A Morgan County resident is speaking out after an alleged incident with a Jacksonville police officer last weekend.
Anthony Stephens filed a citizen complaint this week to the Jacksonville Police Department and the city’s Human Relations Commission after he says he was unlawfully detained and had his Fourth Amendment rights violated after police showed up on his property at his rural Ashland residence.
On Saturday, Stephens says he heard something in his driveway, saw a Jacksonville Police vehicle, and started recording the incident after he says he saw what appeared to be an officer holding a person at gunpoint.
Stephens says he later found out the arrest was in connection to an ATV that had allegedly been stolen.
“The Jacksonville Police officer, after the arrest, kind of turned on me. He came to me and questioned me, interrogating me, he detained me and told me I couldn’t move. Keep in mind, I was on my own property out in Ashland and this is a Jacksonville policeman. That’s a little odd to me. He basically violated my civil rights by not telling me why I was being detained and refusing to let me go about my business on my property, outside of his jurisdiction.”
Stephens adds he was not issued a “stop receipt,” which explains why someone is being detained. He says that’s a violation of state law.
Stephens says he’s forwarded his complaint to the Attorney General’s Office, and adds he’s complained to the city before, but this time, he’s taking a step further.
“I’m also filing it with the human relations commission because when you file it with the police department sometimes it stays in house and nobody hears anything about it. This is like other issues that I have been bringing up for years about civil rights violations. This is not about what happened this weekend. This is about me reporting the facts of incidents to the police chief for years, and him choosing to handle it internally. That leads to it not being handled, period.”
Stephens specifically referenced an incident from 2015 where he says police officers sprayed mace at a crowd of people at a Circle K gas station in Jacksonville.
WLDS-WEAI News has submitted a Freedom Of Information Act request to the City of Jacksonville regarding that alleged incident, as well as the alleged incident from over the past weekend involving Stephens.
Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens told WLDS-WEAI News the complaint has been investigated and at this point is “unfounded”.
You can hear the full interview with Stephens below: