Violent Cops Sued For Wrongful Arrest Of Black College Swimmer

Black College Athlete Files a Lawsuit

Jaylan Butler, 20, is seeking justice after being wrongfully detained by police officers in Quad Cities.

What We Know:

  • Illinois police officers committed despicable acts, threatening to shoot Butler while pointing a gun to his forehead. The arrest happened while the black college athlete traveled with his school’s swim team on February 24, 2019.
  • The Washington Times reported, the team took a moment to stretch their legs, and the coach suggested taking a picture in front of a “Buckle Up, It’s The Law” roadside sign for the team’s social media account.
  • Butler said, “As I took the picture, there was a line of police officers … they came to a screeching stop in front of me.” He added, “At that moment, I only knew a couple things to do that my dad always told me.” The black college athlete’s father told him to never provide police grounds to believe he was trouble.
  • According to News One, Todd Slingerland, the operating driver of the team’s bus said, knew was contriving. The driver explained Butler was the last member of the team to get back on the bus. “A car screamed in, and I jumped out of the bus, knowing something was going down that shouldn’t be going down. As I got out, a second police car came screaming in,” Slingerland said.
  • Two officers had Butler on the ground with his face planted in the snow. One of the officers had his knee in the athletes back, and one officer had a rifle and a gun pointing at Butler’s head.
  • Butler said an officer told him, “If you move, I’ll blow your _______ head off.” The driver also heard the threat and urged the officers that they were making a mistake. Slingerland told them the athlete was a passenger on the bus. The driver then yelled for the team’s coach, and a little after, two of their police vehicles arrived.
  • The driver asked them to get the sheriff to the scene, and the officers confessed that the sheriff was busy with an active-shooter event. 
  • Furthermore, News One reports, Butler asked the two officers for their badge numbers, but his request went unanswered. The lawsuit expressed, “Mr. Butler informed at least two defendants (officers) that he wanted to make a complaint. The first defendant ignored him. The second defendant said, ‘There’s nothing I can do.'”
  • When the officers realized they made a mistake, they informed the dispatcher that it was a “false alarm”. Soon the officers allowed Butler to get up after being face down in the snow.
  • But, the officers furthered the situation by detaining Butler for resisting arrest. They took the athlete to the squad car and patted the athlete down and searched him. As aforementioned, the athlete complied thoroughly with their previous request showing no sign of resistance. 
  • Kerry Loncka, Henry County sheriff, said there was no report of an incident. The call logs suggested that Illinois State Police asked for Henry County’s help in tracking down a man in a vehicle who shot at a truck, QCOnline reports.
  • American Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights group, filed a lawsuit in January in a district court.
  • The case is currently receiving the run-around since there is not enough information provided. The Freedom of Information Act requested information into Butler’s arrest, but it can not be provided without the name and date of birth of the person arrested.
  • Additionally, obtaining information from the Illinois State Public information officer was unsuccessful as well.
  • Butler informed his parents on the matter, and they “were angry and upset” about what happened to him.
  • Finally, Butler said, “A kid like me, who has stayed on the straight and narrow, could’ve been killed. I didn’t resist at all. I complied before they told me to do anything.”

The case is still pending.




Alldon Thompson was a Digital Intern at Black News Alerts.