Videos detail incident that prompted man's excessive-force lawsuit

Videos detail incident that prompted man's excessive-force lawsuit

CHAMPAIGN — Newly released Champaign police reports and video of a use-of-force incident appear to shed different light on the events of Oct. 17, 2017, than what 62-year-old Alton Corey alleged in a federal lawsuit against the city.

On Tuesday, in response to a News-Gazette Media open-records request, the city made public 17 pages of reports and 12 videos — seven from squad cars, five from body cameras — taken on the night officers William Killin and Dillon Holloway responded to a call for an alleged domestic dispute in the 1500 block of Kiler Drive.

One of the videos shows the alleged victim greeting the officers in the stairwell of the apartment building when they arrive around 10:45 p.m.

Speaking about Corey, she tells them: "He gets really drunk sometimes. He threw all my stuff in the hallway and hit me in the head."

Killin and Holloway then knock on Corey's door. When he sees them, he is immediately upset, shouting: "What? What? What the ..." and using profanity.

After Corey momentarily retreats into his home, then walks back toward the officers, Holloway puts his hand on Corey's chest. The two separate, and Corey tells the officers his side of what happened.

"This here ho gonna come in my house and gonna say this and say that. I said 'Leave my house. Leave my house. Leave me alone.' I went to the hospital to get a procedure today. I got a defibrillator," he tells them.

When Killin tries to get a word in, Corey swears at the officer.

Killin, who appears to stand several inches taller than Corey, moves in closer. They're face to face when Killin instructs Corey to "look at me now!"

"I ain't gotta look at you!" Corey shouts back.

Killin then shoves Corey, telling him: "Stay back."

(In his report, Killin writes that Corey "batted my left arm before flailing his arms up in the air. I pushed Alton backwards to create space for my safety and told him to stay back.")

"Why you hittin' me?" Corey says.

Video shows that Corey flails his arms upward, maintaining he does not need to look at Killin. Killin reacts by pushing Corey backward into his apartment, which escalates the interaction.

Corey then takes a step toward the hall. Each officer grabs one of his arms and pulls him forward. The momentum propels Corey face-first into the door across the narrow hallway.

(In the suit, filed by Chicago attorney Shneur Nathan, Corey claims both officers slammed him face-first into a door, causing him to black out, after he told them they couldn't come in).

Corey is momentarily quieted and restrained. Seconds later, he can be heard to ask: "I'm dead?"

"You're not dead," an officer responds, asking if he has anything illegal on him.

Corey responds again, "I'm dead."

An officer repeats: "You're not dead."

"Yes I am. You all paralyzed me."

"We didn't paralyze you."

Corey then asks police to call his brother.

One officer says to another: "We didn't mean to hit him against the door. We hit him against the wall and pulled him through. It's on the video."

Seconds later, as Corey begins to come to, he launches a string of expletives, accusing the officers of wanting to kill him because he's black. He also alleges the officers were "jealous" of him because he was with a white woman.

"All you (expletive) white men want to do is kill a (racial epithet)," Corey screams repeatedly. "... That's all you honkies want to do."

According to Killin's report, Corey refused to be put in an ambulance, so Holloway drove him to the hospital in his squad car.

No officers were hurt, and a Champaign Police Department review found the use of force was reasonable and consistent with policy and training.

The Champaign County State's Attorney's Office later dismissed misdemeanor battery and assault charges against Corey.

Nathan, Corey's attorney, admitted his client was upset but maintained his stance that the officers are at fault.

"The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution has a reasonableness standard. That's the standard by which these officers are judged." Nathan said. "If you watch the video, the level of force that was used on an elderly man, Mr. Corey, given his statement to the officer that he had just underwent a heart procedure, it's not reasonable. And I believe a reasonable jury will come to that conclusion."

Nathan couldn't confirm details of the incident that led to police arriving, other than to say a dispute occurred and that Corey asked his alleged victim to leave.

Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Bannon said the city is reviewing the lawsuit and takes the allegations "very seriously."

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