Evanston police cleared in excessive force lawsuit

Rebecca Gausnell

A federal jury rejected a man’s lawsuit against the City of Evanston, claiming his civil rights were violated in 2008, Evanston Police Department Chief of Police Richard Eddington said in a news release.

The suit, filed in July 2009 by Ronald Hutchinson, claimed that an Evanston police officer used excessive force during his arrest. It sought $90,000 in damages from the city, according to the news release.

“On the day in question, officers acted with restraint and professionalism during a potentially life-threatening encounter with a combative offender,” EPD Cmdr. Tom Guenther said in the release. “The federal jury’s verdict completely exonerated the officer and the City of Evanston, vindicating our department’s response validating the officers’ actions.”

On July 28, 2008, officers responded around 7 p.m. to a disturbance in the 1800 block of Brown Avenue. Upon arrival, police approached two subjects fighting on the street and instructed them to quit fighting. One man complied, while the other, identified as Hutchinson, concealed his hand under his shirt, near his waistband, as if to imply he possessed a weapon, police said. When police asked Hutchinson to show them his hands, he did not comply and fled the area on foot. After following Hutchinson, officers then physically detained him after he remained defiant and combative, according to the release.

In 2008 Hutchinson was charged with disobedience to police and possession of cannabis.