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Black college student sues Illinois police for alleged gunpoint arrest

The governor of Illinois on Thursday called for an investigation into allegations that police held a black college student at gunpoint after misidentifying him as a suspect.  

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statement comes after Jaylan Butler, 20, sued the six officers involved for unlawful searches and seizure, excessive force and false arrest on a Sunday night last February. Butler, a swim team member at Eastern Illinois University, said he was walking back to the team bus near a rest stop off Interstate 80 when patrol cars pulled up to him.

He then dropped to his knees, put his hands up and dropped the cell phone he was holding, according to the complaint filed by the ACLU of Illinois, which is representing him. The officers told Butler to get down as they approached with guns drawn, the complaint said, forced him to lie face down and handcuffed him. One officer allegedly put a handgun against Butler’s head, threatening to blow his head off, but stopped after the bus driver and swim coach explained he was traveling with the team. 

Jaylan Butler, a student and swim team member at Eastern Illinois University, sued Illinois police officers for alleged wrongful arrest.

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“I’m deeply troubled by what I’ve read about how Jaylan Butler, an African-American athlete at EIU, was mistreated by law enforcement in East Moline,” Pritzker said in a statement. “It’s unacceptable for any young person to feel unsafe and disrespected anywhere in this state — but every day, too many young people of color live through it. I urge a thorough and transparent investigation of what took place.”

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