Two settlements were apparently reached last month in federal lawsuits filed against officers for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield, a case was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice as part of a settlement between plaintiffs Douglas Raney, Michael Shackelford and Tim Hagen and defendants Morgan County Sheriff Randy Duvendack, and Deputies Derek Suttles and Joshua Weber.
The suit indicates the trio was driving through the area to go camping in Michigan when they were pulled over by Suttles on Interstate 72, apparently because of an obstructed license plate.
The suit says Suttles then asked Raney if he had anything illegal in the vehicle. Raney said no, and did not consent to a search. A K9 dog was then called, arriving with Deputy Weber. The K9, according to the suit, gave a “positive alert”, and officers searched the vehicle.
Law enforcement claimed they located marijuana remnants and about $1-thousand in cash in a bag located near the rear drivers’ side of the vehicle. According to the response, a verbal warning for an obstructed plate was issued, but no arrests were made.
A similar lawsuit was filed in February by Calvin Kisselbach against Suttles and Duvendack, claiming Suttles stopped him on Route 67 on his way to Jacksonville without justification and detained a passenger. In a response filed, it was indicated Suttles said he believed there was an outstanding warrant.
A K-9 unit was called in to assist, after Kisselbach allowed his person to be searched but declined to allow Suttles to search his vehicle; no contraband was found.
Attorney Louis Meyer of Peoria, who represented the filers of the suits in both cases, told us today he couldn’t reveal details of the settlement. Our radio station will submit a Freedom of Information Act request on these matters.