Rockford's Independent Newspaper

City settles lawsuit filed by man injured in police scuffle

Correction: This story originally stated that Jonathan Hedges was hired by the Cherry Valley Police Department in 2016, when in fact he has never worked there. Jason Parada worked at the Cherry Valley Police Department briefly. The Rock River Times regrets the error.

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – The City of Rockford, on Monday, agreed to spend $110,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was beaten up by three police officers.

Attorneys for Torrey T. Turner, of Rockford, filed the complaint in 2016 in U.S. District Court against the City of Rockford, Rockford Officer Jonathan Hedges, Rockford Police Investigator Brian Strawser and Jason Parada, then an officer with the Rockford Park District.

The suit claimed the defendants used excessive force when they arrested Turner during a domestic violence incident. According to the complaint, Turner suffered facial fractures that required reconstructive surgical repair with plates and screws.

Turner’s injuries stemmed from an incident that occurred Oct. 10, 2015, at his home in the 1400 block of Green Street. That’s where Turner had an altercation with his wife after he says he learned she was having an affair with his friend.

Instead of talking to responding officers, Turner fled the scene and met Hedges, who cornered him with his squad car. Turner claimed he had has hands up when Hedges kneed him in the back and knocked him to the ground. A scuffle ensued, during which Hedges claimed Turner was throwing punches and elbowed him in the chest.

Turner denies throwing any punches and claimed once Hedges had him on the ground, all three officers began hitting him. Turner said Hedges struck him with a solid object.

Turner pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 180 in jail for domestic battery. He was also charged with two counts aggravated battery of a police officer, and three counts of resisting arrest. Two of the resisting charges and those for aggravated battery of a police officer were later dismissed.

Within a week of the scuffle with Turner, Hedges was found sleeping at the wheel of his truck parked outside a residence at which he was staying while he was going through a divorce. A bottle of vodka was found inside the vehicle and his off-duty .40 caliber Glock 27 was found in the driveway.

Hedges was charged with DUI and illegal transport of liquor. Both charges were dismissed. However, he was fired from the Rockford Police Department in March 2016, after an internal investigation. He was also under investigation for misconduct for using his personal phone to take graphic crime-scene photos. Hedges eventually reached an agreement that reduced his termination to a six-month suspension and allowed him to return to duty.

The Turner suit was the second complaint that named Hedges as a defendant. In 2012, he was accused of being negligent when he crashed into a car and injured two people while running a red light without engaging his emergency lights or siren.

Hedges received a medal of valor for assisting other officers in an officer-involved shooting that left one man dead in the 1800 block of 16th Avenue on March 15, 2015.  R.

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