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Lawsuit claims brutality, racism in Carpentersville

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CARPENTERSVILLE – A Crystal Lake man has filed a civil lawsuit against the village of Carpentersville and its police department, claiming that he was battered and racially mistreated during a traffic stop last year.

Johny Perez, 21, is seeking more than $50,000 in damages in relation to an incident more than a year ago when Officer Alan Webb arrested him for misdemeanor resisting a peace officer and aggravated battery, according to the lawsuit filed in Kane County earlier this month.

The 12-count lawsuit against the city and its police officers alleges that Perez was physically and verbally abused during a traffic stop March 16, 2011, on Route 25. It also states that the village’s nonbinding resolution to make English its official language gives police a license to discriminate against Spanish-speaking people.

Perez was pulled over that day by a member of the Carpentersville Police Department for driving 5 mph over the posted speed limit, the lawsuit states. He then was asked to step out of the vehicle to read the speed limit sign and return to the car before Webb and several other officers arrived.

According to the lawsuit, Perez again was asked to exit his vehicle by Webb and was shoved in the chest. Webb punched him twice in the face, kneed him and struck him in the back of the head.

Other officers held Perez while the abuse occurred, his lawsuit states.

The officers also shouted racial slurs and verbally threatened Perez, a U.S. citizen who speaks Spanish and English, the lawsuit states. He suffered bruising on his face and body.

The charges later were dismissed, court records show.

Perez was treated for bruises to his face and body at Centegra Hospital – McHenry, which cost $3,000 in medical bills, according to the lawsuit.

Carpentersville Village Board members approved making English the official language in June 2007. At the time, proponents said it would strengthen the village and save taxpayers' money. Others argued that it would make the village a more difficult place to do business.

Latinos make up more than 44 percent of the village population, according to 2010 Census data.

The lawsuit alleges that resolution “was the product of pervasive racism of the village government, and some village residents against individuals of Mexican descent.”

“Police officers were permitted and emboldened by the village’s institutional racism to use force against individuals of Mexican descent at a frequency disproportionate to their use of force against other individuals,” the lawsuit states.

The counts include civil-rights violations, false arrest and imprisonment, physical abuse, unlawful search and deprivation of liberty, excessive force, civil conspiracy, and assault and battery, among others.

The lawsuit also accuses Webb of lying in the subsequent police report by making it out as though Perez was the aggressor. That includes Perez yelling and bumping Webb, as well as refusing to be handcuffed.

Carpentersville Village Manager Mark Rooney said the village had not been served the lawsuit as of Tuesday afternoon, and could not comment on any litigation.

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