Doctor on way to emergency claims Alorton cop violated his rights

Ann Knef Nov. 26, 2007, 8:20am

Mohammad Hashemi, M.D., a U.S. citizen of Iranian ancestry, claims he was wrongfully detained and tormented by an Alorton police officer two years ago while en route to an emergency call at Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital.

Hashemi filed suit against the city of Alorton and police officer Babatunde Owoseni in St. Clair County Circuit Court on Nov. 19.

He claims that at approximately 9 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2005, after leaving Touchette Regional Hospital, he was driving within the speed limit and obeying all traffic laws when he was stopped by Owoseni.

According to the suit, Owoseni used lights and sirens to stop Hashemi, then remained in his car for approximately 10 minutes without approaching Hashemi's vehicle.

"Hashemi...was unsure of Defendant's intentions and approached Defendant's vehicle and asked what the problem was," the complaint states.

The suit claims Hashemi was directed to go to the back of his vehicle and place his wrists behind his back.

"...Owoseni failed to asked for identification, failed to identify the problem, and proceeded to search Dr. Hashemi's vehicle in its entirety," the complaint states.

Hashemi was driven to the Alorton Police station and cited for resisting a peace officer "among a myriad of charges Defendant Owoseni created," the complaint states.

"Dr. Hashemi was released from police custody with a cash bond, approximately two hours after someone brought the bond to the station, the delay being caused by Defendant Owoseni's statement that he did not have a receipt book," the complaint states.

Represented by Patricia L. Dennis of Edwardsville, Hashemi is seeking in excess of $45,000 in damages claiming his civil rights were violated and he was battered by Owoseni.

Hashemi resides in St. Louis, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Hashemi sustained severe and ongoing pain and mental anguish, required medical care and was scarred on his skin about his wrists.

Among other things, the complaint states the city of Alorton:

  • Entrusted Owoseni with police powers, the power to arrest and detain citizens, when it knew or should have known that he was likely to abuse those powers and use force against citizens;

  • Failed to discipline or sanction officers, regardless of conduct demonstrating unfitness; and

  • Condoned misconduct.

    The complaint also states that the city of Alorton "created a foreseeable risk that a class of citizens, namely those of Iranian ancestry and/or those suspected of committing a crime, of which Plaintiff Dr. Mohammad Hashemi is a part, would be subject to unjustified assaults..."

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