Court Rules that Detainee Was Not Denied Necessary Medical Care and Officer Was Not Liable For Failure to Protect

July 26, 2017

Judge Colin Stirling Bruce of the U.S. District Court of Central Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of City of Kankakee Deputy Chief Robin Passwater, Kankakee Police Officer Michael Shreffler, and Jerome Combs Detention Center Nurse Dawn O’Dell in Villagomez v. Passwater, et al., No. 15-cv-2178.  Pro se Plaintiff Jesse Villagomez claimed that Officer Shreffler violated his constitutional rights when he unreasonably delayed in rescuing Plaintiff from being attacked.  Plaintiff further alleged that the defendants failed to provide him necessary medical attention for the injuries he sustained from the attack.

On May 19, 2014, Officer Shreffler responded to a call that shots were fired at a bar in Kankakee.  Upon Officer Shreffler’s arrival at the scene, Plaintiff ran in front of his squad car and was being chased by two individuals who believed that Plaintiff was responsible for their cousin’s death by shooting outside the bar. Officer Shreffler immediately exited his squad car and ran to Plaintiff who was being attacked by at least four individuals. Officer Shreffler rescued Plaintiff from the attack and placed him in his squad car. The Court held that Officer Shreffler could not be held liable for Plaintiff’s attack because he did not create or increase the danger Plaintiff faced and that Officer Shreffler did not unreasonably delay in exiting his squad car.

Plaintiff further alleged that, while in Officer Shreffler’s squad car, at the police station while he was being interrogated, and once he was in the jail, that he was “bleeding profusely” and had “multiple gashes throughout his head, arms, hands, and face.” The Court determined that the video recordings from the squad car and Plaintiff’s eight-hour interrogation showed that Plaintiff only suffered some large scrapes on his arm and a cut on his nose. Further, Deputy Chief Passwater provided Plaintiff with paper towels and sterile wipes, and Plaintiff never asked for medical attention during his eight-hour interrogation. Lastly, the Court held that Nurse O’Dell provided Plaintiff with adequate medical attention at the jail by giving him band-aids and antibiotic ointment. Michael Condon and Tara Grimm represented the defendant officer, deputy chief, and nurse.

Villagomez v. Passwater, et al., No. 15-cv-2178

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