In September, Shiller Preyar Law Offices (SPLO) settled a civil lawsuit for Ruben Theory whose basic rights were violated by Berwyn Police officers. In 2016 the officers entered Mr. Theory’s home without a warrant or consent, tased him, and transported him to a hospital where he was held against his will for six days.
On March 17, 2016 Mr. Theory was at his home in Berwyn when he heard a commotion coming from his back door. He went out his back door to see that more than a dozen police officers in riot gear had broken down his locked porch door and were pointing weapons at him.
Given that he had not called the police and had done nothing wrong Mr. Theory was surprised to see the officers. He asked what they were doing there and they replied saying someone had made a 9-1-1 call claiming Mr. Theory had attempted suicide.
Keeping his hands in front of him at all times Mr. Theory showed the officers that he had no weapons on him and said that no one in the house had made the call or had attempted suicide.
The officers didn’t see any injuries on Mr. Theory that would indicate a suicide attempt, but they ordered him to exit the porch and that they were going to search the house anyway.
Mr. Theory then asserted his fourth amendment right to refuse a search of his home without a warrant, and he asked to speak to their supervisor.
Instead of following the law and exiting his home, the officers, who were supposedly there on a mental health visit, tased Mr. Theory. As he went down his head hit the door frame and he lost consciousness.
As Mr. Theory regained consciousness he felt handcuffs click around his wrists. Then he felt the pulsing electricity from the taser hit him again. At no point did Mr. Theory ever harm or threaten to harm the officers, hurt or threaten to hurt himself, or resist arrest.
The abuse against Mr. Theory was completely unprovoked and unconstitutional.
The police officers then broke the law by searching Mr. Theory’s entire home without a warrant or his consent. They found nothing illegal. Mr. Theory was never charged with any crime.
The officers transported Mr. Theory to MacNeal Hospital, where he was held against his will for six days. He told hospital personnel that he had not attempted suicide, he has no history of mental health issues, and was not currently suffering. They still forced him to stay.
Throughout this ordeal Theory sustained injuries including lacerations, a concussion, swelling, emotional distress, humiliation, stress, anxiety, and medical bills.
In July 2016 Shiller Preyar filed a lawsuit against individual police officers that assaulted Mr. Theory and the City of Berwyn. The judge found that the City and the officers violated Mr. Theory’s constitutional rights and awarded him a settlement.
The lawsuit claimed five counts against 13 officers; excessive force, unlawful seizure, failure to intervene, unlawful entry, and unlawful search. The lawsuit made five claims against the City of Berwyn; battery, intentional willful and wanton negligence, assault, false imprisonment, and indemnification. The judge found the City of Berwyn liable for the actions of the officers.
The officers named in the suit are: Kristina Ricchio, Mark Schwanderlik, Sandro Scardamaglia, Matthew W. Burke, Carl J. Gray, George Audiffred, Matthew J. Boskovich, Richard Bolec, Vincent J.Esposito, Richard J. Novotny, Guy Papa, Rickey L. Smith, and Anthony Gennett.
SPLO will fight police misconduct in court, but we also want to empower YOU to assert your rights:
Unless a police officer has a warrant signed by a judge you do not have to let them into your home. If they come in anyway tell them loudly, “I do not consent to a search.”
The only information you should give them is your name, date of birth, and address--juveniles should give a parent’s phone number.
After that tell them “I will not talk I want my lawyer.”
If you are in Chicago Police custody or know someone who is, or a juvenile in Chicago suburban police custody call 1-800-LAW-REP4 (1-800-529-7374) for a free attorney at the police station courtesy of First Defense Legal Aid.
Shiller Preyar Law Offices takes our clients’ constitutional rights very seriously and fights for justice when they are not honored. If your rights have been violated call us: 312-226-4590.