Brittany supporters unhappy with mayor’s online quotes and alleged tweets by mayor’s relative
Worth Village Board meeting lacked some of the raw emotion and passion that marked the April 1 meeting, but family and friends of Britanny Wawrzyniak took the opportunity to sharply criticize the way in which the death investigation has been handled.
They also scolded Worth Mayor Mary Werner for talking about the case to an online publication after saying at the April 1 meeting that she could not comment on the ongoing investigation.
“You chose to make a statement there but you wouldn’t do if in front of the board meeting two weeks ago,” said Rebecca Tully, Wawrzyniak’s mother.
More than 200 people attended the April 1 meeting, and several unleashed their anger on Werner. Two days later, police arrested Lilyanna Arboleda, 18, of Chicago, and charged her with conspiracy to commit battery.
Prosecutors have said the charge does not mean Arboleda was involved in Wawrzyniak’s death, which occurred Nov. 8 after she was ejected from a moving car near the Worth boat launch, 115th Street and Beloit Avenue.
Werner was quoted on a website that Wawrzyniak’s family wanted to take credit for the arrest, a remark that upset Tully.
“How dare you. Our family is not looking for credit. Our family is looking for truth and justice,” Tully said.
Wawrzyniak’s family also distributed copies of messages allegedly sent on Twitter by a relative of the mayor in which she comments on the Nov. 8 incident.
Werner’s relative, who Werner was quotes as saying is good friends with Wawrzyniak’s younger sister, allegedly posted on Twitter, “I’m sorry, Britanny’s family needs to understand that police cannot say anything about the investigation until it is closed.”
In another Twitter post, she reportedly wrote: “If someone wanted to push her out of the car, they would have to reach over her and unlock the door. The car was locked.”
“Where is she getting this information,” Tully asked Werner. “Where is your [relative] getting this information?”
Tully was also incensed because one of the posts allegedly tweeted by the relative used the vulgar acronym STFU toward the family.
Werner would not confirm if her relative authored the posts.
The mayor said she was misquoted in the online story. Several of her quotes were used by family members and friends during the 20-minute public forum.
The mayor said her purpose in talking to a reporter was to discuss how “misinformation” being disseminated about the case on social media is leading to “anxiety for Brittney’s family and friends.”
“My remarks about the Facebook page have now been put in quotes as if I was somehow revealing some facts in the case when I was trying to point out how things have been taken out of context, misquoted or twisted and misconstrued.”
Werner said she wanted to make clear that individuals who were at the boat launch the night Wawrzyniak was killed have cooperated with police.
“Early on, people who were at the boat launch on Nov. 8 posted [on the RIP Brittany Facebook page] that they had come forward and given statements to police, but later on there are posts actually vilifying and threatening these same individuals as if they had not come forward.”
Werner said after Tuesday’s meeting that she was no longer talking to media.
The mayor’s published remarks also angered Agnes Smyk who, along with her boyfriend, Adam Witczek, came upon Wawrzyniak after she was expelled from the car. They said they called 911 and stayed with her until paramedics arrived.
Werner said Worth police received several calls to 911 prior to Smyk’s and disputed her contention that Worth police did not take statements from the couple until after they spoke they Wawrzyniak’s family and the media.
“Don’t accuse me of lying,” Smyk said Tuesday. “Get your facts straight before you start talking to newspapers.”
Prosecutors say Wawrzyniak met Eric Steven Johnson at the boat launch, got into the back seat of his car and handed him $200 in exchange for 30 pills of Clonazepam.
Wawrzyniak began counting the pills while still in the backseat as Johnson drove away. She opened the door of the moving car, was ejected and struck the pavement, prosecutors said. She was pronounced dead at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn less than one hour later.
Johnson has not been charged with anything related to Brittany’s death.
Brittany’s family said she was not there to buy pills and question if she jumped out of the car or was pushed.