Sheriff Nygren Hit With Suit Charging Failure to Supervise Resulting in “False Arrests and Use of Excessive Force” by Deputies; Launching Pad – Wonder Lake Arrest Last Christmas

Keith Nygren

Keith Nygren

Attorney Louis J. Meyer filed another Federal case Monday, December, 23, 2013, against the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, McHenry County, a deputy and Kieth Nygren personally. Wonder Lake and one of its policemen are also defendants. Here’s what the suit says happened:

“On or about December 25, 2012, at approximately 4:25 p.m., Plaintiff was at his home in the 4100 block of Seneca Road, Wonder Lake, Illinois.

“Plaintiff had fallen asleep watching television in his recliner. ”

Plaintiff’s sister was visiting Plaintiff at Plaintiff’s home for Christmas.

“Upon information and belief, Plaintiff’s sister called 911 to report chest pains.

“The Wonder Lake Fire Department responded to the call, along with  Defendants HARDING and NULLE.

“Plaintiff’s sister was outside speaking with the paramedics when Defendants HARDING and NULLE arrived.

“Plaintiff’s sister told the paramedics that she was having chest pains. She did not complain of any other pain or injury.

“While the paramedics were speaking with Plaintiff’s sister, Defendants HARDING and NULLE entered Plaintiff’s home and approached Plaintiff as he slept on his recliner.

“Defendants HARDING and NULLE attempted to wake Plaintiff but did not announce that they were police officers.

“Plaintiff did not immediately wake up.

“Defendants HARDING and NULLE violently grabbed Plaintiff from his recliner and slammed him to the floor.

“Defendants HARDING and NULLE proceeded to kick and strike Plaintiff.

“As a result of the beating, Plaintiff suffered injuries, including injuries to his ribs, knees, feet, and chest.

“The Defendant-Officers eventually handcuffed Plaintiff.

“Defendant-Officers intentionally handcuffed Plaintiff in an excessively tight manner, which caused Plaintiff extreme pain.

“Plaintiff was not a threat to the Defendant-Officers and did not resist them.

“Upon information and belief, after the attack and arrest of Plaintiff, Defendant HARDING falsely claimed that Plaintiff’s sister alleged that Plaintiff had battered her.

“Plaintiff’s sister has made prior false accusations against Plaintiff. Defendant HARDING had prior knowledge of at least one prior false accusation.

“Plaintiff’s sister made no complaints to the paramedics that arrived regarding any alleged battery by Plaintiff.

“Plaintiff was charged with domestic battery. The case was docketed in the McHenry County Circuit Court as: People v. David Ohlrich, Case No. 12 CM 2703. On March 18, 2013, the charges against Plaintiff were nolle prosse’d [dismissed].

“Plaintiff was never charged with resisting arrest or battery to the Defendant-Officers.

“After being released from the McHenry County Jail, Plaintiff received medical attention at Centegra Hospital for the injuries he sustained from the Defendant-Officers.

“Each individual Defendant-Officer acted willfully and wantonly, maliciously, and with a conscious disregard and deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s rights.

“As a direct and proximate result of the acts of the Defendants described above, Plaintiff suffered damages including physical pain and suffering, emotional distress and pecuniary damages including medical expenses.”

The most extraordinary count is a “Mondell Claim” against Nygren. In that Count 3, Meyer alleges on behalf of his client David Ohlrich that “the incident alleged in this Complaint was part of a pattern and practice of Defendant Nygren in failing to properly supervise his officers.

“At all times material to this Complaint, there existed in the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department the following practices, policies and customs:

  1. false arrests and use of excessive force,
  2. a code of silence in which officers fail to report officer misconduct,
  3. failure to adequately supervise and discipline officers in the categories and fields of police work addressed above,
  4. failure to adequately investigate complaints against officers,

“The actions of the Defendant NULLE as alleged in this Complaint were committed pursuant to, and as a result of, one or more of the above de facto practices, policies and customs of Defendant NYGREN, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, and its Defendant NYGREN, as the official policy maker within the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, acted with deliberate indifference to the rights of Plaintiff in maintaining, overlooking and preserving the unconstitutional practices, policies and customs delineated above.

“By Defendant NYGREN’s inaction and failure to correct the above-described practices, policies and customs, municipal policy-makers tacitly approve and thus indirectly authorize the type of misconduct Plaintiff complains of herein.

“Defendants not mentioned above include Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Nulle and Wonder Lake Police Officer T. Harding.

= = = = =

Monell claims, according to McBride Law PC out of Los Angeles, are rarely successful.  Below is part of what the firm has at the link above:

“Supervisor liability is triggered only when the supervisor fails to provide more stringent training ‘in the wake of a history of past transgressions by the agency’ or provides training ‘so clearly deficient that some deprivation of rights will inevitably result absent additional instruction.’

“This is also a high bar to clear for plaintiffs in civil cases arising from use of force.

