NIU first-year files lawsuit against Matteson

James Krause

First-year wide receiver Jyran Mitchell is suing the Village of Matteson, Illinois, and several police officers for damages after an alleged false arrest which resulted in a serious leg injury that cost him his first-year season.

Mitchell filed a lawsuit in the Cook County circuit court Oct. 23 against Matteson, police officer Dominic Bates and state troopers Matthew Dumais and Eduardo Reyes.

The lawsuit claims officers and the city falsely arrested Mitchell and conspired to cover up an assault that required knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, according to court documents.

Mitchell and his lawyer, attorney Victor Henderson, spoke at a press conference on Oct. 23 in Chicago, where Henderson said that his client was victimized by the racial stereotypes perceived by officers.

“He wasn’t commiting a crime,” Henderson said. “He wasn’t doing anything wrong, nd yet, in the safety of his own home, he found himself being attacked by the police because he was young and an African-American.”

Bates arrived at Mitchell’s home in Matteson at the direction of state police on Feb. 2 looking for a 2013 Jaguar that fled a traffic stop. The vehicle belonged to Mitchell’s brother, Shawn Mitchell Jr., according to court documents.

Despite the car at the location being a Chevrolet Malibu, Dumais insisted the vehicle was the one they were searching for. Bates then began to question and confront Mitchell’s grandmother in the doorway of the house.

When Mitchell left the doorway to bring his grandmother inside, officers Dumais and Reyes handcuffed Mitchell, followed by officer Bates kicking Mitchell in the side of his knee, according to court documents.

Police then took information on the Malibu, discovered it was not the car that fled the stop and released Mitchell from the handcuffs.

Mitchell suffered a torn meniscus in his knee from the kick by officer Bates, according to the lawsuit. The injury required surgery and forced Mitchell to miss several months of action, including his first season at NIU.

Mitchell graduated from Rich Central High School this spring with a 4.0 GPA. He was a successful three sport athlete playing basketball, football and winning a state title in track and field.

The former high school quarterback received a scholarship from NIU as an athlete and will be transitioning to wide receiver when he’s fully recovered.

Despite the injury and the lawsuit claiming it could be detrimental to his chances of a pro football career, Mitchell said the NFL is still a goal of his.

“The big dream was to play in the NFL and it still is,” Mitchell said in an Oct. 23 press conference. “Just trying to get mentally right, physically right and hopefully I can live my dream one day.”

NIU Athletics and NIU Communications both declined a request for comment.