Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, November 18, 2019

Just Ask Gonzo: Taser suit against ESL awaits hearing

By Steve Gonzalez | Nov 10, 2006

Question: Tasers seem to be making the news almost everyday lately. Last April you wrote a story about an East St. Louis woman who sued the police department in federal court after being tased. Has anything happened with this suit?

Reggie King
East. St. Louis

Gonzo: In June U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Proud set a settlement conference for May 17, 2007, but nothing else has happened except that East St. Louis answered the complaint.

Laverne Gee filed suit against the city of East St. Louis alleging the city's police department maliciously shot her with a taser gun while fleeing authorities. Gee also claimed police filed false charges against her.

Gee, of Glen Carbon, claims after being tasered on June 17, 2005, she requested treatment for injuries at a hospital but alleges her request was denied by a police officer.

According to the four-count complaint filed in U.S. District Court April 6, Gee was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, failure to obey a peace officer, resisting a police officer, disorderly conduct and failure to display a driver's license.

Gee claims that as a basis for the charges against her, officers prepared and filed a misleading incident report following her arrest as a basis for the charges.

She also claims she did not commit the offenses she was charged with.

Gee claims the incident has caused her to suffer serious mental anguish, psychological and emotional distress, and physical pain and suffering.

Gee claims East St. Louis, as a matter of policy and practice, has with deliberate indifference failed to adequately discipline, train, or otherwise direct police officers concerning the rights of citizens, which caused the deprivation of her constitutional rights.

Represented by Ronald Foster of Beatty, Motil, & Foster of Glen Carbon, Gee is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $300,000, plus all costs of the suit.

When answering Gee's complaint, the city claims its conduct did not rise to the level of constitutional violation and also claims the amount of force used was objectively reasonable in light of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

"Any contact alleged to have been committed was a result of the provocation on the part of the plaintiff," the city wrote in its answer.

The city also claimed it acted in good faith and is immune because its conduct did not rise to the level of deliberate indifference.

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City of East Saint Louis