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Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:01 am

LITIGATION BLUES

A federal judge has ruled that a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Springfield and several police officers filed by Calvin Christian III may proceed. But in ruling against the city last week, U.S. District Court Judge Colin S. Bruce opined that Christian may have a tough time convincing a jury that city police targeted him because he has filed complaints against officers and successfully sued the city to obtain internal affairs files. In his lawsuit, Christian says that city officers pulled him over a half-dozen times for no good reason. But Christian has been stopped by police a lot more than six times, as the judge noted in his ruling. “A quick look at the Sangamon County circuit clerk’s website reveals that a huge number of cases, most of which are traffic cases, have been brought against Plaintiff over the last few years,” the judge wrote. “This court recognizes that, if Plaintiff was properly stopped for traffic violations on approximately 69 occasions, it seems somewhat unlikely that six traffic stops for the same kinds of offenses were in violation of his constitutional rights.” Nonetheless, the law at this stage of the proceedings required Bruce to look only at Christian’s allegations and accept his version of the facts as true, and so the judge allowed the lawsuit to proceed. In any case, Christian is still getting tickets from city police, with the most recent one coming last Saturday, when an officer wrote him up for improper lane usage.

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