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Chillicothe Times-Bulletin - Chillicothe, IL
  • Former inmate filing lawsuit for beating

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  • Less than a week after a Peoria County correctional officer was acquitted of improperly striking an inmate last year, that same jailer is being sued in federal court for civil rights violations.
    Anthony Stacey, 31, of Peoria, alleges his Constitutional Rights were violated on Feb. 2, 2012, when he was an inmate at the Peoria County Jail and suffered injuries while he was being booked into the jail, according to a complaint filed Feb. 4 in U.S. District Court in Peoria.
    Stacey was brought to the jail for obstructing justice and claims he was subjected to excessive force by Trenton D. Gustafson, 29, of Chillicothe, whom he claims slammed his head into the floor and repeatedly struck him until Stacey was knocked unconscious.
    In addition to Gustafson, Peoria and Peoria County are named as defendants as well as their respective law enforcement chiefs — Chief Steve Settingsgaard and Sheriff Michael McCoy. Two jailers, Jacqueline Russell and Kelly Nelson, and one Peoria police officer, Anthony Pence, are also included as defendants.
    The suit seeks millions of dollars in damages as well as costs and fees.
    Gustafson was acquitted of two misdemeanor counts of battery Jan. 30 after a three-day trial. It was undisputed Gustafson struck Stacey, and the officer testified he had to use force because Stacey was being combative and would not comply with his orders to be searched for contraband.
    In the lawsuit, Stacey claimed he was intoxicated at the time and therefore, the jailers and Pence should have realized that and acted accordingly. Instead, the suit states, they failed to, and as a result, Stacey was severely injured.

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