Clyde J. McLemore (D), 62, of Zion, IL appeared in court virtually on Wednesday in Kenosha, prominently displaying a “Black Lives Matter” sign and several related flags in view of his web-cam. McLemore is the founder of the Waukegan, IL Black Lives Matter group. He has been charged with one felony county of Attempted Battery to a Law Enforcement Officer and one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. According to the criminal complaint, Mayor John Antaramian (D) held a press conference at the public safety building on August 24, 2020. An unruly crowd formed and attempted to force their way into the building. A Kenosha Police Officer who has served on the department for about 13 years, was attempting to shut the front door of the public safety building when Clyde McLemore kicked the front door of the building closed and bragged that he was trying to break the officer’s fingers. This incident is on video from many different angles. Seems like a long shot for any type of defense.
BLM sympathizer, Kenosha DA Michael Graveley asked the Walworth County DA to prosecute this case due to a conflict. They will handle this case until its conclusion.
McLemore’s attorney, Deja Vishny, had filed a motion to seal his address from the record. She wrote in the motion that “McLemore has received threats to harm him. This is a high profile matter which has been reported in the media and disclosure of Mr. McLemore’s address poses a safety issue.” Walworth County DDA Jim Sempf agreed to this admittedly without reading the document. Keating approved this and sealed the address. The criminal complaint is below, but we redacted his address, because it is the right thing to do.
During the initial appearance, the Commissioner is tasked with setting bond. Sempf said he was OK with a signature bond, but the Commissioner wanted a good reason for releasing McLemore without posting cash. His attorney then spoke for about 2 and a half minutes about his BLM activism and how great McLemore’s character is. Keating still wasn’t convinced. He asked the prosecutor about McLemore’s criminal history. Surprisingly, Sempf didn’t have it and fumbled with the question. Sempf then tried to locate the record and Vishny objected (since she was not provided with the criminal history beforehand), talking over the commissioner. The commissioner silenced her, telling her to “Wait! When I tell you to wait, you wait!” Sempf ended up not disclosing any criminal history.
We at the Kenosha County Eye, pulled up McLemore’s criminal history in about 15 minutes. Anyone can. It’s $10 and you can get it from the Illinois State Police. We discovered, based on our interpretation of the document that he has had about 10 felony convictions ranging from Escape, to Attempted Aggravated Battery in Illinois alone. The first felony conviction was in 1978, almost 45 years ago, but the most recent was in 2008, when McLemore was about 49 years old. He has served at least one prison sentence according to the document.
If the commissioner had known about the extensive criminal history, he may have required cash to assure McLemore’s appearance in court. Many folks in Kenosha County are voicing their support for McLemore, again making heroes out of felons.
We reached out to Vishny for comment about her client’s criminal record and she told us in part:
“As far as his prior record; a remote record really is not relevant to bail; the issue is whether he will appear in court. The purpose of bail is to ensure that the accused appears in court. He has not been in trouble with the law for a lengthy period of time and appeared in court voluntarily. As I stated on the record he has been active in community affairs in Lake County Illinois and is well respected in his community.”
We asked Walworth County DA Zeke Wiedenfeld if he was going to re-visit the bond issue and he didn’t wish to comment.
McLemore is due in court for a preliminary hearing on April 9, 2021.