Breaking News / Government / Policing

Man Sues Maywood, Alleges He Was Arrested, Cited for Taking Photos of Police Station

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Friday, June 2, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

One man has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the village of Maywood in relation to an incident that happened last summer.

The village’s administrative hearing department, enforcement department, community development department, the Maywood police chief and two police officers (a commander and a sergeant), and a former administrative hearing officer are specifically listed as defendants in the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in February, the plaintiff, Patrick Swenie, claims that on August 29, 2016, he was arrested without probable cause by Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, Commander Theodore Yancy and Sergeant Daryl Fairley.

The lawsuit states that Swenie “was lawfully located on a public sidewalk” outside of the Maywood police station, 125 S. 5th Ave., when he was approached by Talley, who requested that he provide identification. Swenie had been taking pictures of the station’s exterior.

“When Talley demanded Plaintiff’s identification a reasonable person in Plaintiff’s position would not have felt free to leave and thus he was seized,” the federal complaint states.

“Talley did not have reasonable suspicion for this seizure. When Plaintiff did not produce identification Talley told Plaintiff that taking photographs of the exterior of the Maywood Police Department was Illegal,” the complaint continues. 

“Taking photographs of the exterior of the Maywood Police Department from a public sidewalk was not illegal, and was protected activity under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution [sic].”

When Swenie refused to provide Talley with his identification, the police chief, assisted by Yancy, placed him under arrest and escorted him into the police station, where Fairley confirmed Swenie’s arrest, the complaint states. Swenie eventually turned over his identification to Fairley, who served him a disorderly conduct citation.

According to Maywood ordinances, disorderly conduct entails “Making, aiding or assisting in making any improper noise, riot disturbance, breach of the peace or diversion tending to a breach of the peace.”

On January 6, Swenie appeared at an administrative hearing, where he defended himself against the allegations in the citation.

According to the complaint, “immediately before his hearing,” Fairley served him with a second disorderly conduct citation, claiming that Swenie knowingly “caused a breach of the peace by photographing officers [and] civilians going in and out of the police station.”

Swenie is seeking payment from the defendants for “punitive and exemplary damages in a sum to be ascertained,” legal fees and other payments that the court “may deem just and proper.”

When reached by phone on Friday, Swenie’s attorney, Garrett Browne, declined to comment on the specifics of the case. He did, however, indicate that the case is currently in the discovery phase, with both sides gathering evidence.

Attorneys with Maywood’s contracted law firm, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, are representing the defendants.

Contacted by phone Friday, Talley said that Swenie’s actions seemed designed to “bait us into doing something.” He said that Swenie had been standing outside of the station taking photographs of people going in and coming out of the facility.

When he asked Swenie why he was taking the photographs, Swenie didn’t say anything and was not responsive to officers’ concerns, Talley said, adding that the man’s actions were suspicious and constituted a possible threat to public safety.

Talley said that Swenie lives in Chicago and may have a history of provoking police encounters with officers from other agencies.

“Why would he come all the way from Chicago just to take pictures of the police station?” Talley said. “This was around the time of other incidents involving violence against law enforcement, such as the police shootings in Dallas [that happened on July 7, 2016].” 

Talley said that he believes federal case law will find that the actions that he and his officers took were justified. VFP

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6 thoughts on “Man Sues Maywood, Alleges He Was Arrested, Cited for Taking Photos of Police Station

  1. Talley said that Swenie’s actions seemed designed to “bait us into doing something.”

    Yes, because somebody exercising their God-given, constitutionally protected rights requires a cop to violate that persons rights. /sarc Idiots. I hope the guy wins a crap-ton of money.

  2. This really doesn’t make any sense! I don’t see what is wrong with a photographer taking photos of an police station in the exterior. What I don’t understand what Maywood Police Chief Talley stated: “Why would he come all the way from Chicago just to take pictures of the police station? “This was around the time of other incidents involving violence against law enforcement, such as the police shootings in Dallas.”

    Maybe he was taking some photos to expose the corruption of police officers that they think they are above the law, and the Maywood police department has a long history of corruption and the citizens still have a lack of trust.

    I just find this article very disturbing and appalling!

  3. Once you read the original complaint, its get crazier. The sergeant gives the gentlemen another ticket when he attend the hearing. Line 43 of complaint says, the police made false police reports against the sir, thats real serious. The sir include the hearing judge in the suit also for not recognizing the false complaint. They fine all four of them liable and a settlement had to be made, because this was the end. This looks real bad, the top of the staff is behaving like this. Wow

  4. “Talley said that Swenie’s actions seemed designed to “bait us into doing something.””

    Mom! That man…standing…silently…in broad daylight…on public property…doing nothing other than pointing a photon-gathering device in the general direction of taxpayer owned buildings! He is *baiting* me! He is looking at me all funny!

  5. Now if the police would only stop and question shady people walking back and forth around the neighborhood all day like this…. they say they can’t because it would violate their rights

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