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September 25, 2022

Federal Civil Rights Suit Filed; Dolton Village, Mayor Henyard, Others Named Defendants; Allegations of First Amendment Retaliation and other Civil Rights Violations –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 8, 2022

DOLTON, IL. (ECWd) –

Two Plaintiffs filed suit in the Federal Court, Northern District of Illinois, naming the Village of Dolton, Mayor Tiffany Henyard, Dolton police officer Lacy and unknown Dolton police officers.

The Complaint alleges civil rights violations for First Amendment Retaliation, Fourth Amendment violations including false seizure and arrest, and related state law violations.

This complaint asks for unspecified monetary relief, including compensatory damages.

This stems from a peaceful protest within a few blocks of Dolton Village Hall, where people were protesting the Dolton police killing of Alexis Wilson by shooting her seven times, including twice in the head. Mayor Henyard was having a “meeting” outside village hall at the same time.

From this Complaint:

  • Plaintiffs was one of several dozen peaceful protestors who attempted to voice his concern and opposition to the actions of the Village of Dolton and the individual police officer involved in the killing of Ms. Wilson
  • Instead of being able to peacefully voice his opinion, Defendant officers roughly seized and arrested Plaintiffs, held them for several hours and issued them a false ticket alleging that Plaintiff was interfering with a public meeting. On the eve of trial, after prosecuting the tickets for months, the Village of Dolton dismissed the tickets
  • In order to protest the police shooting and killing of Alexis Wilson by a Dolton Police Officer and the lack of termination and prosecution of that officer, several protestors, including the Plaintiffs, appeared
  • The Dolton Police Department barricaded the streets off from the protestors, in an attempt to prevent them from getting near the meeting

After protesters moved back at least four times, at request of police officers:

  • At or around 5:56 PM, while the protestors complied with police orders by moving further back and away, the police made their first arrest of a protestor, seizing a protestor who was filming the protest and the officers
  • As the protestors moved back, police made their second arrest of a protestor, seizing a protestor as she spoke through a bullhorn
  • No Dolton village police officer ever gave Plaintiffs an order to disperse or a warning that they would be placed under arrest if they didn’t leave
  • At no time did Defendants or other Dolton police officers advise Plaintiff that they were interfering with a public meeting
  • Plaintiffs complied with every order to move back that Defendants and other Dolton police issued
  • Defendant police officers arrested Plaintiffs, took them into custody and kept them in custody even though they were breaking no law
  • Defendants arrested Plaintiffs to intimidate them, to punish them, and to discourage them and others from exercising their First Amendment rights and expressing their First Amendment protected views
  • Defendants engaged in their misconduct on September 1, 2021 in an attempt to silence and stop peaceful protests in Dolton opposing police brutality and killings
  • They did so also to protect the Mayor from voices of opposition and concern about the conduct of the police and their racist killings

Additionally:

  • Just weeks prior to the September 1, 2021 protest, Plaintiff West protested nearly everyday at a Shell gas station in Dolton for the beating of a woman inside the station by an employee at said station
  • On some occasions, Plaintiff West was threatened with arrest for his protest outside the gas station
  • On September 1, 2021, while protesting with three organizations against the killing of Alexis Wilson outside the village hall of Dolton, Plaintiff West was placed under arrest by Dolton police department
  • Plaintiff West was taken to the station and placed in a dark interrogation room for several hours, without being processed or informed why he was being detained
  • Plaintiff West was also denied access to the lavatory while in custody for hours
  • Eventually, Plaintiff West was released without charges, after the protest had ended
  • Several weeks later, Plaintiff West received a ticket in the mail citing a violation of a local ordinance, Interference with a Public Meeting, which was eventually dismissed the eve of trial

And more:

  • On September 1, 2021, while protesting with three organizations against the killing of Alexis Wilson outside the village hall of Dolton, Plaintiff McCleenan was placed under arrest by Dolton police department at approximately 5:57pm

Count I alleges First Amendment Retaliation

Count II alleges Unreasonable Seizure

Count III alleges False Arrest and Imprisonment

County IV missing

Count V alleges State Malicious Prosecution

Count VI alleges Assault and Battery

County VII alleges Claim For Indemnity

In other Dolton news: Just last month, Dolton was handed a verdict of $33.5 million against them for a 2016 crash involving Dolton police.

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