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Twisting noses and poking chests

Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

In Amboy, Alderwoman Deanne Hoy is accusing Mayor Tom Nauman of getting physical with her in an argument outside a local restaurant – a confrontation that the Lee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

No one is suggesting that Hoy walked away hurt, but one doesn’t need to be injured to be the victim of battery.

According to Illinois law, a person commits battery if he or she “makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual,” which is apparently what Hoy has accused the mayor of doing

If you’re angry with someone, you can make your case verbally, but you would be advised not to get physical in any way, such as grabbing someone’s arm. You could be charged with battery.

In 2011, after a public meeting, I walked up to an official to talk about a story. He wouldn’t answer my questions, but he let me know he was angry with some of my stories, poking my chest with a finger as he was arguing. A uniformed officer was nearby.

His physical contact was certainly provoking. I made no issue of it.

Years ago, a tall man in his 80s walked up to me and twisted my nose after a county meeting. I asked him why he did that. He told me I was a brown noser, referring to my stories about the county’s effort to bring in a dairy, which this man opposed.

He said we could take it outside. I declined.

A uniformed officer was seated a few feet away.

In all these cases, custom plays a role. I doubt my critics would have poked the chest or twisted the nose of a female colleague if she had written the same stories. And if they had, law enforcement would probably have jumped in.

David Giuliani is a news editor for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at dgiuliani@saukvalley.com or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. Follow him on Twitter: @DGiuliani_SVM.

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