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City Not Liable After Alderman’s Scuffle

(CN) - The city of Harvey, Ill., is not liable after an alderman beat up a mechanic who refused to move illegally parked cars, the 7th Circuit ruled.

Alderman Keith Price had received several complaints about illegally parked cars in front of Midnight Auto Express. After reporting the problem to the city, Price drove to the repair shop and beat mechanic Christopher Wilson unconscious when he refused to comply, fracturing his jaw, the ruling states.

Wilson sued, but an Illinois Federal Court dismissed the claims against the city, finding that Price's actions were not related to his official actions as an alderman.

The 7th Circuit affirmed, explaining that Price's position on the city council was purely legislative, and that his entrance into the "realm of law enforcement" was unrelated to his official duties.

"[N]one of the actions taken to compel Wilson to move the illegally parked cars were effectuated under color of state law, as one cannot misuse power one does not possess," Circuit Judge Williams wrote.

Wilson's claims against Price in his individual capacity will continue.

"Price's confrontation with Wilson amounts to no more than a dispute between private citizens," Williams wrote.


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