Beardstown PD Hit With Federal Lawsuit

By Benjamin Cox on January 12, 2022 at 9:42am

The Beardstown Police Department is being sued in federal court.

In a lawsuit filed by Lisa T. McMahon of Beardstown against Beardstown Police Officer Ian Dennis on December 22nd in U.S. District Court of Illlinois’ Central District, McMahon alleges that Dennis illegally detained her for a false arrest, used excessive force, and improperly charged her for resisting or obstructing a peace officer without probable cause.

According to the suit’s details, on February 15th, 2021 at approximately 7:30PM McMahon captured a car crash on video with her cellphone that occurred near the intersection of 6th Street and Arenz Street in Beardstown while playing slot machines at the Wheel Inn.

The lawsuit says that a passenger in another vehicle also witnessed the event and called police to report the car in the ditch near the intersection due to the crash. McMahon then left the Wheel Inn to visit a friend’s house on 4th Street nearby prior to police arriving to the scene of the crash.

Officer Ian Dennis of the Beardstown Police later arrived to the car crash, and upon investigation, learned that McMahon may have captured the car crash on video with her cellphone. Dennis allegedly began looking for Dennis and then followed shoe tracks in the snow to the 4th Street residence where McMahon had gone to visit friends. McMahon was in their friend’s detached garage talking about the incident when Dennis, according to the suit, approached the garage “in an aggressive manner.”

The suit further says that Dennis accused McMahon of running from police. When McMahon was asked to go to Dennis’ vehicle for questioning, the suit claims that Dennis began detaining her in handcuffs for an alleged arrest. McMahon allegedly asked why she was being arrested and at that point the suit says that Dennis “violently grabbed [McMahon] by the back of her neck and threw her face first into the gravel driveway” of the residence. McMahon allegedly suffered injuries to her face and mouth, requiring extensive orthodontic work.

According to Cass County Court records, McMahon was charged with one count of resisting or obstructing a peace officer on March 15th, 2021. The case was later dismissed with leave to reinstate by the state on September 22nd.

McMahon is being represented in the suit by Louis Meyer of Meyer & Kiss, LLC of Peoria. Meyer says that the Beardstown Police Department has not yet answered the case in federal court at this time. A jury trial in front of Justice Richard Mills has been requested. No date for the next hearing has been placed on the docket.