{{featured_button_text}}
courts

BLOOMINGTON — The city has reached an agreement to settle a federal court case against the city and four Bloomington police officers that alleged civil rights violations.

The City Council will consider on Monday night approving a payment of $55,000 to settle the nine-count lawsuit filed in 2017 by Ashley Burrell and Donnelly Jackson over a Jan. 7, 2016, incident in Bloomington.

"The decision to settle the litigation was an economic decision made by the city and its insurer," city attorney Jeff Jurgens said Friday. "The anticipated cost of defending the case was expected to be significantly higher than settling the case.

"The city denies its officers acted unlawfully in the incident, and the settlement will contain no admission of wrongdoing," said Jurgens.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Peoria named as defendants the city and Bloomington Police Department officers Bradley Massey, Aaron Veerman, Tyrel Klein and Justin Shively.

Chicago-based attorneys Daniel Kiss and Louis J. Meyer represented Burrell and Jackson.

"We have a confidentiality agreement so we can't comment other than to say the case has been settled to the satisfaction of our clients," said Meyer.

Burrell alleged unreasonable search and seizure of her vehicle after an officer pulled her over for allegedly failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign at  Robinhood Lane and Fairway Drive, according to court documents.

Police brought a canine to the scene to sniff for drugs. When Jackson, the passenger in the vehicle, refused to exit, officers removed him, according to the lawsuit. Jackson alleged in the lawsuit that he was injured by officers using excessive force, a taser and pepper spray.

Burrell was issued a ticket for not stopping at the stop sign, and released him at the scene. Jackson was taken to OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center to be evaluated and then to jail for allegedly resisting an officer.

Their charges were dropped by prosecutors in 2016. 

Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle