Blue Island, IL —
In the case of a suburban, gay HIV-positive man who alleges he was beaten by police, a federal judge recently allowed his lawyers to file an amended complaint that names the individual officers and adds a hate crime count.
Illinois' hate crime statute is rarely used, especially against police officers, according to Jon Erickson, one of the attorneys representing the man.
According to the lawsuit, Demetrius Anderson, who suffers from mental illness, attempted suicide in April 2009. Officers arrived on the scene and chased Anderson, who panicked and fled when EMTs arrived. Anderson claims that the officers battered him by shooting him with a taser, standing on his hands, feet, back and neck and handcuffing him tightly.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the officers made comments regarding Anderson's religion, mental illness and sexual orientation. Because of these actions, the lawsuit claims, the officers committed a hate crime.
The lawsuit also accuses the officers of maliciously prosecuting Anderson because of his HIV status, using excessive force, assault and other charges.
Erickson hopes that the case will get the attention of Blue Island City Hall. In addition to the hate crime count, the lawsuit also accuses the city of failing to train its officers in how to properly arrest and detain mentally ill individuals.
Anderson was charged with resisting arrest, but those charges were later dropped.