An Evergreen Park village trustee and police officer, as well as the village and its mayor, have all been sued over two years of harassment to which the trustee and police officer allegedly subjected an Evergreen Park family, without apology or corrective action from the village.
Keith and Barbara Krummick and their two minor daughters filed a complaint July 16 in federal court in Chicago. In addition to the village, named defendants are Mayor James Sexton, police officer Daniel T. McKeown Jr. and trustee Daniel F. McKeown. Officer McKeown and the Krummicks are neighbors.
On May 19, Trustee McKeown was convicted of disorderly conduct stemming from a two-year period of harassment of the Krummicks. That was followed by Officer McKeown’s resignation from the police department “under a shadow of disciplinary proceedings” linked to his misconduct, the complaint alleges. They further assert Sexton endorsed and encouraged the harassment and discrimination, going so far as to note the police chief, on March 11, 2014, provided written acknowledgement of Sexton’s refusal to rein in the McKeowns. Following the conviction, Sexton branded the issue a “neighbor problem” in comments to a newspaper.
The complaint details how Trustee and Officer McKeown allegedly stalked the Krummicks and committed property damage and noise harassment. They say Officer McKeown, in uniform and using his marked squad car, followed Barbara Krummick and one of the couple’s daughters to a Wal-Mart parking lot, and on a different day, at a Speedway gas station, followed and stalked the other daughter. Later, he followed Keith Krummick and a daughter as they drove to her school.
Further allegations accuse Officer McKeown of glaring at the daughters and their friends as he stood on his porch, attempting to strike both adult Krummicks with vehicles, intentionally bending the passenger mirror of the Krummicks’ 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe - an incident Keith Krummick said he captured on video - and later using his snow blower to pack snow onto the passenger side of the Tahoe, causing nearly $800 in damage.
The Krummicks counted at least 35 times when Officer McKeown and Trustee McKeown repeatedly honked their car horns when driving by the Krummicks’ home. They said the McKeowns also played music in excess of the local noise ordinance on more than a dozen occasions.
During a hearing in Trustee McKeown’s criminal case, Cook County Fifth District Chief Judge Raymond Jagielski stated: “In this court’s opinion, we see you as a bully.”
Since the conviction, the suit alleges Sexton has publicly sought to make a moral equivalency between Trustee McKeown and the Krummicks, and has asserted McKeown’s trustee post is “secure.” Since McKeown faced “no meaningful professional repercussions” despite the conviction, the Krummicks assert the village tacitly endorses such behavior on the part of public officials.
In alleging an infringement of their 14th Amendment rights, the Krummicks are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as legal fees. They also are seeking damages from the village because of the de facto policies they claim contributed to the ongoing harassment. The Krummicks further accuse Sexton and McKeown of intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy, again requesting compensatory and punitive damages.
The Krummicks also requested the court make the village liable for the actions of the named defendants because they all were acting in their official capacity as village employees when the alleged misconduct occurred.
The Krummicks, who are requesting a jury trial, are represented by attorneys Andrew M. Hale, Shneur Nathan and Jennifer Bitoy, of Hale Law, of Chicago.