It took a Rock Island County jury about two hours to reach a guilty verdict in the case of former Cordova police officer Ray Goossens, convicting him on one count of felony intimidation Wednesday.
The ex-officer shook his head after the jury foreman announced the verdict. Moments later, Judge Mike Meersman told the former lawman to turn in any guns he might have.
”It’s a felony conviction. You have to give up any firearms you have”, said Meersman.
Prosecutor Norma Kauzlaurich successfully argued to the jury that Goossens crossed the line last summer when he told the owner of the Cordova Dragway that he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls at the track, if two security guards were on duty. The two in question were former Cordova officers themselves. One resigned, one was fired. Kauzlarich said Goosens was putting pressure on the business owner, threatening him to either fire the two or he’d pull police protection.
Two paramedics who worked at the track also testified that Goossens informed them he would not be responding to any emergency calls at the track.
After the verdict, Cordova Dragway owner Scott Gardner said blowing the whistle on a police officer was tough, but believed it was the right thing to do.
”It was tough to do, and it took a lot of guts and a lot of support from a lot of people, but my Lord told me I needed to do this and came out and told the truth”, Gardner said. ”Justice was served. It’s just about people being power hungry”, he said.
Goossens, who was once an officer in the town of Andalusia, will not be able to serve as a law enforcement officer if his conviction stands. He did not take the witness stand.
The sole defense witness was Bruce Wood, the former chairman of the town’s police committee. He testified that the two security guards at the track had threatened the life of the Cordova mayor.
Goossens’ attorney Nate Neiman told the jury in closing arguments that his client had concerns about responding to calls at the track if they were on duty.
Goossens will be sentenced at a later date, and is out on bond.