Iroquois County settles lawsuit against correctional officer
WATSEKA — A $100,000 settlement has been reached between Iroquois County's insurance provider and a Watseka man who sued a correctional officer for allegedly assaulting him and violating his constitutional rights.
Iroquois County State's Attorney Jim Devine said Wednesday that the settlement will be paid entirely by the county's insurance provider, Governmental Interinsurance Exchange, Bloomington, to the plaintiff, Corey Kilgore, 38, of Watseka.
Kilgore's attorney, Kent Heller of Mattoon, filed the civil complaint against correctional officer Shon M. Johnson in federal court in Urbana on June 3, 2011. The suit sought $100,000 in punitive damages and no less than $100,000 in compensatory damages for incidents that allegedly occurred on Jan. 5, 2011, while Kilgore was at the Iroquois County Jail after being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to the complaint, when Kilgore arrived at the jail in Watseka, Johnson opened the police car door to remove Kilgore, but Kilgore's feet were caught underneath the front seat. Johnson forcibly removed Kilgore, dragged him up the stairs, down the hallway and placed him in a holding cell.
Johnson \pushed Kilgore and shoved his head into a steel bench in the cell, the complaint said. The complaint further alleged that Johnson twice choked Kilgore, the second time causing him to lose consciousness.
Kilgore also asked to use the restroom, the complaint said, but was ignored and forced to urinate in the drain in the holding cell.
The complaint alleged that Johnson used a "degree of force that was unreasonable under the circumstances" and deprived Kilgore of his liberty by "subjecting him to unwarranted and unreasonable restraint."
Johnson, in written response to the complaint, denied all accusations. But on March 18, 2013, the settlement was reached between both parties and the suit was dismissed.
Devine noted that Iroquois County was not named as a defendant, but that its insurance provider is paying the settlement since the defendant is an employee of the sheriff's office.
Johnson remains employed as a correctional officer for the sheriff's office, Devine said.