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Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Court rules in favor of St. Marys in police harassment case

By Amy Kronenberger
ST. MARYS - Mercer County Common Pleas Court ruled in favor of the St. Marys Police Department after the city pursued a lawsuit for frivolous litigation.
The court ruled that Charles Black of Rockford must pay all attorney fees incurred by the city totaling $36,502 for needlessly suing the department on 16 different charges.
"Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing ... it appears that none of Black's claims are warranted under existing law nor can they be supported by any good faith argument, though none was made, for the establishment of new law," the court ruling said.
In April 2010, Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Ingraham dismissed the case Black filed against the St. Marys Police Department and officer Tom Kennedy. Black then appealed the case, and The Third District Court of Appeals in October agreed with Ingraham. The city then pursued the frivolous litigation lawsuit.
The original suit filed by Black and his daughter Stephanie in June 2009 alleged Kennedy trespassed on their Lombard Road property to serve Stephanie Black with a citation of operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Charles Black had told The Daily Standard he asked Kennedy to leave his property six times, but the officer refused and threatened to arrest him for disrupting official business.
According to the police report, Black threatened to physically remove Kennedy. "Black then drove a 10-ton backhoe towards Kennedy's police cruiser with the intent of removing Kennedy from his property," the report says.
Kennedy called for assistance from the Mercer County Sheriff's Department. Upon arrival of sheriff's deputy Dan Adams, Black acquiesced and allowed Kennedy to deliver the citation.
After the incident, the Blacks sued the St. Marys Police Department and Kennedy for the following offenses: trespassing, negligence, harassment, slander, conspiracy, disorderly conduct, breach of confidence, breach of closeness with a deadly weapon, breach of duty, coercion, assault, malice, inciting violence, malfeasance, malicious abuse of legal process and invasion of property.
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