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Cop accused in gun incident outside Aurora Planned Parenthood clinic
By Jake Griffin and Justin Kmitch | Daily Herald Staff

Rachelle Crile of Naperville gives her report to police after she says she was threatened with a gun outside of the Planned Parenthood facility in Aurora.

 

Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Rachelle Crile of Naperville says she was threatened with a gun outside of Planned Parenthood facility in Aurora.

 

Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Rachelle Crile of Naperville says she was threatened with a gun outside of Planned Parenthood facility in Aurora.

 

Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

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Published: 12/16/2009 10:19 AM | Updated: 12/16/2009 6:04 PM

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Did an off-duty Chicago police officer flash his badge - or a gun - at a protester Wednesday outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora?

Police say the 41-year-old officer and his 31-year-old female companion were parked near the facility, 3051 E. New York St., about 9:15 a.m. when they were met by 31-year-old Naperville resident Rachelle Crile, a "counselor" for the Pro-Life Action League, a group that tries to offer alternatives to women considering abortions. The group tried to stop the clinic from opening a few years ago and often pickets there.

Crile said she had been working for about 40 minutes when she got cold and ducked back into her car to warm up. She said she was in the vehicle for about 10 minutes when she saw the couple pull up in another car and park near hers.

She said it appeared the pair was planning to enter the facility. She said she prayed and decided to approach their car.

"I went around the car to the driver's side and held the material up to the driver," she said. "That's when the handgun was pulled. I would say it was pointed at me."

Crile said she raised her arms and backed away. The couple eventually entered the facility.

The off-duty officer, however, told Aurora police investigators he flashed his badge at Crile and declined the literature.

Because of the conflicting statements, Aurora spokesman Dan Ferrelli said it will be up to Crile to decide whether to press charges. If she decides to proceed, the case will be turned over to the DuPage County state's attorney's office. Crile said she and her husband were still trying to decide whether to pursue a complaint.

In a written statement Wednesday afternoon, Planned Parenthood President and CEO Steve Trombley distanced the clinic from the altercation.

"This morning's reported altercation between an off-duty police officer accompanying a Planned Parenthood patient and Pro-Life Action League counselor did not happen on Planned Parenthood property," Trombley wrote. "Planned Parenthood of Illinois was not aware of the altercation and did not contact the police. However, when Aurora police were contacted, Planned Parenthood cooperated fully with city officials. Aurora police are investigating the matter."

Aurora police are not identifying the off-duty Chicago officer, but Ferrelli said a silver handgun was located in the vehicle and the officer did have his badge.

Chicago police declined to comment.

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, said this is the first time any of his counselors claim to have been confronted by someone with a gun.

"In the past we've had people swerve a car or yell a verbal threat, but nothing like this," he said. "We've complained to police before, but Planned Parenthood won't tell police if there's somebody matching that description in their offices as if it's some kind of sanctuary."