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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117441
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My home burned down in March of last year, two weeks later I

Customer Question

My home burned down in March of last year, two weeks later I was in the backyard with some friends when the police arrived. I was actually in the alley, my friends ran for no reason, and thus they had probable cause of trespassing. I live in Illinois, a Terry law state, so they could reasonably stop me and ask me some questions, make me identify myself, but after I showed my ID and proved it was my home, they continued to hold me and threaten to take me down to the station. They wouldn't respond when I asked if I were under arrest or free to go. They said if they had gotten in a car accident on the way I would've been charged with manslaughter of a police officer. They said it was illegal for me to go on the property, they called me stupid, then took my phone and called my mother and yelled at her. I have a meeting with the Department of Standards yadda yadda of the police department in a week, could you please outline exactly what laws they broke and why what they did was illegal? I'd like to tell the woman that I "conferred with my attorney" I answer any follow up questions if you have any. Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If your house was not restricted as an open criminal investigation scene, they cannot stop you from going onto your own property. It is not trespassing for the owner of a property to be on their own property. Once they identified you and identified you were the owner of the property and were not engaged in illegal conduct, the Terry stop ended and anything beyond that was an illegal detention. They violated your civil rights under 42 USC 1983 by holding you beyond the time provided under Terry to identify you and validate you were entitled to be at the property. It is also "false arrest" which is a common law tort part of false imprisonment. Once they verified your information, they had no further legal right to detain you pursuant to your 4th Amendment rights to unreasonable seizure as well.
Calling you stupid and calling your mother yelling at her is discourteous conduct and that is a violation of department policy.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much that is exactly what I needed and now I can walk in there confidently. I'm only asking for a written and signed apology from the officers involved, but do you personally think I could pursue it further? I mean it's not quite grounds for a lawsuit or some sort of monetary compensation. It was just a probably 30 minute illegal detainment, it's not like I got shot. They did enter my backyard, after I had already proven my identity and thus ownership, without my permission, let alone asking, so I assume I should include trespassing without a warrant or probable cause.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If you did not suffer any actual damages, no usually it costs you more to sue than you would recover.