Springfield officer on leave after barroom incident | News

Springfield officer on leave after barroom incident | News

 

A Springfield police officer is on paid administrative leave after
an incident last month at the Blue Grouch Pub in Sangamon
County, which is bordered by land under city jurisdiction.

Deputies were called to the Maple Street bar shortly after 2:30
p.m. on Jan. 19 on a report of disorderly conduct – someone
needed to be removed. The apparent target was standing outside,
drunk and holding a dog, when deputies arrived, according to a
Sangamon County sheriff’s report. He told deputies that he was
OK and planned on going home.

A bartender told deputies that the man, whose name was
redacted from reports provided by the sheriff’s office, had been
harassing a patron and throwing things. He’d refused to leave
when asked, the bartender said, and had told customers that he
was a city cop. A bar patron said that he’d called him names and
tried punching him, but missed – he said he wanted the incident
documented, but did not want to press charges. The bartender
told deputies that she didn’t want to make a report, but she
wanted him to leave. A customer also told deputies that the man
might have a gun. Deputies went outside and spoke again with
the man they’d seen earlier.

“I asked (redacted) if he was carrying a handgun in his pocket,”
a deputy wrote in his report. “(Redacted) immediately got upset
with me and he began cursing and calling us names. (Redacted)
also refused to remove his hands from his pockets when deputies
asked him to. (Redacted) was placed in handcuffs for everyone’s
safety and for refusing to comply with deputies’ commands.
(Redacted) did not resist while placing him in handcuffs but he
continued to curse and call us inappropriate names.”

Supervisors from the city police department and county sheriff’s
office were called. No one from the tavern wanted to press
charges, and so deputies uncuffed him and left him at the tavern
with supervisors.

An employee of the bar called for help again later that day,
telling sheriff’s deputies that someone in a city police vehicle
had followed her home from the bar when she departed at 6:30
p.m. The woman said she believed that the driver was the same
man who’d been causing trouble at the bar, necessitating the call
to police about four hours earlier.

Deputies reported that the woman couldn’t provide a description
of the driver, nor could she provide a license plate number, but
she said that the vehicle had “police” on its side and looked like
a Springfield police SUV. She said that she was frightened
enough that she called her mother while en route home, and she
also called her employer, who told police that he went outside
after the woman called, planning a trip to buy soda, and saw a
Springfield police SUV driving slowly past his house. He said
that he followed the SUV and got a license plate number, then
returned to his house because he didn’t feel safe leaving his wife
alone. He said that he couldn’t identify who was driving the
police SUV, but told officers that the man who’d caused
problems at the bar earlier knew where he lived.

Springfield police declined to identify the officer. Chief Kenny
Winslow said that he is on paid administrative leave.

Contact Bruce Rushton at [email protected]

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