The Village of Washington Park and one of its police officers seeks to dismiss a $1.1 million lawsuit alleging a man was unlawfully arrested and tasered.
In his Dec. 29 complaint, plaintiff Jason 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 stations, 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.
The plaintiff alleges the defendants deprived him of his constitutional rights by taking him into custody without probable cause and by unreasonably searching and seizing his property among other actions.
The defendants denied the allegations in their Feb. 6 answer through attorney Eric W. Evans of Evans Blasi in Granite City.
They also filed a motion to dismiss, claiming they are immune from the allegations arising from their provision of police services according to the Illinois Tort Immunity Act
The defendants also argue that the plaintiff failed to provide a policy, procedure or guideline by which the defendants violated his constitutional rights.
Further, they claim that all allegations against the Washington Park Police Department are duplicative of those against the Village of Washington Park and should be dismissed. Because the police department is a department of the village, it is not separate and cannot be sued as a separate legal entity.
Fields responded to the motion to dismiss on March 16, calling the defendants’ motion “vague.”
He argues that the defendants are not immune if he “sufficiently alleged that defendant officer Anderson was executing or enforcing a law and committed willful and wanton conduct while doing so.”
Fields seeks compensatory and punitive damages of more than $1.5 million, plus costs and attorney fees.
Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson scheduled a status conference for July 27 at 9 a.m.
Michael P. Glisson of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson in Alton represents Fields.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-826