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A federal court jury found in favor of the City of Evanston and a police officer in connection with a complaint that alleged the plaintiff’s civil rights were violated during his arrest. The complaint alleged that the police officer used excessive force and conducted an unreasonable search.
Commander Tom Guenther, public information officer of the Evanston Police Department, said the lawsuit arose out of an incident that occurred on July 26, 2008. He said police were called to a disturbance in the 1800 block of Brown Avenue, where they observed a large group surrounding two persons who were fighting. The police officers told the two persons to stop fighting; one did and the other – the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit – concealed his hand under his t-shirt toward the waistband of his pants as if he possessed a weapon, said the Commander. Fearing for their safety, the officers told the plaintiff to show his hands; the plaintiff, however, fled the scene while continuing to conceal his hand, he said.
After a brief foot chase, one police officer was able to confront the plaintiff who remained defiant and combative, said Commander Guenther. The officer was then forced into physically confronting the plaintiff, and he took the plaintiff into custody, said the Commander. The plaintiff was subsequently charged with disobedience to the police and possession of cannabis.
Commander Guenther said, “On the day in question, officers acted with restraint and professionalism, during a potentially life threatening encounter with a combative offender. The federal jury’s verdict completely exonerated the officer and the City of Evanston, vindicating our departments’ response validating the officers’ actions.”