ST. LOUIS, February 26, 2008 - The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of a solider currently serving in Iraq. Army Specialist Anthony Collins of Charlie Company’s 327th Infantry Regiment returned to St. Louis on leave from war-torn Iraq, he encountered the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, whose officers pepper-sprayed him, forced him to the ground, handcuffed him and arrested him near a routine police checkpoint on June 30, 2006.
In a statement, Collins said he was driving in the city when police officers signaled for him to move his vehicle as he approached a police checkpoint. Collins did not understand what the police were saying, so he stepped out of his car to ask them what they wanted him to do. It was then police reacted with full force. He even identified himself as an active-duty soldier.
After he was released from police custody, following a charge of resisting arrest, Collins was treated for injuries at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Prosecutors later dismissed the charge. As a result of his arrest, Collins second tour of duty to Iraq was delayed. He is currently on his third tour of duty in Iraq.
The lawsuit contends that police officers violated Collins’ rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by subjecting him to unreasonable search and seizure and arresting him without cause.
Collins is represented in the case by ACLU of Eastern Missouri cooperating attorney Rodney Holmes and ACLU legal director Anthony Rothert.