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Charges dropped against community member following arrest, officer faces charges instead

Rockford Police Officer faces misdemeanor battery charges
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:54 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross dropped charges against a community member Monday. The incident stemmed from a traffic stop Saturday, June 27 at 11:11 p.m. when Rockford Police Officer Frank Fabiani pulled William P. Gettings over for allegedly not using a turn signal. It happened on Dawn Avenue and Turner Street.

Fabiani claims Gettings tried to disarm him. Gettings was charged with aggravated assault to a police officer and attempt to disarm an officer. They were arrested and taken to the Winnebago County Jail, and also to an area hospital to be treated for head and face injuries. Their mug shot shows bruises and wounds to the face and head.

Hite Ross reviewed police dash camera footage, and immediately dismissed the charges against Gettings. Now officer Fabiani faces battery charges. “Prosecutors serve everyone in the community,” says Hite Ross. “When it says we the people, and I took that oath, it meant all of the people.”

The local police union says it reviewed the video and believe Fabiani used reasonable force. Vince Kelly, President at PB and PA unit 6 released this statement to 23 News:

“The video has not been released and there has been no investigation that we were made aware of. We are confident that when the video is made public, it will be clear that this was a routine traffic stop that escalated due to the uncooperative nature of the driver and the officer acted within his training.”

The dash cam footage was not immediately available before the arrest or prior to charges against Gettings. Hite Ross says this is common. Once she had access to the footage, she reviewed it.

Gettings identifies as a transgender person, using the pronounces they/them/she/her. Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea says the department holds itself accountable when necessary, and believes there is no room for discrimination, although he does not believe this incident was an act of anything other than a traffic stop, and is unrelated to recent protests. “Everyone gets treated the exact same way,” says O’Shea. “And the officers go through training, and if we had anybody discriminating inside the building it’s my job to get rid of them.”

Fabiani is on paid administrative leave pending the criminal investigation. He is set to appear in court August 13. A GoFundMe has been set up for Gettings. That can be found here. Friends of Gettings ask that they have time to heal during this time.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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