A 64-year-old retired CTA mechanic has sued seven Brookfield police officers and the village of Brookfield in U.S. District Court, alleging excessive force, false arrest and malicious prosecution in connection to two separate incidents at his home in 2016 and 2017.
The officers named in the federal lawsuit are Andrew Lowry, Rafael Alvarado, Nicholas Hahn, Anthony Zeman, Mark McEwan, Raymond Paton and Daniel Flores.
The suit was filed on Aug. 9, less than two months after all charges lodged against the plaintiff, Rogelio Valdez, from both incidents were dismissed in Cook County Circuit Court on May 16.
Valdez seeks unspecified monetary compensation for, according to the complaint, “damages, which will be proven in court.”
Reached late last week, Police Chief James Episcopo declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
Brookfield police arrested Valdez at his residence for the first time on Aug. 9, 2016, according to the lawsuit, after Valdez called police to have his 43-year-old daughter removed because she was intoxicated.
The police report for that incident stated that Officer Lowry spoke to Valdez in the stairwell of the building’s common area, while other responding officers talked to others at the residence.
Lowry was then heard in a physical altercation with Valdez, according to the police report, with Lowry telling him he was under arrest for “hitting a police officer.” The lawsuit claims Valdez was grabbed by police, shoved over a bannister and handcuffed before being moved quickly down the stairway.
The police report claims Valdez was resisting while being taken down the stairs, causing Lowry to fall and break his ankle. The lawsuit disputes that Valdez was resisting and states that Valdez also fell down the stairs at the same time, resulting in a head and foot injury.
Lowry’s injury required surgery to repair, and he was off the streets for about two months after the incident.
Police returned to Valdez’s home on the night of May 4, 2017. According to the lawsuit, Valdez was asleep when four officers showed up at his residence “in the middle of the night,” banged on the door and announced they had an arrest warrant for his daughter.
Valdez claims police refused to show him the warrant and that they forced their way inside his apartment while his daughter was getting dressed, forcing him against a wall and hurting his shoulder.
Police charged Valdez with battery and resisting a peace officer, according to the lawsuit. Valdez claims police reports about the incident “contained false and/or misleading information about the circumstances of [Valdez’s] arrest as well as the justification for their use of force.”
The police report from the May 4 incident contradicts Valdez’s statement that he was asleep, with police responding to his residence after the building’s landlord called to report that Valdez’s daughter, who had been kicked out of the apartment, had returned.
Police reported hearing Valdez arguing with his daughter before they entered the residence. Valdez, who was intoxicated according to police, answered the door when police knocked, and his daughter was standing in the room with him.
According to police, Valdez’s daughter had failed to register with the Illinois State Police at as a violent offender to youth. She told police she could provide them with documentation proving she was granted a continuance on the matter by the court.
While the daughter went to produce that paperwork, Valdez allegedly became “hostile” with officers, at one point reportedly pushing a police officer. At that time police placed him under arrest for battery and also arrested his daughter for obstructing a police officer for allegedly interfering with the arrest of her father. The daughter was not charged for failing to register as a violent offender.