An Evanston man has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and two police officers for allegedly falsely arresting him and using excessive force during a June 2018 incident.
According to Ronald Louden, he was grilling with friends in a parking lot in Evanston when he says several members of the city’s neighborhood enforcement team approached him.
“Do you live over here, Ronald?” one of the officers can be heard asking on body camera footage from the scene.
Louden says re-watching the video of the confrontation that followed has been tough for him, especially in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin verdict in Minnesota.
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“I was like ‘wow,’” he said. “Now with all the George Floyd and all this stuff going on, I mean, I could have been one of them.”
According to Louden, he was grilling with friends in the parking lot when he saw the officers approaching, with one of them having his hand on his service weapon.
“I seen a gun and some arms pointing in my direction,” he said.
Louden says he and the officers had a back-and-forth discussion, and says he admitted during the discussion that he has a criminal record. He says that he repeatedly asked why he was approached by the officers, but was never given an answer.
“What am I under arrest for?” Louden recalls saying. “’What did I do? Did anyone call the police on me? Do I have any warrants?’ They all answered no.”
Minutes later, one of the officers in the video says that Louden is “acting erratic,” and attempts to handcuff him. Louden was Tasered twice during the confrontation, and he was injured.
“Mr. Louden was handcuffed, Tasered twice and driven by his face into a curb. He has permanent injuries because of the actions, the unconstitutional and unjustified actions of those officers,” attorney Andrew Stroth, who is representing Louden in the case, said.
Louden has now filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Evanston and two of the officers involved, accusing them of using excessive force and of false arrest.
“I want those officers held accountable,” he said. “This is a life-changing experience. I’m really, really messed up.”
According to the police report, Evanston officers say they approached Louden because a confidential informant had told them he was selling cocaine and had a handgun in his possession.
Louden’s attorney says that his client did have a weapon in his vehicle, and the city says that Louden ultimately pleaded guilty to the weapon’s charge.
Evanston police did not have additional comment due to the pending nature of the lawsuit.
Louden’s attorney takes issue with how officers approached his client, and says at least one of the officers had previous run-ins with Louden and knew that he was bipolar.
“Mr. Louden wasn’t being arrested. There wasn’t a call for service or any type of criminal activity,” the attorney said.
Louden says that his lawsuit “isn’t about money,” but instead is about seeking justice.
“Of course I want damages, because you damaged me,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I just want justice.”