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Settlement reached in lawsuit against former Normal Police officer

A gavel sits on a judge's bench. On top of that photo, the words "WGLT Courts" appears.
WGLT file photo

An agreement has been reached in a federal lawsuit filed by a Normal woman against a former Normal Police officer who admitted stealing $12,000 from her home during a police response to a medical emergency involving her husband.

According to a filing in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Lindsey Holzhauer and Brian Williams reached an agreement Feb. 17 to resolve the lawsuit filed in January 2020. The lawsuit accused Williams, former Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner and officers Tim Edmiaston and Jim Ferguson of conspiring to prevent her from reporting the theft of $12,000 from her home. The Town of Normal was also named in the lawsuit.

Police were summoned to the Holzhauer home as part of a medical call on Nov. 25, 2019, for Holzhauer’s husband, who later died. Missing from a counter the following day was $12,000, money Holzhauer believed her husband left for his funeral expenses.

A ruling in January dropped the Normal officers from the court action.

Terms of the settlement are confidential, Holzhauer’s lawyer Louis J. Meyer told WGLT on Friday.

Court records indicate that Holzhauer may appeal the court’s ruling dismissing claims against the Normal officers. “We still believe they have liability for what they put Lindsey through and how her initial complaints and report were handled,” Myers said in an email response to WGLT.

Williams’ lawyer Michael Kujawa was not available for comment.

“The settlement is solely between Holtzhauer and Williams. No public funds were provided for this settlement. The town did not participate in the settlement and is not privy to its contents,” said Town of Normal attorney Brian Day.

The only remaining claim against the town related to whether Normal was liable to indemnify Williams. The settlement includes dismissal of the town from the lawsuit.

Williams resigned from the police department in February 2020 and pleaded guilty three months later to official misconduct. He was sentenced to 30 months probation and 30 days in jail.

After stealing the money, Williams placed several anonymous calls to Holzhauer offering to return the money if she would drop the investigation. Illinois State Police became involved after Bleichner requested assistance from the state agency. Williams was arrested at a gas station in Pontiac where he directed Holzhauer to meet him to pick up the stolen money.

Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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