Godfrey man sues Madison County sheriff and deputies over arrest and injuries

Kelly Holleran Jun. 1, 2009, 8:11am

A Godfrey man has filed suit against Madison County Sheriff's deputies Timothy Mudd and Richard Roe and Madison County Sheriff Robert J. Hertz, plus unknown officers of the department, claiming he was wrongly arrested and beat up by Mudd for no apparent reason.

Jeffrey Owen says he received a call from Madison County Sheriff's deputy Jeremy Dunham, asking Owen to visit his cousin's home. When Owen arrived, he was asked to take his cousin's daughter home because of a domestic disturbance, the complaint filed May 20 in Madison County Circuit Court states.

Owen agreed and took the daughter, referred to only as "M," home with him, the suit states.

Later that evening, at about 9 p.m., Owen says Madison County Sheriff's deputies arrived at his home and asked him to surrender "M" to their custody.

"Plaintiff was understandably confused and advised that he was going to contact his lawyer to determine the correct action to take," the suit states.

Throughout the conversation, deputies were holding Owen's screen door open and had no warrant and no reason to enter the home, the complaint says. However, as Owen left the front door to call his lawyer, Mudd forced his way into the house.

"Plaintiff began to back up with his arms outstretched to protect himself from, at this point, an unwelcome and unwarranted intruder," the suit states. "Deputy Mudd grabbed the plaintiff, performed a knee strike, took him to the ground and attempted to handcuff him."

Owen and his mother pleaded with Mudd to stop attacking Owen, according to court records. In addition, they told Mudd that Owen is unable to place his hands behind his back because of a condition with which he was born called Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Compression Syndrome.

Still, Mudd forced Owen's hands behind his back and handcuffed him, according to the complaint.

While the handcuffed Owen was lying on the floor, Mudd ordered Owen to stand up, the suit states.

"Defendant Mudd was again advised by both plaintiff and his mother that this would be an impossible maneuver for plaintiff," the suit states. "In response, Deputy Mudd kicked the plaintiff twice before jerking him into a standing position by his arms."

Although Owen kept complaining to Mudd of the excruciating pain he was experiencing, Mudd tightened the handcuffs, threw Owen to the ground and kicked him, Owen claims.

Mudd charged Owen with various offenses, including resisting a peace officer.

Because of Mudd's actions, Owen experienced pain and suffering, lost his freedom and lost sums of money because of his inability to work, the complaint says.

Mudd violated Owen's Eighth and Fourth Amendment rights, Owen claims.
Madison County Sheriff Robert J. Hertz is liable because he hired Mudd, knowing Mudd was likely to violate his arrestees' rights, failed to properly fire Mudd for such violations and gave leverage to Mudd's actions by refusing to dismiss criminal charges against Owen, according to the complaint.

Richard Roe and other unknown Madison County deputies were guilty of watching activities that violated Owen's rights while doing nothing to stop Mudd, the suit states.

In the five-count suit, Owen is seeking a judgment in excess of $300,000, plus costs.

Owen will be represented by Jarrod P. Beasley of The Kuehn Law Firm in Belleville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-522.

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