Batavia settles police excessive force suit

 
 
Updated 4/28/2011 9:24 AM

Batavia has settled a federal lawsuit that charged one of its police officers with using excessive force on a man in custody.

But the city still denies all of the allegations in the suit, according to a prepared statement released Wednesday by city administrator William McGrath.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The city will pay $25,880 to Benjamin H. Johnston of Batavia.

Johnston filed suit in November 2010.

He was arrested in November 2008 on charges of illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor and illegal purchase of alcohol by a minor. Johnston was then 17. According to the suit, Johnston had been cooperative with police. While unrestrained, he was using both hands to hold up his pants due to his belt having been taken away. Officer Mark Fauble punched Johnston in the head, then "lunged on top" of him, the suit states.

The suit charges that another officer participating in the arrest, Erika Stover, should have stopped Fauble, and that she and other, unnamed, Batavia officers participated in a cover-up of the incident. The suit also alleged that they delayed providing medical treatment to Johnston, whose head was bleeding. He was treated by Batavia paramedics and taken to a hospital.

Johnston was charged with felony aggravated assault on a government employee, resisting a peace officer and aggravated intimidation of a peace officer. Kane County circuit court records indicated the charges were either dismissed or not prosecuted.

"The City believed that prompt resolution of the case was in the best interests of the City and its taxpayers and was a cost-effective method of resolving the lawsuit," McGrath said.

Johnston has a 2008 conviction in Kane County for felony misuse of a credit card and a 2009 conviction on felony theft. He also has several misdemeanor convictions for consumption of liquor by a minor, and a misdemeanor conviction for retail theft.

It is the second federal case brought against Fauble. In 2007, a woman sued on behalf of her two sons, age 16 and 15. The suit alleged Fauble, while investigating a report of two black men displaying weapons, falsely arrested the two, who are white. The suit alleged he used excessive force, including kicking, putting his knee on the back of the neck and putting a gun to the head of the older one. The younger boy was let go at the scene, and the older boy was released one to two hours later, the suit said. Neither was charged with a crime. A settlement was reached, but court documents do not give the terms.