Settlement reached with Jax man in excessive force case

By Nick Kovatch on October 8 at 9:06am

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A Jacksonville man will receive thousands of dollars stemming from the settlement of a lawsuit against the city and two of its police officers.

Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens says Raymond Wilson will receive $115,000 from the city to settle the suit. Wilson filed the lawsuit in December 2011 after his leg was broken during an incident with police. The filing named Jacksonville Police officers Matt Martin, Chad Moore and the city of Jacksonville as defendants.

The lawsuit was dismissed in July as part of the settlement. Grootens says the settlement is not an admission of liability by any of the defendants.

“The lawyers sit down and try to negotiate the best deal they can for their clients with the client being the city in this particular case,” says Grootens. “There’s a formula they’ve got to figure out what it’s going to cost to go to trial and fight this thing and win it. If it’s a lot more than what it’s going to cost to just give him $115,000 that’s what they’re going to do.”

Grootens says his officers did nothing wrong.

“It’s almost too easy with the way the system works to get money,” says Grootens. “I don’t agree with it, but the insurance has the last say in the matter. The city doesn’t really have a say in it. That’s why we have insurance. I think it presents a bad position that the city may have done something wrong when, in fact, the city did nothing wrong.”

Wilson’s right leg was broken July 5th, 2011. At the time, police said Wilson was interfering with the investigation of his girlfriend’s car accident and wasn’t listening to orders. An officer went to place Wilson under arrest and he allegedly resisted. Police said the officer took him to the ground and Wilson broke his leg in the process.

The lawsuit alleges Moore opened the door to the vehicle and Wilson, a passenger, shut the door. The suit claims Moore opened the door again and grabbed Wilson in a bear hug. Martin allegedly kicked Wilson’s right leg, breaking it.

Wilson was never charged with a crime.

Wilson was represented by Daniel Kiss, a partner with the law offices of Meyer and Kiss in Chicago.

The city was represented by the Torricelli and Limentato law firm in Champaign.