EAST PEORIA — Two months after a fight that involved East Peoria Commissioner Mike Sutherland, the office of the Tazewell County State's Attorney still has not decided whether to bring charges against anybody who took part in the scuffle.
The incident remains under investigation by the Illinois State Police, according to Assistant State's Attorney Kevin Johnson. He declined to elaborate.
On Nov. 16, the night of the city's Festival of Lights Parade, Sutherland allegedly tried to break up a fight between brothers in the parking lot of his business, Sutherland Hardware, 2246 E. Washington Street. A woman claimed she was struck in the ensuing scuffle by a closed fist on the right side of her face, according to an East Peoria Police Department report.
Sutherland is heard in a by-stander video telling the group to "get the (expletive) off my property," and shown in the middle of a shoving match with five or six people. The video does not show Sutherland hitting anybody, closed fist or otherwise.
The unnamed woman filed a complaint with the East Peoria police in the police station later that night.
A couple of weeks later, Sutherland denied the accusation of assault.
"I was telling them that this is my property and that nothing like this is going to happen here," Sutherland said in an interview in early December. "(One man) pushed me, I pushed him back and all of a sudden there are five or six people on me. I never hit anybody. I never elbowed anybody. There was pushing, but not hard pushes."
Because the November incident involved an East Peoria elected official, the investigation was turned over by the local police to the state police. The state police submitted its report for consideration to Tazewell County State's Attorney in late December. Johnson said Wednesday it was returned to the state police for "further investigation."
Sutherland was elected to a four-year term on the East Peoria City Council last April.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at email@example.com. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.