Tazewell County loses $95,000 in lawsuit

By Beau Ebenezer

March 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 10:39 PM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- In December of 2009, the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office went under fire after a Pekin man's attorney released a video of his client being detained in a Tazewell County Jail cell.

In the video Everett Lewis, who is reportedly a veteran and bi-polar, was being held on a trespassing misdemeanor.

He is seen in the video being tasered and pepper-sprayed after going into a manic state, complaining about his cell and drumming on the toilet.

Shortly following the incident, Lewis filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Tazewell County Sheriff and six jail officers.

Now, nearly three years later, the Tazewell County Board voted in favor of a $95,000 settlement in the lawsuit.

"In my opinion this is as bad as those who scam honest citizens in many ways," said Tazewell County Sheriff, Robert Huston. "I don't believe it is an honest thing to do. The idea that we are paying this person any money is an outrage."

County Administrators said the approval has nothing to do with the Sheriff's Office's policies but more to do with dollars and cents.

"The board accepted the recommendation of the insurance company and the council that was representing us," said Tazewell County Administrator, Michael Freilinger. "It was a difficult decision, but it doesn't effect how they feel about our operations."

Only four members voted against the lawsuit, including board member John Ackerman, who said it is a waste of the tax-payers money.

"I believe it is a poor use of tax payer dollars. I don't think we should have settled, and we should have fought it out because it sets a bad example for the future."