Second lawsuit against fired Des Plaines cop, city

Posted8/13/2012 6:35 PM

A recently fired Des Plaines cop has been named in a second federal lawsuit alleging he and other city police officers violated the rights of a city resident by falsely arresting her after her husband was detained on a drug-related offense.

The lawsuit, filed by Stacy Sandoval, accuses officers John Bueno, James Lave and Matthew Bowler of falsely arresting her on June 4, 2009. Bueno is one of the defendants in another federal lawsuit accusing him and a fellow patrol officer Andy Contreras of beating a DuPage County man while transporting him to the Des Plaines police station.


Bueno was fired by the city March 2 after allegations of misconduct. Charges against Contreras stemming from the same incident were dropped after he and the city reached a settlement in April. He rejoined the force this month after a four-month suspension.

Bueno, a 10-year veteran of the Des Plaines police department, is seeking to get his job back in an arbitration hearing scheduled for Nov. 20. He also has filed a racial discrimination complaint against the city with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging a superior officer made derogatory and insensitive comments about his Hispanic heritage.

In the second lawsuit, Sandoval alleges police took her husband into custody after saying they found drug paraphernalia in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop.

The complaint states that Bueno then used the husband's cellphone to call Sandoval and later went to her workplace in Mount Prospect to speak with her. The officers told Sandoval that her husband had been arrested and that she had to sign a consent to search their home, the suit alleges.

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When Sandoval refused, the officers handcuffed her without legal justification and took her to the Des Plaines police station against her will, the complaint alleges. Sandoval alleges the officers threatened her saying, "if she did not sign the consent form, she would spend her birthday in the Cook County jail."

She eventually signed the consent form and was released from police custody at 2:30 a.m. June 5, nearly eight hours after being detained without charges, the suit alleges.

Sandoval's suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for emotional distress on the counts of unreasonable seizure, false arrest and failure to intervene on the part of the officers. Her attorney could not be reached for comment Monday.

The city of Des Plaines, which is a defendant in both lawsuits, has remained mum about the issues that led to Bueno's firing. In its response to Sandoval's complaint, the city and the three officers deny the allegations.


City officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

In the other suit involving Bueno, Sergio Toutges alleges the fired officer and Contreras intimidated, threatened and beat him while he was handcuffed and in their custody. The officers were transporting Toutges from the Elmhurst police station where he had been detained on Aug. 12, 2010, on a Des Plaines arrest warrant for attempting to run over an officer.

The suit also alleges that city officials knew about previous acts of physical abuse of prisoners and false reports filed by Bueno and failed to discipline him. A settlement conference in that case is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 27 in the chambers of federal Judge Rubin Castillo.

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