Illinois reporter Hank Sanders got ticketed — for asking too many questions.
Officials in Calumet City say Sanders, a Daily Southtown reporter, violated local ordinances by repeatedly asking public employees for comment on serious local flooding problems.
The three notices sent to Sanders refer to the alleged violations as “interference/hampering of city employees,” the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
The Southtown is owned by the Chicago Tribune’s parent company.
Sanders reported on Oct. 19 that consultants had told Calumet City officials their stormwater facilities were in bad shape prior to historic rainstorms in September that caused major flooding.
Calumet City (pop. 36,000) lies 23 miles south of Chicago and has a large black population.
Sanders continued to focus on the issue and requested comment from city officials after the Oct. 19 story ran.
He especially angered Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones.
Jones also serves as the Illinois state representative for the 29th district.
“Despite all FOIA requests being filled, Hank Sanders continues to contact city departments and city employees via phone and email,” the violation notice mentioning Jones states. “Despite request from Calumet City attorneys to stop calling city departments and employees, Hank Sanders continues to do so.”
Jones did not return calls from The Post Saturday.
He is under federal investigation for tax issues related to his campaign funds, the Tribune previously reported.
Sanders, who just turned 23, told The Post on Saturday he was “definitely surprised” by the reaction of Calumet City officials but said being given citations was not going to stop him from doing his job as a journalist.
“I’m just doing my job and there’s a lot more work to do,” he said. “I’m very grateful to my bosses at the Tribune for all their support.”
He also gave a brief description of the situation on his TikTok account, calling it “ridiculous.”
“They represent a continued assault on journalists who, like Hank, are guilty of nothing more than engaging in the practice of journalism,” Pugh said.
“From places like Alabama to Kansas to Illinois, it appears public officials have become emboldened to take actions that our society once viewed as un-American. Unfortunately, in our current political climate, uneducated buffoonery has become a virtue, not a liability, but the Tribune will vigorously stand up for Hank’s right to do his job.”
Press freedoms have been under attack in the US in recent months.
In August, local police raided the small weekly Marion County Record offices and the home of its publisher in Kansas with a search warrant and seized computers, servers, and documents.
The police chief responsible for the raid later resigned after police bodycam footage showed him rifling through material in the newsroom for information about himself.