ESL police knock out man's teeth after arrest for failing to pay Metro fare, suit claims

A man claims East St. Louis police beat him in a private room puposely equipped with no cameras. Donald E. Curry filed a lawsuit Jan. 28 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against the City of East St. Louis; East St. Louis police officers Antonio McWherter, Ricky Perry and Deangelo Franklin; and former East St. Louis Police Chief J.W. Cowan. Curry claims McWherter arrested him on Jan. 30, 2006, on misdemeanor charges arising because Curry allegedly failed to pay for a ticket to ride the Metro Link. At the time of Curry's arrest, McWherter determined Curry posed no threat to him after finding him unarmed, according to the complaint. McWherter handcuffed Curry and transported him to the East St. Louis Police Station where McWherter and Perry placed him in the custody of the city's jail, the suit states. "That Defendants McWherter and Perry conspired to deprive Plaintiff of his right to the equal protection of laws and privileges afforded to him by the U.S. Constitution, in that they secreted Plaintiff to an area of the jail that was not monitored or under surveillance so that he may be beaten by McWherter," the complaint says. "Defendant McWherter savagely beat Plaintiff while in custody and unable to defend himself. The beating resulted in severe head injuries and teeth being knocked out by the blows." In the police report, Franklin wrote that Curry's injuries had occurred as a result of a struggle during his arrest; not because of the beating which he claims actually occurred. Perry continued to lie about the beating when he transferred Curry to Kenneth Hall Hospital and reported a false history as to how Curry's injuries occurred, according to the complaint. Because of the officers' actions, Curry claims he was deprived of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free against unreasonable searches and seizures. The beating caused Curry to become seriously wounded, to experience great anguish and fear, to incur medical costs and to lose his wage earning capacity, the suit states. In addition to the officers, Curry names former East St. Louis Police Chief J.W. Cowan as a defendant, saying the chief knew some of his officers used excessive force, but never took actions to stop them. Instead, he conspired to hide the beatings and allowed certain parts of the jail to remain unmonitored, the complaint says. The city also should have known of the wrongs committed, Curry claims in his complaint. "Defendant City of East St. Louis had power to prevent or aid in preventing the commission of said wrongs, could have done so by reasonable diligence, and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly failed or refused to do so," the suit states. In his five-count complaint, Curry seeks compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages, plus costs and other relief the court deems just. Stephen P. McGlynn of McGlynn and McGlynn in Belleville will be representing him. St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-39.

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