Mascoutah man claims officers used civilians to gain access to home, attack him

Ann Knef Jun. 14, 2007, 3:00am

The city of Mascoutah and several of its police officers are being sued by a man who claims they solicited the involvement of civilians to force entry into his home on April 14, 2006, take his possessions, and attack him.

Representing himself, Larry J.W. Shelton of 12 E. State St. in Mascoutah, claims officers kept him imprisoned in his home while civilians were "encouraged and allowed" to remove his tools and other personal property from a shed in the backyard. He also alleges the civilians kicked in the rear door of his residence and attacked him.

Shelton, who states his constitutional rights have been violated, claims he denied the officers access to his home without a warrant, and that officers became angered as he made inquiries of the police from inside his locked home.

Shelton is a teacher, according to the complaint filed June 5 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. However, the suit does not indicate where he teaches.

"...[N]o criminal activity of any type was occurring on the property nor were there any exigent circumstances that would allow the police to force entry into the home," the complaint states.

He names officers Scott Johnson, David Lasica, Anthony Week and Kathy Kelsheimer as defendants.

Officers entered the home after the civilians illegally gained access to his home, Shelton claims.

"That the police officers without provocation and without lawful authority entered the home, as well, and battered the plaintiff in a violent and abusive manner by shoving him, striking him, choking him, and 'tasing' him twice, hand cuffing him," the complaint states.

Shelton claims he was taken into custody for four hours and released.

"No criminal charges were preferred (sic) against the plaintiff in connection with or in support of his arrest, search, seizure and imprisonment to which plaintiff was subjected as set forth herein, and although plaintiff demanded to be brought before a judge or be charged, yet, he was not charged at that time," the complaint states.

He claims that while he was being falsely imprisoned the civilians, in collusion with one of the officers, removed his property from his residence.

Shelton claims the city "did conspire and urge" Phyllis Sutterfield to sign a criminal complaint against him and seek a domestic violence order of protection "which was not warranted nor justified," the complaint states.

"By reason of the conduct of defendants, and each of them, including plaintiff's unlawful arrest and imprisonment and the injuries sustained by him therefrom, plaintiff was totally unable to attend to the duties of his profession as a teacher for a period of time and sustained damages for loss of earnings and will continue to have loss of earnings while prosecuting this matter," the complaint states.

Shelton is seeking in excess of $400,000 on allegations of civil rights violation, false imprisonment, conversion, battery, assault, abuse of process, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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