Stockton family suing Jo Daviess County, officers

A Stockton family has filed a lawsuit against Jo Daviess County, three law enforcement officers and the village of Stockton as the result of an incident at their home a year ago.

The lawsuit, brought by Mitchell and Nancy Siergiej and their son, Jeffrey, names former Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Deputy Bradley Finn, Deputy Steven Endress, and Stockton Officer Lisa Volling.

Early on the morning of May 7, 2005, Jeffrey Siergiej made two calls to the 911 system, according to the suit, and requested aid because he was emotionally upset, depressed and suicidal. Young Siergiej was threatening to leap from a cliff into a quarry and end his life.

At about 2 a.m., the suit alleges, Finn and Volling confronted Jeffrey outside his home. Finn later claimed Jeffrey tried to assault him, a claim young Siergiej denies.

In response, Finn shot Jeffrey with a taser gun, knocking him to the ground. As Jeffrey lay there incapacitated, Finn shot him again. Then, with the assistance of Volling, took him into custody.

When the alarmed parents rushed out of their house to see what was going on, they were arrested. Nancy Siergiej was charged with obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. She claims Finn, in making the arrest, violently jerked her arms upward after she was handcuffed, causing severe pain in her arthritic shoulders and back. She alleges she was held in a squad car for at least an hour before being taken to the sheriff’s department.

All three plaintiffs allege false imprisonment and claim the officers had no warrants and no probable cause to arrest them. The Siergiejs were later released after posting bond. Charges against Mitchell and Nancy Siergiej were later dismissed. So were the charges against Jeffrey Siergiej.

They also allege violations of their civil rights by each of the defendants.

The lawsuit also charges the conduct of the officers resulted in extreme emotional distress and mental suffering by Jeffrey Siergiej and was outrageous and extreme.

Nancy and Mitchell Siergiej also claim mental and emotional distress and pain and suffering as a result of the officers’ actions. The lawsuit alleges Deputy Finn and Officer Volling either intended their actions to cause severe emotional distress or they knew there was a high probability their actions would do so.

The lawsuit further charges the officers’ actions were wanton and willful and deliberately disregarded the laws governing the undertaking of enforcement actions by peace officers.

Each of the plaintiffs is asking the court to award $50,000 on each count plus additional punitive damages.

Asked whether he knew of the lawsuit, Sheriff Brian Melton said: “I am aware of something being served on a few officers in the county, but I haven’t reviewed the summons. I have no comments.”

From the May 24-30, 2006, issue

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