A suburban Chicago family has reportedly filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, one officer in particular, and “unknown police officers” in connection with an incident over the summer. The Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group is a law enforcement task force dedicated solely to investigating illegal drug trafficking and distribution, weapons offenses and gang activity in Lake County. Apparently the agency took did some shoddy work over the summer and made a family suffer unnecessarily. Now the family is suing.
According to sources, officers from the agency pulled a couple over in their vehicle after they had left their four children at home to go grocery shopping. After arresting and threatening the couple, officers took them in for questioning regarding drugs. The agency not only tore up the couple’s van searching in vain for drugs, but also the couple’s apartment. Absolutely no evidence of drugs was found in the whole search, and no criminal citations were issued.
Not only that, but the agency took numerous items from the couple’s apartment, including money. When the couple later called to complain, they were told that they would not get anything back until they proved the money did not come from drugs. Because of the incident, the couple was forced out of their apartment by their landlord and the woman lost her job because she was forced to take two weeks of leave. The couple and their four children apparently spent three months in a single motel room because of the poor work of these officers.
This is a good example of the kind of injustice police officers can do, and the unfortunate consequences of it. The couple is accusing the agency of illegally search and seizure, violation of due process, false arrest, and other offenses. Hopefully justice is done in this case.
Challenging police action is very important in the criminal defense process. No matter how serious the crime in question is, it is critical that police be held to a high standard of behavior. When police act illegally, the outcome is never just. Criminal defendants do well to work with a defense attorney who understands the importance of this.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “Family Says Chicagoland Cops Ran Wild,” Lorraine Bailey, January 2, 2013.