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Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:35 pm

Suspended officer admitted using force

Police reports obtained by Illinois Times late last week reveal further details about the November 2009 arrest of a Springfield man that led to an internal affairs investigation — and the subsequent suspension — of the police officer who arrested him.

Springfield Police Officer Chuck Redpath, Jr., the 26-year-old son of former Ward 4 Ald. Chuck Redpath, was slapped with a 15-day suspension for “use of force, unbecoming conduct and courtesy & image” after he arrested and allegedly assaulted 29-year-old Darius Billops on Nov. 25.

Four days earlier, Billops had fled the scene of a car accident at 19th and South Grand Avenue that sent Redpath to the hospital. After police picked up Billops and 21-year-old Laporcha Hayes, who also fled the scene of the accident, at Hayes’ home on Sixth Street and brought them to the police station, Billops says that Redpath first harassed him, and then “punched, elbowed me, pushed my head into the wall” in the interview room [see “Redpath caught red-handed,” March 11].

In one of two additional reports that relate to the Nov. 25 incident, Redpath admits using force against Billops. He recounts that Billops began arguing with him and United States Marshals Officer Mike Brown as the two officers attempted to switch handcuffs. Despite his commands, Redpath says in the report, Billops refused to sit down.

“Billops continued to stand, so I told him again to sit down,” he says. “But he wouldn’t. I grabbed his arm trying to assist him down to the chair, and Billops pulled away stating, ‘Fuck you, get your fucking hands off me,’ so I delivered one knee strike to the meaty portion of Billops’ right leg.

“After the knee strike, Billops complied with Officer Brown and I…and sat down.”

The second report, submitted to SPD by Officer Jennifer Howard, notes that Billops complained of pain in his leg, elbow and head after he was brought to the station and interviewed by police. (Joshua Stuenkel, one of the detectives who conducted the interview, says in a separate report that Billops did not complain of any pain.)

Howard later transported Billops to St. John’s Hospital and says that he told medical staff that “he was ‘assaulted’ by the police.”

“D. Billops advised that his elbow and his leg needed to be examined by the doctor,” Howard continues in the report. “D. Billops advised the pain was due to ‘police brutality’ and not the traffic crash he was involved in on 11-21-09.”

Howard’s report also notes that Billops had 10 to 12 staples in his head from a previous injury.

Billops was arrested for obstructing justice, possession of cannabis and resisting a police officer, but according to the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office, he was never charged for any of these crimes.

Hayes was arrested for obstructing justice, leaving the scene of an injury accident, driving with a suspended license and possession of cannabis, but the state’s attorney’s office confirmed that the charges against her were dropped.

Billops told Illinois Times that he didn’t file the complaint against Redpath, and that he was still in jail when he was visited and questioned by SPD’s Internal Affairs, which suggests that another officer filed the complaint against the rookie cop.

Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com.
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