Federal suit alleges Normal Police used excessive force and made false arrest of woman in fire probe

Normal Police Department
Normal Police Department(25 News/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 8:27 PM CST
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NORMAL (25 News Now) - A woman has filed a federal lawsuit against “unknown” Normal Police officers alleging they violated her constitutional rights by using excessive force and falsely arresting her while investigating an apartment fire in early February.

The lawsuit says college student Taylor Brown agreed to answer officers’ questions at the police department during the early morning hours of Feb. 9, but wanted to leave after she was left alone in a room for 40 minutes.

The lawsuit claims a female officer told Brown to stay in the lobby and asked for Brown’s cell phone without a warrant.

The lawsuit says Brown used FaceTime to contact her mother, a Chicago Police officer, telling her she was scared and that the Normal officers had surrounded her.

“The officers proceeded to grab Ms. Brown’s wrists, and one officer applied pressure to the back of Ms. Brown’s ear while another officer pulled her to the ground,” the lawsuit says.

The phone fell from Brown’s hand, disconnecting the FaceTime call, and she was handcuffed and arrested, according to the lawsuit.

Brown said she underwent an “intrusive search” at the McLean County Jail and got her phone back about two hours after she was released without charges.

The lawsuit states Brown suffered physical pain, including bruises, sore muscles, cuts to her wrists and emotional trauma.

She’s seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the officers.

Normal’s town attorney had not seen details about the lawsuit, and will not comment about pending litigation, a town spokesperson said late Friday afternoon.

The fire during the early hours of Feb. 9 happened in a quad-plex home in the 200 block of Parktrail Road in north Normal. The fire displaced four residents, and the Normal Fire Department said in a Facebook post at the time that the cause of the fire was under investigation.