Officers Sued for False Arrest

Feb 12, 2020

Jaylan Butler
Credit ACLU of Illinois

Several police officers are being sued in federal court following their arrest of a black college student traveling through the Quad Cities last year. Jaylan Butler filed the suit in federal court last month, accusing the officers of participating in unlawful conduct or failing to stop the other officers from engaging in unlawful conduct.  

The defendants include East Moline police officer Travis Staes, Hampton officer Ethan Bush, and Rock Island County deputy Jack Asquini, plus a deputy whose last name is Pena, and two other officers listed as "John Doe's."

According to Butler, he was a member of the Eastern Illinois University swim team, traveling back from a tournament, when the bus stopped at a rest area along I-80 in East Moline. While standing outside, several squad cars raced up, and officers ran toward him with their guns drawn. He was pushed down on the ground and handcuffed. 

The officers eventually realized Butler was not the person they were looking for.

According to the ACLU, which is representing him, the officers had no reason to arrest him except for the fact that he was a young black man. And their conduct includes unlawful search and seizure, false arrest, and use of excessive force. 

Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos says his deputies arrived after Butler had been detained by other officers, were on the scene only briefly, and then left to join a hunt for a fugitive that was going on in the area.