“So while most plaintiffs routinely add Monell claims against an officer’s supervisor, department and city, the reality is that most claims for Monell liability are dismissed either prior to, during or after trial.”

= = = = =

Articles concerning an excessive force case concerning Carla and Jerome Pavlin attorney Meyer won against the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department follow:

7-23-9 Sheriff Keith Nygren, Deputies Sued

1-21-10 Seipler Talks about Nygren’s Having “Top Heavy” Office – One Supervisor for Every Three Deputies

6-4-10 McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi Replies to Sheriff Keith Nygren’s Assistant’s Northwest Herald Criticism

6-5-10 Witness Says State Police Didn’t Contact Him about Sheriff’s Department Incident with Pavlins

6-9-10 The Launch Pad for Sheriff Keith Nygren’s Attack on State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi 1

1-16-10 A Day in Zane Seipler’s Court Case Against Sheriff Keith Nygren – Part 1 1

1-17-10 A Day in Zane Seipler’s Court Case Against Sheriff Keith Nygren – Part 2

11-18-10 A Day in Zane Seipler’s Court Case Against Sheriff Keith Nygren – Part 3

11-19-10 A Day in Zane Seipler’s Court Case Against Sheriff Keith Nygren – Part 4

11-10-11 Major Portions of Pavlins’ Case against Sheriff’s Department Going to Trial

11-14-11 Cost of Pavlin Case against the Sheriff’s Office to Taxpayers So Far

12-29-11 Rockford Federal Judge Refuses to Change Pavlin Verdict Against Sheriff’s Department

1-8-12 People Searching for Greg Pyle on Internet and, Apparently, Were Elsewhere – Bumped Up for Obvious Reasons

7-24-12 Summary of Jerome and Carla Pavlin Case against the Sheriff’s Department and Legal Fees So Far

8-8-12 County Settles Case Against Sheriff’s Department for Violating Dr. and Mrs. Jerome Pavlin’s Fourth Amendment Search Protections

8-10-12 The Federal Judge Wrote, “…summary judgment is appropriate as to plaintiffs’ claim that defendants violated their Fourth Amendment rights by entering their house to arrest Carl.”

8-11-12 Going to Trial on a Fourth Amendment Violation

8-14-12 Why Louis Meyer Filed the Pavlins’ Illegal Search & Seizure Case in Federal Court

10-26-12 Judge Kapala Notes Settlement of Excessive Force and False Arrest Case Brought by Citizen Against McHenry County Sheriff’s Department


Sheriff Nygren Hit With Suit Charging Failure to Supervise Resulting in “False Arrests and Use of Excessive Force” by Deputies; Launching Pad – Wonder Lake Arrest Last Christmas — 12 Comments

  1. Of course he couldn’t be woken up.

    That’s what happens when you’re probably so far in the bottle it’s called. ” passed out”.

    Think she’s not remembering things too clearly either? Waste of time and effort but some Chicago lawyer is being paid by someone .

  2. As much as I think the culture of the MCSD is so screwed up that behavior like this is to be expected, let’s not take the accusations of a drunk Wondertucky resident, pretending to snooze off his buzz in the middle of the afternoon in his Barcalounger, at face value.

    Here’s what a simple search of internet-accessible McHenry County Court records can tell you about David Olrich:

    * 1997 DUI conviction.
    * 2008 charge of battery with intent to cause bodily harm (charges dismissed most likely because victim refused to testify, as is common in domestic violence cases).
    * 2010 Domestic battery with intent to cause bodily harm (again, charges withdrawn).
    * 2011 two charges of domestic battery, one of assault, and one of interfering with the reporting of domestic violence to the police (again, charges withdrawn).
    * 02/2012 convicted with disposition of supervision on three domestic battery related charges.
    * 08/2012 mortgage foreclosure on his house.
    * 09/03/2012 conviction for phone harassment related to harassment of a witness.
    * 09/04/2012 battery charges (again, charges withdrawn).
    * 12/2012 the incident underlying his lawsuit against the county.
    * 07/2013 small claims suit by his vet because he didn’t pay for Fluffy’s treatment.
    * 09/2013 small claims lawsuit by LVNV funding (collections for Bank of America usually).

    This guy is a real turd.

  3. Mark, I will probably agree with you on this one . . . but if history is correct, the Sheriff’s Office will settle, rather than fight this one. If it is a worthy charge, they will fight it tooth and nail. Why???

    Could it be the Attorney involved . . . who has he represented before.

  4. It’s all about the money.

    Whether they are right or wrong the county (or their insurance company) follows the dictum “it ain’t about the money, it’s all about the money.”

    This doesn’t just apply to the county but to all insureds.

    The insurance company would rather buy their way out of a claim with even the slightest chance of a loss at trial if they can.

    Principles are great and I wish they WOULD put their foot down and say NO! If you want the money, prove your case or we’ll grind you into to puppy poop! but they won’t.

