Camp Point settles federal lawsuit for $20,000

Posted: Mar. 2, 2013 4:53 pm Updated: Mar. 23, 2013 5:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Village of Camp Point has agreed to pay a $20,000 settlement to a Quincy man who claimed he was wrongfully arrested and assaulted in 2011 by a village police officer.

Ryan Aden, 30, filed the lawsuit in January 2012 with the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Ill. The village and police officer Randy Mathewson were named as defendants.

The case was dismissed in January with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled. Aden awarded a $20,000 settlement, which is to be paid by the village's insurance carrier. Mathewson remains employed by the village.

Attorney Louis Meyer of Peoria, who represented Aden, said Aden agreed to the financial settlement to put the case behind him. Barney Bier, attorney for the Village of Camp Point, said the insurance company made the decision to settle.

Mathewson has been a member of Camp Point's police force for nearly four years, and serves as the village's K-9 officer. Bier said Mathewson was not reprimanded for his actions in connection with the Aden incident.

In court documents, Aden claimed Mathewson mistook him for his brother, Chad Aden, after police were called about a fight at a block party at the Hard Times Bar & Grill in Camp Point on the night of June 11, 2011.

The suit claims Mathewson grabbed Ryan Aden, who was not involved in the fight, and pushed him into a squad car and later struck him over the head with a flashlight, causing his head to bleed. While in the squad car, the complaint also claims Mathewson's police dog began licking Aden's wound.

Ryan Aden was charged with aggravated battery of a police officer and resisting a police officer, but the Adams County state's attorney's office dismissed those charges on Nov. 4, 2011.

The Illinois State Police investigated Mathewson on two separate occasions in 2010 over claims of excessive force, but no charges were filed.

James Husted of West Point claimed Mathewson used excessive force during an arrest in a Camp Point convenience store on April 26. Husted was charged with resisting a peace officer. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months conditional discharge and 100 hours of community service.

Rex Kindhart of Versailles claimed Mathewson, then working part time for the Mount Sterling Police Department, used excessive force in arresting him outside of Booter's Bar on June 3, 2010.

Kindhart told ISP investigators that Mathewson used pepper spray on him, and hit him and choked him after he had been handcuffed him. Mathewson told investigators that he twice sprayed Kindhart with pepper spray, and admitted to punching Kindhart "two, three or four times" as he tried to get the man into his squad car.

Kindhart was charged with criminal damage to property and resisting or obstructing a peace officer. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor property damage and was sentenced to two days in the county jail on July 29, 2011. He was also fined and ordered to pay restitution. The resisting or obstructing a peace officer charge was dropped by the state.

Brown County State's Attorney Mark Vincent declined to press charges against Mathewson.

"Based on inconsistencies in the alleged victim's statements and in the two versions provided by the Deputy who assisted at the scene, I do not believe I could prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt," Vincent wrote to ISP investigators.

Mathewson resigned his post as an officer with the Shelbyville (Ill.) Police Department on Aug. 15, 2006, the day after he was charged with domestic battery.

According to a report by the Shelbyville Police Department, Mathewson admitted to hitting the 2-year-old daughter of his then-girlfriend.

Mathewson pleaded guilty to simple battery, a Class A misdemeanor, on Sept. 13, 2006. He successfully served one year of probation and paid $609 in fines.

Mathewson has worked for several area law enforcement agencies: the Village of Plymouth, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department, the city of Nauvoo, the city of Rushville and the Brown County Sheriff's Department.