DIXMOOR, Ill. (STMW) – A Dixmoor village trustee charged with resisting arrest and driving without a license in the south suburb Saturday claims he was unfairly targeted and physically assaulted by the arresting officer.
Michael A. Smith believes he was stopped outside his grandmother’s house at 146th and Cooper because he has been investigating what he says are the mismanagement of village funds, and other incidents, including the repossession of a fire truck.
“It’s just retaliation and harassment,” Smith said of the misdemeanor charges Sunday.
But Dixmoor Police disagreed.
They said the 20-year-old refused to retreat to the vehicle he had been driving when he was questioned about his suspended license.
“I don’t believe it was retaliation. It was an officer doing his job. We are showing the public that even officials have to obey the law,’’ Dixmoor Police Chief Marcus Johnson said.
Smith said his was walking outside, bringing chicken to his grandmother when the officer approached and told him to return to the car.
Smith said he kept asking the officer why he was being arrested, but the officer wouldn’t tell him until he was in the back of the squad car.
“He slammed me up against the car. He said, ‘Get back into the vehicle,’’’ said Smith, who is free on $1,500 bail. Smith said the officer threatened to pepper spray him and put his forearm in his back when putting handcuff’s on him.
“I’m kind of scared now, I’m fearing for my life. If he did that to me, there’s no telling what’s next,” Smith said.
Smith said he went to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey for his bruised and swollen back and arms.
However Johnson said Smith signed a medical refusal form when an emergency team came to treat Smith at the police station after he complained of back and chest pains.
Smith said he filed complaints against the arresting officer, who he claims searched his vehicle without a warrant and made “inappropriate sexual’’ comments about another village official.
Johnson said Smith was treated fairly.
“The entire time he was in our care, everyone respected him,’’ he said.
Smith is expected to appear at the Markham courthouse on May 10.
Smith was elected to office when he was 18.
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