A federal court has sided with the city of Peoria and several retired Peoria police officers in dismissing the civil rights lawsuit filed by Christopher Coleman.
Coleman filed the lawsuit in 2015, alleging that now-retired Peoria police officers Patrick Rabe, Terry Pyatt, Timothy Anderson and Michael Ford violated his constitutional rights by fabricating evidence leading to his 1995 conviction on armed robbery and sexual assault charges.
Coleman was sentenced to 60 years, and had to serve at least 30 years of his sentence. A court reversed that sentencing in 2013, letting Coleman go free after 19 years in prison. The Peoria County State's Attorney opted not to try Coleman again.
“We are very pleased with the court’s decision,” said James G. Sotos, attorney for the City of Peoria and the Peoria Police Officers named in the lawsuit. “This is a positive resolution for both the City and the police officers who were wrongfully accused of misconduct in this case. Despite the claims made by Coleman, the evidence shows that the officers acted appropriately, there was probable cause to arrest Coleman, and that he received a fair trial in 1995.”
Coleman sought monetary damages from the city. The judge ruled in favor of a summary judgment dismissing Coleman's lawsuit, arguing the evidence gathered by him was insufficient to support the claims of constitutional rights violations.