    Principles aside, anotherwatcher, to answer your question:

    If you are sued and your lawyer tells you “this suit is nonsense but we can settle it for $5000. OTOH, we can take it to trial and that will cost you $10,000 in lawyer’s fees, etc. and there is a slight chance that the judge or jury will find against us, in which case you could wind up paying a lot more.”

    So your choice is: Do you settle for $5000 maximum or roll the dice and maybe win the case for $10,000 minimum?

    The system is screwed up.

  5. anotherwatcher, you can bet that MCSD will fight it.

    The “tooth and nail” you mention would be the taxpayer’s dollars…

    Will MCSD use the State’s Attorney for defense?

    Or will Nygren and Zinke go out-of-county with their checkbook?

    Would you agree that Dep. Nulle and Ofc. Harding entered the house illegally, if they had no complaint from the sister?

    Kind of like the deputies remained in the Pavlin home illegally; even entered illegally, according to the judge.

    The attorney for David Ohlrich represented Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin, who prevailed against MCSD.

    He knows MCSD well.

  6. Gus, I would have to agree with you too, if you noticed I said to Mark, “I would probably agree with you on this one”.

    I think the sister might have had a reason to pull this off . . . there seems to be a history here.

    I agree that the Officer’s probably entered illegally and did not have to use that kind of force.

    It will be interesting to see how the Sheriff’s Office handles this one.

    The Pavlin’s should have gone further with their lawsuit.

  7. Gus, “Would you agree that Dep. Nulle and Ofc. Harding entered the house illegally, if they had no complaint from the sister?”

    No, I’d wager that they entered the house legally.

    It really requires nothing more than “Oh, you look cold. Let me grab a coat for you,” or some other pretext and the woman either not hearing and/or not expressly saying “No, you do not have my consent to enter the house. Stay out.”

  8. This would not be illegal entry.

    The fire department response and the 911 call created an exigent circumstance.

    The police were there lawfully. These slime ball attorneys write these complaints for dramatic effect.

    Throw a bunch if allegations out there and see how much story they can create.

    Nolle pros is not a dismissal as stated. It allows charges to be reinstated.

    A withdrawal of the original claim by way of nolle prosequi is not an adjudication on the merits of the claim and thus in a criminal case is not a guarantee that the defendant will not be later re-indicted.

    I have seen several where there was a Nolle pros and charges were reinstated. Witness failure to appear or any number of situations can cause this to occur other than the validity of the charges.

  9. @Glenn, how many cases have you seen where charges were re-filed after a nolle prosequi, and over what period of time?

    One a year?

    Less than one a year?

  10. Not all, but some of Nygren’s select deputies have a history of doing this to people.

    It does not matter if this gentlemen has a record, we are all protected by the United States Constitution…

    “ALL OF US”……

    In the early morning hours one day, McHenry County Sheriffs Officers “broke” a door and entered my house because they were looking for someone who did not even live with me.

    They broke the door and entered without a warrant.

    They had many, many, officers entering my home without my permission.

    There were so many squad cars in the street, other cars could not pass..

    There were squad cars in my driveway and on the front lawn up to the front door.

    When they were asked over and over again to leave, they refused.

    They stayed for several hours and terrorized me and my family.

    They repeatedly pushed me and threatened me and my family.

    Once they were informed that the premises were monitored video surveilance they literally ran out the door…..

    Those squad cars couldn’t leave fast enough.

    I have no criminal record.

    That kind of behavior can never be condoned.

    “NOT EVER” We are protected by the Fourth Amendment…

    Nygren, apparently does not believe that the United States Constitution applies to him and some of his officers…

    Remember, if they can do this to someone, you, a family member, a friend or even a neighbor could possibly be one of their next victims.

    We can only assume that because Zinke is one of Nygrens obedient soldiers, he would do the same.

    If you want change in our County Government the Regime has to go and that includes Andy Zinke.

  11. Gus, you ASSUME that the woman, who has previously claimed to have been abused or beaten by the man but them withdrawn her complaint, was not drunk along with her brother (who couldn’t be awakened, since passed out is not sleeping) has changed her story, AGAIN,

    NOW that some slimball attorney has told them that they can claim whatever they want and get some free cash?

    Agree that there is not a lot of respect or confidence in the “rent-a-cop”, can’t hold a steady real police department job, Wondertucky PD, but this smells of simple stupid people talking to some creap attorney who plans to take 95% of whatever amount the insurance company settles for, and the loosers here can buy another six pack and try again to be normal, upstanding citizens.

  12. @gus. This does happen how frequently, I don’t know.

    Under Bianchi probably not offen because I haven’t seen much aggressiveness from his ASA’s ..

    About 20 years ago when an arrest of mine up for trial went sourth, The ASA was confronted with our primary witness unexpectedly failing to appear due to a death in her family out of state.

    The ASA asked for a continuance.

    The defense objected and was present with their witnesses and defendants.

    The Judge refused a continuance.

    This ASA nolle’d the case.

    Over the defense objections the charge was soon reinstated and went to trial.

    BTW this ASA is now in a position of high authority within the State Judicial system.

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