BELLEVILLE – A man is suing the Village of Washington Park and one of its police officers over the alleged use of excessive force.

Anthony Thomas filed the suit March 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Officer Antwan Stith and the Village of Washington Park, which employs Stith.

On May 24, 2015, Thomas was at 1635 N. 48th St. in Washington Park when he called Stith to the home because of a man allegedly bothering Thomas' children, the suit states.

Thomas alleges Smith arrived an hour later and, without provocation, began choking him, throwing him to the ground, handcuffing and arresting him.

Smith allegedly charged Thomas with obstruction and resisting a police officer. Following the incident, the suit alleges, Smith also arrested the plaintiff's aunt and fiancé.

Thomas alleges the illegal seizure violated his Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights.

Washington Park is named a defendant because it hired and retained Stith as an employee, it failed to properly train him, and it gave credence to his actions by refusing to dismiss the criminal charges against the plaintiff, according to the complaint.

Thomas seeks judgment of an amount greater than $50,000 from each defendant, plus court costs.

Furthermore, Thomas argues that Washington Park is required to pay settlement for compensatory damages against its employee while acting within the scope of his employment. So, Thomas demands judgment against the defendant for the amount of any judgment entered against Stith and other relief the court deems proper.

The plaintiff is represented by Jarrod P. Beasley of Kuehn, Beasley & Young PC in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-172

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