Evanston resident sues EPD officers for use of force, arrest under false pretenses


Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Two Evanston Police Department vehicles parked alongside one another. A resident filed a federal lawsuit against two Evanston Police officers.

Joshua Irvine, Reporter

An Evanston resident filed a federal lawsuit last week against two Evanston Police Department officers for allegedly arresting him under false pretenses and tasing him, pinning him to the ground and choking him.

The complaint, filed April 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, charges EPD sergeant Kenneth Carter and officer Mikhail Geyer with using excessive force as well as making an arrest under false pretenses after officers forcibly detained Ronald Louden in the 2100 block of Wesley Avenue in June 2018. The City of Evanston is included as a codefendant.

Body camera footage recorded by officers and released by Fox 32 Chicago shows a half-dozen officers approaching Louden at a parking lot. According to Louden’s complaint, he was grilling a meal for family and friends.

In the video, Louden can be heard asking why the officers are harassing him and attempting to call 911 on his cell phone.

“Excuse me, 911, please, I’m about to die, y’all,” Louden can be heard saying in the body camera footage. “Y’all want to see me die right now?”

At one point multiple officers approach Louden and attempt to pull his arms behind his back before a brief struggle ensues.

One officer can be seen pulling out his taser before deploying it at Louden’s exposed lower back. Louden then falls from the car to the ground face-first, while officers continue to attempt to handcuff him.

The complaint alleges Louden suffered scarring and bruising to his mouth, face, and back — including injuries that required the surgical extraction of a shattered tooth — as well as emotional damage. Following his arrest, Louden received treatment for his injuries at a nearby hospital, both the complaint and a city statement confirmed.

In response to the release of the video footage, the city released its own statement.

“Body camera video from the Evanston Police Department shows that Mr. Louden refused to oblige officers’ verbal requests and did not comply with subsequent verbal commands to step away from a vehicle where he had a loaded gun inside. He then resisted physical restraint,” the statement read.

In an interview with NBC 5, Louden compared his arrest to the circumstances leading to George Floyd’s murder by Derek Chauvin last May.

“I was like ‘Wow,’” he said. “Now with all the George Floyd and all this stuff going on, I mean, I could have been one of them.”

In 2019, the city settled for $1.25 million in a lawsuit filed by former Northwestern graduate student Lawrence Crosby after the release of body camera footage showing his violent arrest by EPD officers.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @joshuajirvine

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