Bloomington teen indicted amid claims of police misconduct

By WEEK Producer

July 10, 2013 Updated Jul 11, 2013 at 5:57 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- A McLean County Grand Jury has indicted a Bloomington teenager on charges of aggravated battery of a police officer and resisting arrest, but the teen says officers abused her.

"It was a strong grip out of panic. All the fights just happened I didn't know who this was. I used my forearm and turned and pushed whoever it was. It turned out to be an officer." said Gabriella Calhoun, 18, of Bloomington.

Calhoun says she had left a party June 29 and was eating with about 15 others at the Denny's restaurant on Eldorado Road in Bloomington, when two women began fighting outside. The fight later moved inside the building.

Bloomington police say 30 police officers were called to the restaurant on a report of several people fighting.

Authorities were trying to get people out of the restaurant when the incident between Calhoun and the officer occurred.

“I felt he was in the wrong, because after everything, there's no telling who was behind me. After that, I just remember waking up, opening my eyes, and I was spitting out blood and my teeth were coming out,” Calhoun.

Bloomington Police Chief RT Finney says the incident was recorded by video surveillance camera.

"I can tell you that thus far what we've seen is very consistent with what the officers have said, that being that they were battered by Ms. Calhoun," said Chief Finney.

Calhoun says she was not involved in any of the fights but was attempting to leave with her group when an officer grabbed her by the neck.

Bloomington police say they are conducting an investigation of the incident to determine if there was any misconduct.

Calhoun says she suffered broken teeth and scratches to her face as a result of police force.

She is scheduled back in McLean County court on July 19.

A spokesperson for the Calhoun family says they are requesting that an outsourced agency conduct the alleged police abuse investigation and that they are considering filing a civil lawsuit against the Bloomington Police Department.

WEEK/WHOI has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the surveillance video of the fight.

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