Fired Illinois Firefighter Sues Police for Wrongful Arrest

A terminated Illinois firefighter has filed a rather unusual lawsuit following his dismissal. He is not suing his former employer, but rather is suing another community and one of its police officers alleging that he lost his job due to an unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution.

Justin Haskett, 26, was fired from the Mokena Fire Department following his arrest on June 19, 2011 for violation of a local public intoxication ordinance. At the time, Haskett was a probationary firefighter and had just proposed to his girlfriend at her house in the Village of Frankfurt.

When a Village police officer responded to the party for a report of property damage to Haskett’s sister’s car, Haskett allegedly had some words with the officer. The officer, Jay Sanders, then arrested him. As a result of the arrest Haskett was terminated from the Mokena Fire Department.

The charges against Haskett were subsequently dismissed by a Will County Circuit Court judge, but his termination remained unaffected.

Haskett took the bold step of suing Sanders and the Village of Frankfurt in Federal court, alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution. He also alleges that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the US and Illinois constitutions; the he was denied due process and equal protection; and the law and arrest violated the 1st, 4th and 14th Amendments.

Here is a copy of the complaint. Haskett v Frankfurt

More on the story.

 

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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    He was on probation so his termination is unlikely to change.

    But going after the Police Officer is something else.

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