Police Brutality at the Hands of Sgt. Myers and the Corruption of the Champaign Sheriff’s Department Under Dan Walsh That Allowed It to Continue

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On November 6, 2004 I was taken into custody by the Urbana Police Department for an
incident that occurred at the Canopy Club. I was not right with my actions that night at
the club, but that does not make what happened later any less wrong. Attached is a copy
of the complaint I filed with the Sheriff’s Department in May of 2005 detailing what
happened when I was transferred into the custody of the sheriff’s officers under the
supervision of Sgt. Myers. It describes how I had my wrists and ankles handcuffed to a
chair, a bag thrown over my head, and the unnecessary use of a taser and the merciless
beating I suffered by Sgt. Myers. What my complaint doesn’t describe is the nearly two
years of my life that I lost fighting unjust charges of aggravated battery of a police officer.
charges that Sgt. Myers himself admitted were not brought against me until after he had
handcuffed me to a chair and put a bag over my head, charges that, due to the corruption
and incompetence of both the Sheriff’s Department and the State’s Attorney’s Office,
were not dropped until July 5, 2006.
In early August of 2005, I received a response to my complaint from Capt. James
Young. The response did not give any indication that an investigation had been done
into my complaint. If an investigation had been done, Capt. Young would have noticed
that Sgt. Myers had said that when I came into the jail I was already bleeding as a result
of the fight I was in prior to being brought to the jail. But the arresting officers made it
very clear in their report that I was never in a fight before coming to the jail, that I used
no physical force against any person, that none was used on me, and that I had no visible
wounds. I had listed the names of several witnesses who could testify as to my physical
state at the time of my arrest, they were never called. Detail after detail that raised
questions as to the truthfulness of Sgt. Myers’s statement were ignored by Capt. Young.
On August 28, 2005, I met with Sheriff Dan Walsh personally and brought my complaint
to his direct attention. I left that day with his assurance that my complaint would
be further investigated. Had Sheriff Walsh kept his word, what happened in the weeks to
follow could have been avoided. On September, 19, 2005, Myers tased a pregnant
woman for requesting to go to church services. The week of November 12, 2005, two
more men were tased by Myers. Finally, Sgt. Myers’ abuse of power became so blatant
that even the inept Sheriff could see it (or, he just saw no other way of ignoring Sgt.
Myers’s behavior), and the Sheriff’s Department decided to act and charged Sgt. Myers
with several felony counts. This would begin the Sheriff Department’s cover up.
On December 1, 2005, I met with Lt. Ogle and again recounted my complaint to a
member of the Champaign Sheriff’s Department. I was left the with impression that the
charges against me would be dropped, but told that because of jury trials, the prosecutor
might not get to it for a couple weeks. In early January 2006, I threatened to go to the
FBI if the charges against me were not dropped. Hours later, I received a call from Susan
McGrath of the State’s Attorney’s Civil Division attempting to buy me off. I told her I was
not interested in money, only seeing the charges against me dropped and Sgt. Myers fully
prosecuted. Many more months passed, and I took my case to the FBI. I was told that,
after the agency talked with the State’s Attorney, the FBI would not investigate my case
because the State’s Attorney was not interested in making a plea bargain with Myers. But
the State’s Attorney also told the FBI that I would be allowed to testify against Myers at
his trial. Imagine my amazement when I learned that the State’s Attorney had not yet
dropped charges against me for the same crime that they now were going to let me testify
against Sgt. Myers for. Finally, on July 5, 2006, nearly 8 months after Sgt. Myers had
been charged with the same crime I had accused him of 20 months earlier, I was free
from the charges brought against me by Sgt. Myers. But I was never contacted by the
State’s Attorney’s office to testify against Myers, until November 6, 2006.
It came as no surprise to me that the prosecutor, Steve Ziegler, waited until that day
to contact me, I had always through this was about the county trying to avoid an expensive
civil suit, and November 6 was the first day after the statute of limitations had
expired to file a civil suit. But, as before, I heard nothing after that day about testifying
against Myers. Now Julia Rietz wants to offer Sgt. Myers a “sweetheart” plea bargain for
the despicable crimes he committed against me and at least three other individuals. It
has now become clear that this was never about money; it was about keeping people
quiet until they could give Sgt. Myers the deal THEY thought he deserved. It was about
delaying justice until I could no longer file a civil suit, and then disregarding justice
completely. Perhaps justice is better off; it doesn’t seem welcome in Champaign County.

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