Heather Isringhausen Gvillo May 10, 2016, 7:52am


The Village of Washington Park and one of its police officers have settled a lawsuit alleging a man was unlawfully arrested.

Glisson
Glisson

Plaintiff Jason Fields filed a motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice on April 22 through attorney Michael Glisson of Alton after the parties reached an unknown settlement.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson granted dismissal with prejudice pursuant to settlement on April 25.

In his Dec. 29 complaint, Fields claims he was driving a black 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor west on Interstate Highway 64 and was nearing Exit 5 when he was stopped by Washington Park police officer Dean Anderson on Dec. 28, 2013.

Fields alleges Anderson used a bull horn to command the plaintiff to place his hands outside of his vehicle and demanded he step out of his vehicle. Anderson allegedly approached the vehicle and pulled Fields from it after he opened his door, forcing Fields on his knees in the traffic lane, and arrested him, the suit states. Anderson is also accused of searching Fields and seizing his cell phone, which he used to call the plaintiff’s wife to tell her to pick up her husband at the Washington Park police station, the complaint alleges.

Fields alleges he was never told what charges were being brought against him. Then when his wife arrived and police released him, Fields was charged with reckless driving, the suit states.

The plaintiff and his wife left the station before realizing they did not have the appropriate paperwork to retrieve their vehicle from the impound lot and were forced to return to the police station. While Fields’ wife went inside to retrieve the paperwork, the plaintiff claims he re-positioned his vehicle to exit the station’s parking lot, according to the complaint.

“Defendant officer Dean Anderson exited the Washington Park police station and approached plaintiff Jason Fields in his vehicle at which time defendant Anderson, acting both individually and under color of state law, improperly utilized his Taser on plaintiff Fields’ person causing bodily injury and forcibly removed plaintiff Fields from his vehicle, thereby unreasonably seizing him, and place him within the Washington Park police station, all without probable cause of any offense committed,” the suit states. “Jason Fields was then falsely charged with reckless driving, failing to stop at a stop sign, speeding, resisting arrest and assault on an officer.”

Fields claims all charges were eventually dropped.

Prior to the settlement, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Feb. 9 through attorney Eric Evans of Evans Blasi in Granite City. They alleged immunity under the Illinois Tort Immunity Act.

Further, they argued that Fields’ claims against the Village of Washington Park and the Washington Park Police Department fail because plaintiffs “cannot claim municipal liability unless they can demonstrate that the enforcement of its policy was the ‘moving force’ behind the constitutional violation.”

“Plaintiff has not pled either a policy, procedure or guideline by which the Village of Washington Park or the Washington Park Police Department violated his constitutional rights and has not pled an action by a final decision maker,” the motion states.

Fields responded to the motion on March 16, arguing that the defendants failed to cite under which statute of civil procedure their motion to dismiss is based.

He also claimed that his counts based on common law torts do not fail as a matter of law. He argued that the defendants are not immune from liability because his claims allege “willful and wanton conduct during the execution or enforcement of any law.”

“[I]t follows that Defendants, both public employee and public entity, are not immune from liability under the Tort Immunity Act if Plaintiff Jason Fields sufficiently alleged that Defendant Officer Anderson was executing or enforcing a law and committed willful and wanton conduct while doing so,” the response states.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-826

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