Belleville Police accused of tightening handcuffs, suspect seeks $300k

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 21, 2005, 6:27am

Belleville Police Department

Two Belleville policemen are accused of injuring a man during an arrest by deliberately tightening the suspect's handcuffs, according to a lawsuit filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court. The suspect is seeking $300,000 in damages.

Detective Matthew Eiskant, Sergeant Mark Eschman, Police Chief Terry Delaney and Mayor Mark Eckert are targets of a complaint filed April 13 by Eulus Gavin of Freeburg.

Gavin is represented by Robert Crego of Belleville.

He claims that on April 13, 2004, Eiskant and Eschman came to his place of employment, identified themselves as police officers, and proceeded to arrest him without probable cause.

According to Gavin’s complaint, while placing him in handcuffs the defendants “willfully and wantonly” tightened the cuffs causing injuries so severe he had to have treatment and surgery to attempt to repair the injuries to his wrist, hands, soft tissues, and neurological structures.

Neither Eiskant nor Eschman would comment on the matter.

“Assuming the defendants had a legitimate reason to arrest Gavin, which they did not, they owed him a duty to place the handcuffs on him and place him under arrest without causing injuries,” the complaint states.

Gavin claims that he suffered permanent and debilitating injuries and neurological disorders, and loss of use or severe limitations to his hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and neck.

In the second count of the suit, Gavin claims the city carelessly hired Eiskant and Eschman and should have known that they were “prone to violence and would be dangerous to the community at large.”

Gavin claims if the city would have properly screened Eiskant and Eschman they would have never hired them.

In the third count of Gavin’s complaint he claims that Belleville Police Chief Terry Delaney, “failed to implement safeguards to prevent the city’s police officers from injuring members of the public.”

Gavin claims the day before his arrest he spoke with Chief Delaney and was led to believe that Delaney would inform Eiskant to “cease and desist” his investigation.

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