Judge Kapala Notes Settlement of Excessive Force and False Arrest Case Brought by Citizen Against McHenry County Sheriff’s Department
Minute orders by Federal Judge Frederick Kapala, sitting in Rockford, announce a so-far undisclosed settlement of a case brought by 61-year old Peter Matwijiw against the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department.
Matwijiw was injured on July 3, 2009, by Deputy Robert Chamberlain and, then, arrested for resisting arrest and obstruction of justice.
On those charges, represented by a Public Defender, Matwijiw was found not guilty.
While the Sheriff’s Department sought dismissal of the case, Judge Kapala denied that request on May 4,2012.
On October 22nd, Judge Kapala entered the following order:
“MINUTE entry before Honorable P. Michael Mahoney: Settlement conference held on 10/22/2012.
“Counsel report cause settled as stated in open court.
“Court retains jurisdiction to enforce settlement.
“Parties to file stipulation to dismiss by 1/2/13.”
Then on October 23rd this order was entered:
“MINUTE entry before Honorable Frederick J. Kapala:”This case has been reported settled.
“The parties are directed to file a stipulation with the court by 1/2/2013, and to send a paper courtesy copy to the court.
“If the parties fail to file the stipulation and this court does not extend the period of time for filing the stipulation, the Clerks Office is directed to enter an order of dismissal with prejudice and judgment.
“Each party shall bear its own costs, unless otherwise provided in the settlement documents.
“Due to the settlement of this case, any pending motions are now moot and all court dates are canceled.
Asked to comment about the case, attorney Louis Meyer, who successfully represented the Pavlins in their illegal search case against the Sheriff’s Department, wrote,
“The settlement will be made public in December, of course after elections and a new county board.
“My client was Peter Matwijiw.
“He alleged excessive force against deputy Chamberlain and malicious prosecution.
“Peter was found not guilty of resisting and obstruction of justice.
“His face and shoulder were injured during the false arrest and excessive force.
“The incident resulted from a lack of communication between a 61 year old man that only has 30% hearing in one ear and overzealous deputy.
“After the misunderstanding was cleared up, instead of apologizing for the mistake, Deputy Chamberlain arrested Peter and brought false charges against him in an attempt to cover up his misconduct, i.e. the false arrest and excessive force.
“In this case justice prevailed and Peter was found not guilty and was able to bring a civil suit to recover damages he sustained.
“Thankfully, the public defender beat the bogus charges.
“The current Sheriff will not admit when his deputies screw up and that reinforces them to continue their conduct.
“I don’t think the Sheriff has ever said one of “his boys” did anything wrong and he will spend to no end to defend them.
“It has started to cost him and the taxpayers.
“He is from the old school days of cover up and favors for friends, hire unqualified deputies because who they know, etc!”
Below you can see Judge Kapala’s summary of the case in his May 4, 2012, decision not to dismiss it:
“In the complaint, plaintiff alleges the following facts, which are taken as true for purposes of the motion to dismiss.
“On July 3, 2009, plaintiff was at his home in Woodstock, Illinois.
“At approximately 1:00 p.m., Chamberlain arrived at plaintiff’s home in response to a 911 call and spoke to plaintiff, who was outside in front of his home.
“Plaintiff asked Chamberlain why he was there, and Chamberlain told plaintiff that he was there to investigate a 911 call.
“Plaintiff told Chamberlain that nobody had called 911 and that it must be a mistake.
“Although unknown to plaintiff at the time, plaintiff’s sister had accidentally dialed 911.
“Chamberlain told plaintiff that there had been a 911 call and that he needed to check the home.
“Plaintiff told Chamberlain that he would check the home, and then he turned from Chamberlain and began walking towards his home.
“At that point, Chamberlain grabbed plaintiff from behind and slammed him into a car.
“Chamberlain also knocked plaintiff to the ground and slammed a knee into plaintiff’s back.
“Chamberlain then handcuffed plaintiff and began to twist and pull on the handcuffs causing plaintiff extreme pain.
“Plaintiff was subsequently transported to the McHenry County Jail and charged with obstructing a police officer and resisting a peace officer.
“After a two-day trial, plaintiff was found not guilty on both counts.”
Louis J. Meyer represented Mr.Matwijiw.
The Sheriff was represented by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.