Taylor Brown speaks out about arrest and lawsuit against Normal PD

She is seeking compensatory damages as a part of her suit
Brown was told she was going to the police station to answer questions about her apartment fire. She did not envision what would happen next
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - An 18-year-old woman has filed a Federal lawsuit against the Normal Police Department, claiming officers violated her rights during an arrest.

Officers arrested Taylor Brown in February after her apartment caught fire.

Brown filed the civil lawsuit after she says Normal police violated her rights when they took her phone without either a search warrant or probable cause.

Brown and her mother spoke to 25News about what they were feeling on that rainy night and what they hope to come from this entire ordeal.

Brown begins, “in that moment I feel like I was alone. It’s all of them-it’s a community of them and it’s me standing alone in this situation.”

As firefighters were putting out the fire at her apartment, Brown agreed to answer questions at the police station.

However, after being left alone for more than 40 minutes without being questioned or detained, she asked to be taken home.

Eventually, police surrounded her in an arrest, her lawyer says, violated her rights.

Whatever I think is the right decision in this moment. I don’t have anyone to ask ‘is this the right decision’ whatever I think is the right decision in this moment.”

In the police body cam video, you hear police say they want her cell phone as part of the fire investigation.

A move her lawyer Abby Bakos with Bakos & Maisuria Law Group, LLC says was illegal, “these police officers what they did to her was just unfortunate and wrong.”

As part of the pending civil lawsuit, Brown’s lawyers are suing for the records related to the arrest and for violating her civil rights.

“Without having that initial probable cause, we already know she wasn’t initially under arrest. In not giving them the phone I just don’t see how they have any justification in using any sort of force to apprehend her for any reason,” Bakos continues, “they made a mistake and I just hope they take responsibility for that and own up to that mistake.”

“She’s been going through a lot this was a very traumatic experience for her and I just don’t want any other mother to have to experience this,” Brown’s mother wanted to remain anonymous because she works in law enforcement in Chicago, she was on facetime talking to her daughter during the entire ordeal before the call was dropped.

She says “I just held her so tight and said it’s going to be okay baby. It’s going to be okay and she just kept crying. I just told her it’s going to be okay.”

The arrest video is making its way on social media, her comments are filled with support.

Brown says she’s working with a therapist to move past the trauma she endured that night, “all the feelings of anger and being upset and losing sleep and not being able to put my thoughts together because I’m wondering why the treatment I was given was received. I want to take all those emotions and turn it into something I can look back on and say this is what happened to me, but this is what came out of it, and that’s just something I want to be proud of myself to be able to do.”

25News reached out to the Town of Normal, they would not comment on a pending investigation for either the fire or the arrest.