CHICAGO — A member of Eastern Illinois University's swim team is suing several police officers claiming they violated his rights during a team trip in February 2019.
The ACLU of Illinois filed the federal lawsuit against six officers from several departments in the Quad Cities area.
According to the suit, on Feb. 24, 2019, Jaylan Butler was traveling with the team by bus from South Dakota.
“Shortly after 8:00 p.m., the bus pulled over on a frontage road off Interstate 80 near East Moline, Illinois. Jaylan and several teammates left the bus to stretch their legs,” according to the ACLU’s statement.
Butler and team members began taking selfies by road signs.
The suit claims officers swarmed the area with guns drawn and cuffed Butler, with one putting a gun to his head.
According to the statement from the ACLU, Butler, “put his hands up, dropped his cell phone, and dropped to his knees. … While one officer handcuffed him, other officers pinned him to the ground by pushing a knee into Jaylan’s back and pressing down on Jaylan’s neck. Another officer then held his gun to Jaylan’s forehead and threatened to “blow his [expletive] head off” if he moved.”
The team bus driver and Jaylan’s coach were alarmed and exited the bus to tell the officers Jaylan was part of the EIU swim team.
“The officers quickly realized that Jaylan was not the suspect they were looking for and had done nothing wrong, but instead of releasing him and apologizing, the officers searched his pockets and placed him — still cuffed — in the back of a police vehicle. After several more minutes, the officers released him, but only after forcing Jaylan to provide photo identification,” the statement said.
Butler is suing officers from the Hampton Police Department, the East Moline Police Department, and the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office for false arrest, excessive detention, and excessive use of force.
The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.
The Rock Island County State's Attorney is defending two deputies named in the lawsuit.
The office did not respond to WGN New’s request for comment.