Thursday, March 8, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
During a regular meeting on March 6, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously to authorize a $60,000 settlement in relation to a lawsuit filed in 2015 alleging unlawful seizure and excessive force by Maywood police officers.
The lawsuit, filed by Andre Thomas on Nov. 9, 2015 in Cook County Circuit Court, names Maywood Police Officers Brian Daniels and Ilir Shemitraku.
Thomas claims that on Nov. 10, 2014, while standing outside of a relative’s apartment building near 4th Avenue and Madison Street in Maywood, he was approached by Daniels, “who told him to leave the area,” according to a March 1 memo drafted by Jason Guisinger, an attorney with the village’s law firm, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins.
“The Plaintiff and his friends turned to walk away when Officer Daniels grabbed him from behind and grabbed him by his pants,” Guisinger writes.
After turning around to see who was grabbing him, Thomas claims that Daniels allegedly pulled out his nightstick and told him “we have to make an example out of you,” before striking Thomas in the head with the nightstick and throwing him to the ground.
“Officer Daniels and at least two other Maywood Police officers began punching and kicking Plaintiff until he was finally cuffed, arrested and charged with resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer,” the memo states.
Thomas, who eventually went to trial and was found “not guilty of the criminal charges,” sustained “a concussion and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome as a result of the incident. He also claims a shoulder injury as a result of the incident.”
Thomas also filed claims of “false arrest, battery and malicious prosecution” against the village in state courts.
Thomas’s attorney had initially demanded $200,000 from the village, but “due to certain negative facts in this case,” Guisinger stated, “we recommended and received settlement authority in the amount of $70,000” before the board authorized the final $60,000 amount.
In addition to the payment, the authorization also triggers the lawsuit’s dismissal. The settlement is not “admission or evidence of any wrongdoing or liability” by the village, the police officers or the plaintiff, according to the language of the settlement agreement.
Guisinger added, however, that Officer Daniels “has been a defendant in four excessive force cases in the last two years.”
The attorney wrote that KTJ would “be communicating with [Maywood Village Manager Willie] Norfleet and [Maywood Police Chief] Valdimir Talley in regard to possible discipline and training of Officer Daniels.” VFP
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