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Stalker Processed Properly
by Ron Davis

Charges that an Illinois man harassed a shopping center employee where she worked has apparently ended with a favorable outcome for the employee.

The alleged harassment of the employee occurred where she works at the Showplace Shopping Center, located in Naperville. Those charges arose following an apparent stalking of the employee. That employee, who works for Starbucks at the shopping center, had previously noticed the presence of the man. To the employee, the man seemed “suspicious,” which ultimately led to her contacting the local police.

The police quickly responded and arrested the man, charged him with a non-traffic complaint, and ordered him to appear in court following his release from jail. After that release, Starbucks presented the man with a notice of expulsion and a warning against trespassing on Starbucks’ property in the Showplace Shopping Center.

Such actions did not deter the stalker, however. One evening during a break from her work at Starbucks, the targeted employee was sitting with friends on a bench outside the store. That’s when she spotted the stalker driving into the Starbucks parking lot and parking directly past where she was seated. During the next few minutes, the stalker twice re-parked his car, each time parking closer to the employee.

The Starbucks employee was obviously frightened by that obvious attempt to harass her, and she summoned the local police. They in turn arrested the stalker, charging him with disorderly conduct. Following that arrest and his eventual release, the stalker alleged that the police illegally detained him, searched him and seized his cellphone.

The stalker also argued that the arresting police officers used excessive force and held him in custody on unwarranted charges. That’s because, he said, he fully cooperated during his arrest. But, in fact, Illinois law states that an arresting police officer can be held liable for excessive force “only if the alleged violation was a result of an express policy, force of law, or action by a final policymaker.”

An Illinois court later pointed out, however, “Given the tasks that must be accomplished before a detainee is released on bond, the amount of time that the process usually takes, and the fact that plaintiff’s releases were processed in a fraction of the usual time, the court finds that there is no triable fact issue as to the reasonableness of the plaintiff’s detention.

“For the reasons set forth, the court grants the summary judgment motions of the…sheriff’s office and the county.”

(Ashish Gupta, Plaintiff v. Correctional Officer Randy L. Owens, Will County, et all, Slip Copy, 2016 WL 463974)

Decision: January 2016
Published: February 2016



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