Innocent Black Student Files Lawsuit Against Police Who Put a Gun to His Head

by February 26, 2020


Chicago, IL — Jaylan Butler, a 20-year old man from Chicago, says that he was falsely accused and violently arrested by police who threw him to the ground and put a gun to his head even after learning that he was the wrong guy. He filed a lawsuit against the police officers, alleging false arrest and excessive use of force.

In the incident that occurred last year, Butler, who is a member of the school’s swim team, was traveling with his teammates on a bus when he was asked by his coach to take a picture of a road sign while they were on a rest stop.

As he was walking back to the bus, several patrol cars suddenly surrounded him and at least six police officers came up to him and confronted him with guns drawn.

“Plaintiff Jaylan Butler has always known that he could be targeted by police officers because he is Black. Mr. Butler’s father taught him at a young age how to maximize his chances of surviving an encounter with law enforcement — stop instantly, put your hands up, drop anything you are holding, and drop to your knees,” the lawsuit states.

Butler quickly did that, but he was forced to the ground by the officers. An officer even held a gun to his head and threatened to “blow his fu–ing head off” if he moved. Butler complied with all the orders as he was being handcuffed while face down in the ground.

His coaches then noticed the commotion and intervened and explained to the police officers that he was a college athlete. He was able to show his ID to the officers only after the violent arrest. He was released when they realized he was not the person they were looking for.

“They never told Jaylan why he was being arrested, even after they realized their mistake,” Rachel Murphy, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Illinois, told New York Post. “Instead, it’s clear they based their decision to arrest and harm Jaylan on the fact that he was a young Black man.”

Butler recently filed a lawsuit against the officers from the Hampton Police Department, the East Moline Police Department, and the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office for false arrest, excessive detention, and excessive use of force.

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