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City, woman in settlement talks

Resident accuses officers of using unreasonable force

DIXON – The city has yet to settle a federal lawsuit that accuses Dixon police of using unreasonable force during a 2009 arrest.

The latest settlement conference was held Monday before a federal magistrate, but no agreement was reached.

In December, the Dixon City Council voted to make an offer to settle the lawsuit, which seeks more than $100,000 in damages. The city didn’t reveal the amount of the offer, which the woman later rejected.

The lawsuit, filed by Karen Beauchamp in 2011, names four defendants: the city, Police Chief Danny Langloss, detective Nick Albert, and Sgt. Troy Morse. 

According to the lawsuit:

On May 4, 2009, police arrived at Beauchamp’s home at 419 W. Ninth St. to arrest her husband, Billie Beauchamp, 47, on a warrant. He handed his truck keys to her, and as she turned to go back into her house, Albert told her she was under arrest, but he didn’t give a reason. Albert rushed up behind her, grabbed her left arm and pulled it forcefully backward, causing her to fall off the porch and land on her right elbow and tailbone. 

Beauchamp, 48, told the officers she had had rotator cuff surgery on her right shoulder 6 weeks earlier.

Morse handcuffed her and shoved her from behind, causing her to fall forward into the living room in a complete somersault.

Her young son was in the room when it happened, with Morse telling the boy, “Mommy makes bad choices.” She then was taken to the police station and later charged with a misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer, according to the lawsuit. 

She later had to have a second surgery on her right rotator cuff. After the surgery, prosecutors upped the charge to felony aggravated battery, according to the lawsuit. 

In January 2011, she was found guilty in a bench trial of obstructing a service of process, a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to community service and 18 months of court supervision.

In court documents, the city says:

Albert ordered Beauchamp “more than once” to drop the keys, which she refused to do, before he told her she was under arrest.

Inside the house, an officer let Beauchamp turn off her coffee maker, but she continued to “mess around” and was told several times to sit down.

Both officers “felt that her moving around freely in the kitchen represented a loss of control of the situation and potential threat to officer safety,” the city says.

Chief Langloss said his department is looking forward to its day in court.

“This settlement is a business decision being made by our insurance company,” the chief said this week. “They look at a cost-benefit analysis. Even though we would win, they come up with a number for a settlement.”

The lawsuit states that the police department conducted a “superficial review” in response to a complaint that Beauchamp filed the day after the incident. The department, however, determined that its officers had acted appropriately.

“We completed a comprehensive investigation of this incident,” Langloss said. “We spoke with everyone involved. We found no wrongdoing by our officers. We fully support the force that was used.”

Attorney Mark Shure of Chicago, who is representing Beauchamp, declined to comment.

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