Police chief reviews brutality complaint

By Bill Schwingel

The DeKalb police chief addressed a complaint Friday by a DeKalb resident of alleged brutality and the illegal search of his home.

On Nov. 18, Thomas Rodriguez, 38, 1100 W. Lincoln Hwy., was arrested by DeKalb Police in the home of Clemente Rodriguez, 53, 1010 E. Locust St., in connection with a felony warrant for retail theft.

Clemente Rodriguez filed a complaint Nov. 22 for alleged police brutality and the illegal search of his home during the arrest of his nephew.

DeKalb Police Chief Don Berke said only the issue of illegal entry in the Rodriguez home would be addressed.

The alleged police brutality would be investigated by the police department review board next week in which Rodriguez and witnesses of the incident will give testimony, Berke said.

Thomas Rodriguez called the police department Nov. 18 asking for assistance. After determining his whereabouts through the phone call, the police went to 1010 E. Locust St., Berke said.

The officers arrived at Clemente Rodriguez’s home while Thomas was still talking on the phone with an officer, the officers knocked on the back door of the home, seeing Thomas speaking on the telephone, Berke said.

Clemente Rodriguez opened the door for the officers, was informed of the arrest warrant for his nephew and the officers identified Thomas Rodriguez from past contacts as the suspect for the warrant, Berke said.

Entering the residence, the officers informed Thomas Rodriguez he was under arrest on a warrant issued Nov. 17 and “at no time searched” the residence, Berke said.

Since the police observed Thomas Rodriguez in the home, they were “legally entitled, and in my eyes, obligated to make the arrest,” said DeKalb State’s Attorney Mike Coghlan.

The police department consulted a number of legal sources, explaining the entrance into the home of Clemente Rodriguez was not unconstitutional, Berke said.