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Man sues Bloomington Police and 3 officers after a K-9 bite during his arrest

Cristian Jaramillo

A Bloomington man is suing the city and three police officers for alleged excessive force after a K-9 bit him during an arrest.

Todd Kelly claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Peoria that the police officers sent the K-9, or police dog, after him. Officers had gone to a west Bloomington hotel to arrest Kelly on an alleged parole violation in February 2020. Kelly said in the complaint he was startled and jumped out of a hotel window when officers started to ram the front door.

Officer body camera footage, as stated in the lawsuit, shows the police dog knocked Kelly to the ground and repeatedly bit his right arm.

Kelly said he ended up in the hospital with nerve damage to his right hand and arm. Kelly seeks financial damages against the city and officers Justin Shively, Todd Walcott and Stephen Brown.

The City of Bloomington said in a statement it defends the officers' actions.

“The city believes that officers acted appropriately during the course of this arrest,” said spokesperson Katherine Murphy.

The complaint has not yet been presented to the Bloomington Public Safety and Community Relations Board (PSCRB), according to chair Ashley Farmer. Farmer said an appeal on regarding the complaint was recently filed.

Farmer added the board cannot hear any appeals that currently have any pending criminal complaints.

"I’m unsure will that review will happen," Farmer said.

Kelly faces several pending criminal cases in McLean and Woodford counties, where he is scheduled to face a March 29 bench trial on charges of theft and possession of a stolen vehicle, according to online court records.

According to the latest data from Bloomington Police, the department fielded 32 citizen complaints against officers through the first 11 months of 2021. That’s up from 22 complaints filed in all of 2021 and 11 complaints in 2020.

According to online court records, this is at least the seventh lawsuit alleging excessive force filed against BPD or its officers since 2010.

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Updated: February 24, 2022 at 9:15 AM CST
The chair of the Bloomington Public Safety and Community Relations Board said the board has not yet received the complaint.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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