Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Jaylan Butler v. Staes, et al.

The ACLU of Illinois has announced the resolution of Jaylan Butler v. Staes, et al. On February 24, 2019, Butler, a Black college student and swimmer, was at a highway rest stop near East Moline, Illinois, with his team and coach, all returning to campus from a meet. Police took Butler to the ground, handcuffed him, held him down with his face in the snow, a knee in his back, and pressure on his neck. One officer put a gun to his head and told him, “If you keep moving, I’m going to blow your fucking head off.” The police soon realized that they had been looking for someone else. That didn’t stop them from keeping Butler handcuffed, arresting him for resisting arrest, and placing him in a squad car before dropping the matter.

Here, from the ACLU’s announcement, is Jaylan Butler’s statement on the resolution of the lawsuit:

The memories of that night being pressed to the ground, with officers swearing at me and a gun pointed at my head, will remain with me forever. But I know that unlike other Black men who have been stopped and manhandled by police, I got to go home. For me, this lawsuit has always been about holding the officers accountable for their actions that night. I believe I have accomplished that goal. As a result, I am happy to dismiss the suit and move forward.

I want to thank all of the people from across the country who were supportive of me during this time. I value your well wishes and words of appreciation more than I can say.

The end of this lawsuit is not the end of the fight for police accountability. We must ensure that officers are held to account when they violate someone’s constitutional rights. This is an effort that I will continue to support for the rest of my life.
You can read the text of the lawsuit here. And here, from a swimming website, is an additional account of the circumstances around the incident.

A related post
Stopping at a rest stop with your swim team while black (With links to news coverage and an interview)

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