Former SPD Candidate Sues the Department for Unlawful Arrest; City Refuses to Release Internal Affairs Docs

Springfield Police Officer Jake Gray speaking with Anne Reeves, a former candidate of the Springfield Police Department

Springfield, Illinois – A former candidate of the Springfield Police Department has filed a federal lawsuit against the department, alleging false arrest, wrongful detention, and malicious prosecution by officers. Anne Reeves claims that on October 21, 2022, Springfield Police Officers Jake Gray and Antwion Fairlee arrived at her residence, read her Miranda Rights, briefly spoke to her, handcuffed her, and placed her in the back of a police vehicle unlawfully. (BODY CAMERA VIDEOS AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE)

According to Springfield Police Department reports from October 21, 2023, at around 5:53 p.m., Officers Jake Gray and Springfield Park District Police Officer Brian Crolly responded to a robbery at the intersection of Walnut and Edwards. They found a victim with a large cut on her face. The victim reported being picked up by Anne Reeves in a teal SUV, along with two others, identified as ‘Ms. B’ and her daughter. The victim alleged being attacked, pepper-sprayed, cut, and robbed during the incident.

In an attempt to locate Anne Reeves, officers searched local records, finding an address consistent with the victim’s statement. Springfield Police Officers Gray and Antwion Fairlee went to Anne’s address. According to Officer Gray’s report, they located a blue SUV, knocked on Anne’s door, and she answered. Anne quickly shut and locked the door, asking if she was in trouble. After Officer Gray assured her they only wanted to talk, Anne agreed to speak outside.

Officer Gray reported reading Anne her rights, and she stated understanding and willingness to talk. Anne claimed she and two others picked up the victim earlier in the SUV. Anne mentioned a disturbance in the parking lot of Westminster Presbyterian Church but denied any cutting or pepper spraying.

At this point, Anne stated that she was going to return to the residence, to which Officer Gray responded by informing her that she could not and that he would be detaining her in handcuffs. Officer Gray reported that Anne immediately raised her hands in the air and backed away, insisting that he could not detain her. He advised Anne that he would, indeed, detain her, grabbing her right arm to move her hand to her back. Anne tensed her arm, resisting the movement, prompting Officer Gray to instruct her not to resist. He proceeded to place Anne’s hand behind her back, but she pulled away, tucking her hands and arms close to her body.

Anne then urgently expressed her willingness to comply if allowed to sit down. Officer Fairlee and Officer Gray assisted Anne into a seated position, but she continued to tuck her arms towards her torso and pull away. Officer Fairlee eventually placed Anne on her stomach, where she tucked her arms underneath herself. Officer Gray warned Anne that she would be tased if she did not comply. After several warnings, Anne eventually stopped resisting.

Officer Gray secured Anne in handcuffs and placed her in the back of Officer Fairlee’s squad car. While escorting Anne to the vehicle, she continued to pull away and yell for her husband to come outside.

Officer Gray reported that he then spoke with Anne’s husband, Justin, who was also a candidate for the Springfield Police Department, to update him on the situation, noting that Justin seemed surprised. Officer Gray asked Justin for consent to search his vehicle for evidence of the robbery, such as pepper spray residue, blood, or a cutting instrument. Justin initially denied consent, but upon being informed that the vehicle would be towed for investigative purposes, he consented to the search. Officer Gray reported that the search didn’t find any evidence of the robbery.

Due to Anne being positively identified as the driver of the vehicle during the robbery, Anne’s address being consistent with the victim’s statements, Anne’s phone number being listed as the same number that the victim called her from, Anne stating under Miranda that she and two other subjects matching the description given by the victim were in her vehicle in the parking lot and involved in some kind of physical disturbance, and Anne resisting officers as they detained her, Officer Gray arrested Anne for armed robbery, aggravated battery, and resisting.

Anne was taken to Sangamon County Jail, where two days later, on October 23, 2022, she was given a bond. According to Anne’s attorneys, she was unable to post the bond and remained in the County Jail until the following day when the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office decided not to file charges, leading to her release from Sangamon County Jail. “There was no just cause to arrest Anne, continue to detain her, or charge her with violating any laws,” stated her attorney, Peter T. Sadelski, of Ed Fox & Associates, a law firm in Chicago, Illinois.”

Springfield Police Detectives were assigned to this case days later. Based on their investigative notes, they attempted to contact the victim numerous times to get her statement regarding the case, but were unsuccessful. Additionally, the Detectives noted in their investigative reports that the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office advised them that they had not filed charges and did not intend to pursue the case due to inconsistent information. Consequently, the case was closed.

However, the case didn’t stop there for Anne. On January 13, 2023, she withdrew her candidacy from the Springfield Police Department, and five months later, she filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Springfield and Springfield Police Officers Gray and Fairlee. The lawsuit is still pending.

We have been informed that there was an Internal Affairs investigation; however, the City of Springfield, which has lost numerous lawsuits for refusing to release internal affairs documents that are typically public under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, continues to withhold them. Currently, we have appealed their decision to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor and are awaiting a response.

(VIDEO ABOVE) A woman informed Springfield Police Officers that she had been robbed. Reeves, who was arrested after police alleged that she was the suspect, withdrew her candidacy. She then filed a federal lawsuit against the Springfield Police Department, alleging they unlawfully detained and arrested her.

(VIDEO ABOVE) Body Camera Video from Springfield Police Officer Jake Gray shows the arrest of Anne Reeves

(VIDEO ABOVE) Body Camera Video from Springfield Police Officer Antwion Fairlee shows the arrest of Anne Reeves

(VIDEO ABOVE) An additional Body Camera Video from an unknown Springfield Police Officer which shows the victim giving her statement to Springfield Police Officers

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