Evanston man files report against Northwestern police, raises conduct questions

Paige Leskin, Reporter

An Evanston resident filed a complaint Tuesday with University Police, calling his experience being arrested by an officer Sunday night after a traffic stop “troubling” and “painful.”

John Foley, 52, told The Daily on Monday that a UP officer used excessive force in a situation that quickly escalated as a result of a “miscommunication” between the two men.

After Foley turned onto Orrington Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday to pick up his son from the library, a UP car pulled up behind Foley’s car with its lights on and Foley pulled over. The officer told Foley he was pulled over for a bike lane violation and asked for his diver’s license and insurance card, according to the complaint report. Foley, who works as a financial consultant, said he didn’t have his license with him because he left his wallet at home.

Foley said he asked the officer if he could proceed to Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., to pick up his son. The officer did not respond and returned to his police car, Foley says in the report. Foley took that to mean the officer would give him the ticket at the library, so he drove to the front of EPL with the police car following him, the report says.

The officer then approached the car and told Foley to get out, according to the report. Foley said the officer threw him against the car, scratching his glasses, asked Foley to spread his legs and frisked him. The officer then “wrenched” Foley’s hand behind his back and handcuffed him, Foley told The Daily.

The officer secured the handcuffs behind Foley’s back tightly, which strained a shoulder injury Foley sustained earlier in the week, the report says. Foley called to his son, who was standing nearby, to tell the officer about the injury, but the officer told the son to stay back and told Foley to stop resisting.

Foley states in the report that the officer told him, “I don’t give a f—. Two officers were killed in New York.”

The incident in Evanston occurred a day after two New York Police Department officers were killed in their patrol car in Brooklyn, New York.

UP put Foley in handcuffs in a patrol car and took him to the police station on Davis Street. At the station, the officer frisked him again, which included him putting “his hands down (Foley’s) blue jeans,” the report says.

Foley said he was handcuffed to a concrete bench in the station until another officer released him because “he didn’t want to ruin everyone’s Christmas,” according to the report. Police issued Foley two tickets shortly after 7 p.m. — one for driving without his license and one for a bike lane violation, the report says.

Foley said the incident has raised questions for him about what is considered normal and proper UP conduct.

“I want to know what Northwestern’s doing so this won’t happen again,” Foley told The Daily on Monday. “Does Northwestern want this reputation of their police force acting like this?”

Police are reviewing Foley’s complaint. UP Cmdr. Darren Davis declined to comment on the case, as it is UP policy not to comment on incidents under review.

The University will also look into the complaint, as it does with all UP reports, University spokesman Bob Rowley said.

Foley’s son’s tutor, Weinberg senior Blair Dunbar, said she saw Foley get arrested while standing in front of EPL with his son.

Dunbar, who is a Daily columnist, said although she was unable to hear words exchanged between the officer and Foley, the incident seemed to be a result of both men being frustrated, causing the situation to escalate. Foley did not appear to be resisting arrest, she said.

“The trauma of this incident by (the officer) inflicted on my family and myself is very deep, personal, troubling, painful emotionally and physically,” Foley said in the report. “This unfortunate event will be with us for a very long time.”

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