Man's suit accuses Urbana, UI cops of harassing him after Rush settlement

Man's suit accuses Urbana, UI cops of harassing him after Rush settlement

URBANA — A man who won a $225,000 settlement from the city of Champaign two years ago over his complaint that former police officer Matt Rush used excessive force against him is now suing one University of Illinois and several Urbana police officers for civil-rights violations.

Shneur Nathan, a Chicago attorney representing Benjamin Mann, 36, of Urbana, notified The News-Gazette on Wednesday that he filed suit in U.S. District Court late Tuesday on behalf of Benjamin Mann and Samantha Wade of Urbana.

The suit alleges that Urbana police are harassing Mann to retaliate against him for standing up to the city of Champaign regarding Rush's beating of him on March 16, 2014.

Mann ultimately settled out of court with Champaign for $225,000 over his treatment and Rush himself reached an agreement with the city in January that paid him $50,000 in return for an end to his grievances and a promise that he would never work again as a Champaign police officer.

Mann and Wade's federal suit cites two instances involving Urbana police contact with them in the wake of Rush's removal from the Champaign Police Department.

Both were arrested by Urbana police March 19, 2017, in connection with a confrontation between them and a woman with whom they nearly got in an auto accident. The couple were arrested on charges of resisting a peace officer and both were ultimately acquitted by different juries. The suit claims that officers falsely charged them and "fabricated" police reports about their conduct.

The suit also alleges harassment by Urbana officers and one UI police officer against Mann in connection with a July 30, 2017, incident at the Urbana home he shares with Wade.

Police were called to investigate a complaint of noises coming from the home but Mann declined to let them in because they did not have a warrant. Wade was present and told police she was fine and did not need help, the suit said.

Despite that, the suit said the officers used a battering ram to enter the home by force.

Mann alleges in the suit that the officers were harassing him "despite the clear evidence that there was no lawful basis" to enter.

The officers "took the actions ... because they are aware that they will not be disciplined for violating the rights of citizens and because they wanted to retaliate against Mann for filing a civil-rights lawsuit against their fellow officers from the Champaign-Urbana law-enforcement community," the suit alleges.

The misdemeanor charge of resisting a peace officer filed over the July incident was dismissed in mid-October.

The suit describes Mann as a "well-known civil-rights activist within the Champaign-Urbana local community" whose rights to free speech, equal protection and unlawful search were violated.

It seeks damages for Mann and Wade as well as costs and attorneys' fees.

Neither Urbana police Chief Sylvia Morgan nor City Attorney James Simon were willing to comment on the suit. Simon said he had not seen it yet and does not talk about pending litigation anyway.

"We'll look at it and we will defend it appropriately," Simon said.

Named as defendants are Urbana police officers Jennifer Difanis, Colby G. Wright, Sara M. Links, Seth R. King, Jay Loschen, Chad Burnett, Don C. McClellan, Adam Marcotte, John Franquemont and Zach Mikalik and the city of Urbana.

UI police officer Chris Elston and the UI board of trustees are also named as defendants. Elston was reportedly present for Mann's July arrest.

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rsp wrote on December 07, 2017 at 9:12 am

I wonder if that quote by Mann's mother in those other reports will come into play. Didn't reflect too well on the plaintiffs. This law suit is about different cases. Of course maybe the cops know them as well as his mom.

champaign61821 wrote on December 07, 2017 at 9:12 am

I don't know about his other complaints, but there should be no reason to use a battering ram to break into someone's house like that after both occupants came outside to speak with police.

rsp wrote on December 07, 2017 at 2:12 pm

The battering ram was because they refused to come out and there is a long history of alcohol use and domestic disturbances with this couple. The police would be negligent to not go inside to make sure she was safe. She may have been the one to call them, or it could have been someone who was concerned for her welfare.


Bystander wrote on December 07, 2017 at 10:12 am
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The new way to get rich without working: sue the cops. Mann is just looking for more easy money. Shame on the lawyer enabling him. 

billbtri5 wrote on December 07, 2017 at 12:12 pm

.."look at it and defend it"... mind already made up ?


..also if you win on a police case. you are going to have to leave town...



Yea Right wrote on December 07, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Seems to be a pattern lately...sue the cops and make a quick buck. The American way is to get a job and support yourself! #getajob #getouttatown