Dupo seeks to remove case to federal court

Christina Stueve Hodges Jan. 24, 2013, 5:44am

The Village of Dupo, its police chief and a police officer are seeking to remove a civil rights suit against them to federal court.

In the lawsuit filed Dec. 7 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Joel Strauss claims his constitutional rights were violated when he was arrested by Dupo police without probable cause.

Dupo police officers Douglas Keys and Jeremy Zimmer were named in the lawsuit as well as the City of Dupo.

On their behalf, Belleville attorney Charles Pierce filed a notice of removal to the U.S. District Court on Jan. 9.

Pierce wrote that the plaintiff contends his civil rights were violated and bases his cause of action on federal law.

“This action, and the claims and causes of action sued upon therein, are of a civil nature of and over which the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of Illinois, possesses and has concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit Courts of Illinois,” he wrote.

Strauss claims he was sitting in a parked car at Dupo High School, on April 3, 2012, when Keys allegedly pulled him out of the vehicle, beat him, handcuffed him and arrested him.

“Defendant Keys then had plaintiff charged with failure to reduce speed and improper lane usage by another police officer for the Village of Dupo, co-defendant, Jeremy Zimmer,” the suit states. “Plaintiff had not committed the above-mentioned crimes or traffic offenses.”

Strauss seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

Thomas O. Falb of Williamson, Webster, Falb and Glisson in Alton will be representing him.

The case was assigned to Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson on Jan. 8.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-655.

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