Human Relations Commission declines to move forward on complaint

By Gary Scott on May 25, 2016 at 1:01pm

A Jacksonville committee has responded to a complaint filed against the Jacksonville Police Department.

Anthony Stephens of rural Ashland filed a complaint in March with the Jacksonville 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.

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. The arrest was in connection to an ATV that had allegedly been stolen.

In a letter sent out to Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard on Monday, the commission said it reviewed the complaint and that it does not meet the criteria established in city ordinances regarding discrimination or prejudice.

When Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens came on “What’s On Your Mind?” on WLDS last month, he talked about the incident that took place on Stephens’ property in northeast Morgan County.

“Mr. Stephens wasn’t padded down for a weapon. He was just talked to by the officer, and I know the claim Mr. Stephens put on his Facebook page- which, I don’t have a copy of, but I know we do have- to where he said he was detained for 15 to 30 minutes. I looked at the tape myself, and he was detained less than four minutes, ok. So, we’ve vetted his complaint through the Jacksonville Police Department, and find it unfounded.”

Stephens, who also filed a complaint directly with the JPD, also claimed the Jacksonville police officer was out of his jurisdiction.

“In this particular incident, we were requested by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department because they didn’t have a car close to respond, and they asked us to respond to that area, which our officers did. The person that was riding the stolen four-wheeler was apprehended in a driveway, which is a joint driveway that is connected to Mr. Stephens’ property. And so, the arrest was fine, there’s no problem with the arrest.”