ROCKFORD, Ill. (CN) – A woman claims a police officer misappropriated and used for his own gain a video depicting cops choking her and shooting her in the neck with a Taser gun as she sat handcuffed to a bench in the South Beloit Police Department booking room.
Veronica McIntyre sued the city and three of its police officers, including Brad McCaslin, whom she says shot her with the Taser, then got his hands on the video “depicting the image of the plaintiff and appropriated it for his own commercial benefit.”
She also sued Officer Tom Fearn, whom she says abused her by “pushing her onto a bench, choking her, and holding her down on the bench.”
And she sued Officer Sandy Messenger, whom she accuses of failing to intervene.
In her federal complaint, McIntyre says she was arrested on March 8, 2008 after McCaslin “responded to a call for assistance” at her home.
He arrested her and took her to the Police Department, where she was “handcuffed and secured to a bench in the booking room,” according to the complaint.
She says Fearn abused her as she sat there, handcuffed, and that McCaslin Tasered her.
The chronology in the complaint is confusing, and may be erroneous.
After stating that the incident happened on March 8, the complaint states: “That on or about May 8, 2008, a video was recorded at the South Beloit Police Department depicting the image of the plaintiff.”
The complaint then continues to refer to the incident as happening on May 8, 2008 – not in March.
McCaslin is accused of misappropriating the video for his own gain just under 2 years later: “On or before April 27, 2010, Defendant McCaslin obtained a copy of the video depicting the image of the plaintiff and appropriated it for his own commercial benefit, professional benefit, and other pecuniary gain,” the complaint states.
It continues: “Said use of the image of the plaintiff was done without her consent.
“On or about April 27, 2010, Defendant McCaslin obtained financial and other compensation through his use of the video depicting the image of the plaintiff.
“The above described reckless and/or intentional misappropriation of the plaintiff’s likeness constituted an invasion of her privacy which was done in willful and wanton disregard of her privacy rights.”
McIntyre claims McCaslin used the video “to falsely claim retaliation and protected status as a whistleblower and seek financial and other professional gains from the City of South Beloit, believing that they would concede to his demands to minimize their exposure to liability as a result of the May 8, 2008 incident.”
McCaslin was suspended in 2009 for trying to fix a friend’s speeding ticket, according to the Rockford Register Star newspaper. He threatened to sue the city for whistleblower violations and received a $70,000 settlement in exchange for McIntyre’s arrest video, according to the Register Star’s January report.
The South Beloit Police Department fired McCaslin in April for reasons that were not made public, the Star Register reported on April 22.
McIntyre seeks damages for excessive force, failure to intervene, invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Patrick Moore with Sreenan & Cain of Rockford.