Champaign, Illinois, Reaches Settlement in Excessive Force Case

The city of Champaign, Illinois, reached a settlement on a 2018 excessive force lawsuit.

The Incident

On December 28, 2018, Tavion Jones-Premo claims he was forced to the ground while he was being arrested. Jones-Premo, who was 16 at the time, was being dropped off with a relative shortly after midnight on the night of the attack when officers stopped the car he was in.

Officers Jordan Hagemann, Timothy Atteberry, and Dane Kaldahl were already in the area investigating a report of a gunshot when they stopped Jones-Premo’s car. Jones-Premo had already entered his relative’s house when Officer Hagemann asked to speak with him.

His relative stated that Jones-Premo did not agree to speak with the officers, which is when Officer Atteberry allegedly reached for Jones-Premo. Officer Kaldahl reportedly grabbed Jones-Premo’s left arm and twisted it behind him, forcing him to the ground.

According to the lawsuit, Kaldahl reportedly “put his hand on TJP’s neck and pushed him into the mud.” Jones-Premo was taken into custody and remained there for more than 10 hours. He additionally had to spend 10 days in a juvenile correction facility since the arrest led to Jones-Premo’s probation being revoked.

No individuals in the car that evening were charged in relation to the gunshot that first drew the officers to the area.

The Settlement

The city of Champaign has settled the lawsuit for $74,500, pending council approval during the week of September 14, 2020.

Shawn Barnett, Jones-Premo’s attorney, had this to say: “The settlement the parties reached is a fair resolution to the matter. Tavion was a 16-year-old Black kid who was subjected to excessive force and arrested by members of the Champaign Police Department for no justifiable reason.”

Representing the city, Attorney Fred Stavins stated that the settlement was reached because all involved parties saw the benefits of avoiding potential legal fees and litigation expenses.

If the settlement is approved by the council, the payment will come from the city’s Retained Risk fund. Additionally, Kaldahl, Atteberry, and other officers have been dismissed as defendants.

Lee McFarland

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I write about current events which affect attorneys.