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Ex-Sesser mayor sues city, two police officers claiming they conspired to have him arrested
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Ex-Sesser mayor sues city, two police officers claiming they conspired to have him arrested

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SESSER — A civil lawsuit filed by former Sesser mayor Ned Mitchell against two city police officers and the city itself has been stayed by a federal judge, court records show. 

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A three-count complaint, filed Feb. 13 in federal court, alleges that officer Brian Van Eycke and Sesser Police Chief Ryan White provided statements that were “knowingly false or made with willful indifference for the truth” in support of a 2019 search warrant for Mitchell’s property that led to his arrest.

A motion to stay the case was granted March 30 by Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison until Mitchell’s criminal proceedings are resolved in Franklin County, according to federal court records.

The docket entry said both parties in the case are to file a status report no later than Sept. 30.

As previously reported, Mitchell, and Elaina Kays, 42, of Sesser, were arrested Jan. 15, 2019 after police executed a search warrant on Mitchell’s residence in Sesser. During the search of the home, police allegedly found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The search warrant in question resulted in five felony charges against Mitchell, including: felony possession of a controlled substance; felony manufacturing or delivery of a controlled substance near a school, public housing or public park; and two felony counts of Category 1 armed violence, assessed when a person commits a felony while possessing a dangerous weapon.

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Mitchell was also charged with felony permitting unlawful use of a building, assessed to a person who “controls a building,” and “knowingly grants, permits or makes the building available for use for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance,” per Illinois statute.

In his lawsuit, Mitchell alleges that because he served as mayor when both White and Van Eycke were discharged or resigned from the police force, they have since been “Mitchell’s political enemies.”

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Mitchell alleges in court filings that because of these allegedly false statements by Van Eycke and White, his 14th Amendment rights were violated. He also named the city of Sesser as a defendant in the case because White and Van Eycke were city employees and acted in an official capacity at the time of the alleged violation.

Mitchell is seeking damages for legal fees and mental anguish to the tune of about $175,000 for each of the first two counts. The third count, which alleges conspiracy between Van Eycke and White to come after Mitchell, asks for about $2.3 million in damages and court costs.

According to the state court database Judici, Mitchell is scheduled for another hearing in his state case at 1:15 p.m. May 4 via video court.

isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

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