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Keeling settles 3rd law suit, suspended 10 days

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Bill Dwyer View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12/December/2013 at 9:42pm

Forest Park Officer Jason Keeling has settled another civil rights case filed in federal court with someone alleging Keeling brutalized them during or after an arrest.

There were a slew of brutality and misconduct allegations against Keeling in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Keeling has lost two previous civil lawsuits alleging brutality or failure to intervene during police brutality. 

In the latest civil suit, Chicagoan Darius Meaux, 43, claimed Keeling stopped him on the Eisenhower Expressway the afternoon of Feb. 19, 2010.

The suit went unnoticed by the media, likely due to neither to the Village of Forest Park nor its police department being named in the suit, despite Keeling reportedly "acting under color of law, and within the scope of his employment."

Meaux's 2010 arrest did not, however. The Forest Park Review published a full story on the arrest, including the implication that Meaux resisted arrest. That story can be found at: http://www.forestparkreview.com/News/Articles/2-23-2010/Radios,-masks-in-stolen-car/

After placing Meaux in handcuffs, the lawsuit alleged, Keeling slammed (Meaux’s) face onto the hood of the squad car, injuring Plaintiff’s nose and face,” then “pulled (Meaux) down onto the ground and punched Plaintiff in the face with a closed fist, causing further pain and injury to Plaintiff’s nose and face.”

“Part of this incident was recorded by the dashboard video camera in (Keeling)’s squad car,” the civil complaint contends. “This video reveals that Plaintiff was not resisting arrest, and was handcuffed when Defendant Officer forcefully slammed his face into the hood of the squad car.”

The complaint adds, “As a result of Defendant Officer’s actions, Plaintiff was injured, and his nose now sits crooked on his face.”

Meaux’s complaint alleged excessive force and asked for “fair and just amount sufficient to compensate Plaintiff for his damages, plus a substantial sum in punitive damages, as well as court costs, attorney’s fees…”

The complaint did not name Forest Park or its police department as a defendant, but Keeling was represented by five lawyers, including attorneys from Litchfield Cavo and O'Halloran, Kosoff, Geitner & Cook, two law firms regularly used by Forest Park.

The complaint was filed Feb. 18, 2012. On March 17, a summons was served on Keeling at the Forest Park Police records division, left with a clerk.

On March 27, one of Keeling’s five attorneys filed an answer to Meaux’s complaint.

Both sides reached a settlement in April, 2012. 

Meanwhile, that same week that Keeling was subpoenaed in the Meaux civil suit, the Forest Park police department was initiating an internal investigation of Keeling.

Whether that was related to Meaux’s allegations against Keeling or other conduct by Keeling is unclear.

The internal investigation of Keeling moved quickly. In late March top village staff and police brass conferred with the village’s legal counsel and spend several days preparing for the process of interrogating Keeling.

The second week of April Keeling was presented with disciplinary charges and ordered to submit to a formal interrogation.

Days later Keeling was formally interrogated with his Fraternal Order of Police counsel present.

In mid June he was slapped with a 10-day suspension.

Keeling reportedly filed a grievance over the suspension.

Sometime in early to mid-2013, Keeling filed for an off-duty disability.

In April, 2013, the Forest Park Police Pension Board met in session and that it “has been notified that Officer Keeling is back to work full-duty.  The Board is still waiting for all of the doctors’ reports to arrive. Once the Board receives this information a hearing will be set up for a time that is convenient for all Board members….”

On Oct. 16, the Forest Park pension board reportedly closed its file on Keeling’s off duty disability case. 

A history of brutality allegations

The village settled another federal civil rights case against Keeling in August 2008. That case alleged that on October 18, 2005, Jeams Potts was walking on Madison when Keeling pulled up, put Potts in handcuffs, then proceeded to slam his head “several times” against the squads trunk. Outside the station, Potts alleged, Keeling threw him to the ground and kicked him in the head several times. Inside the station, Potts alleged, Keeling threw him against a file cabinet and against a wall, then to the floor, and kicked him several times and stepped on his neck. He then picked him up by his handcuffs a placed him in a cell.

On Jan. 28, 2011, a jury ruled in favor of Jose Santana, a man who claimed he was beaten and Tasered by Forest Park police in 2004.

Santana alleged he suffered “blunt head trauma and contusions of the eye, chest and wrist” while being arrested by several Forest Park officers on August 18, 2004.

Officer Harold Grimes was found guilty of excessive use of force, and Officer Jason Keeling for failing to intervene when a handcuffed Santana was Tasered while inside a jail cell.

Santana was awarded $50,000. 

Former Sgt. Dan Harder accused Keeling of taking a handcuffed juvenile prisoner and slamming his head against a wooden door frame on Oct. 10, 2003, and of beating one Stephen Hetman while handcuffed, hitting him and kneeing him while in a cell on March 19, 2004.

Keeling is shown on the front page of the Forest Park Review in Jan., 2005, with another officer leading Wrigleyville rapist John Chruikshank away in cuffs after he was arrested on a Harlem Avenue bus by Oak Park tactical officers subsequent to a rape attempt in Forest Park.

Harder previously alleged under oath that Keeling beat Chruikshank about the face so badly- while in handcuffs- that Chicago detectives insisted that photographs be taken documenting Chruikshank’s injuries before they would agree to take custody of him from Forest Park police.

Those alleged incidents were not adjudicated. 


Facts are a bitch and the truth most hurts the liars
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jerry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13/December/2013 at 12:42am
I find it interesting we had a police fired for swearing at another police officer. There has was case of sexual assault on a female officer. The defend pleaded no contest to the charges, then was suspended for a year with pay.(????????) There have been numerous complaints against a number of officers for excessive force yet the most that ever seems to happen is a short suspension. How much money(tax dollars?) has been payed out and it still continues.  I know that this is a high stress job, but it seems to be getting worse not better.
 
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