security guard told police she tried to grab Ayala-Clarke’s right arm to get her to leave, but Ayala-Clarke had kicked the security guard in the leg and punched her in the abdomen before the guard sprayed Ayala-Clarke in the face, according to the report.
In his interview with the Tribune and Beacon-News, Irvin said Ayala-Clarke called him in a “frantic circumstance” because she wanted someone to drive her home after the fight. After Irvin arrived at the scene, a police officer informed her that she was charged while sitting in Irvin’s car.
“She said she shouldn’t be charged because security got hold of her. Her boyfriend heard the information about the accusation and was upset that security got hold of Ayala-Clarke,” police said. “Her boyfriend called someone via Bluetooth in the vehicle and told the charges and relayed to the person on the other end of the phone that the ‘charges would be picked up’.”
Asked to respond, Irvin said the characterization in the police report was “actually incorrect”.
“What I’m saying is, in the car, I explained the loads of documentation to her after the police gave them to her, and I drove her home,” Irvin said.
He also said he did not recall talking to anyone through his Bluetooth.
“I had no conversation with anyone other than Laura in the car,” he said.
Irvin also denied any involvement in trying to have the charges against Ayala-Clarke changed.
Aurora police spokesperson Paris Lewbel said it was at the discretion of an officer to decide whether to charge a case as a violation of local ordinance or as a criminal matter under state law and will often cite someone under a local ordinance for minor cases, such as trespassing or battery. .
Before Irvin arrived on the scene, Ayala-Clarke repeatedly referenced Irvin, saying, “I’m going to call my boyfriend. You don’t know who my boyfriend is. He’s the mayor of Aurora,” as she complained about the ATM not working for her, according to the police report.
“He’s going to shut you guys down for doing all of this and not giving my money back,” she said, according to the security guard’s account to police.
Records show Irvin reappointed Ayala-Clarke to the city’s Hispanic Heritage Advisory Board, which advises the city on issues involving the Hispanic community and plans events, such as Fiestas Patrias. This is an unpaid position.
The guard declined to speak to the Tribune and the Beacon-News. In another text message, she wrote, “I wish I could help, but I just don’t want to be exposed to the public.”
Ayala-Clarke also declined to speak to a reporter.
Irvin said when he arrived he saw Ayala-Clarke outside on the sidewalk of Zen Leaf and walked her to the ambulance, where she washed her eyes and then went to sit in Irvin’s car.
When asked if he had saved her from being arrested, Irvin replied, “No, not at all. I’m sure it would be in the police report if I did. As you can see, if I was trying to influence this, my name probably wouldn’t have appeared in the police report at all.
Irvin, who has often dodged reporters, pointed out that he discussed the issue with newspapers because he wanted to be “transparent” about the issue.
“I have nothing to hide,” Irvin said. “I had nothing to do with…the incident other than bringing a friend home.”