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Suit: Request for bathroom break leads to police assault

A Rockford man filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, claiming he was violently beaten by a northwest suburban Loves Park police officer last year after he repeatedly asked to use the bathroom while in custody.

Eric Powers was handcuffed and being held for a domestic incident on Aug. 28, 2013 at the Loves Park police station when he asked if he could use the bathroom, according to the suit. An officer denied his request and proceeded to escort Powers to his police vehicle so he could be processed at the Winnebago County Jail.

While in the squad car, Powers again asked to use the bathroom, but the officer ignored the plaintiff’s request. Soon after, Powers said that if he wasn’t taken to a bathroom that he would pee his pants, according to the suit.

“Go ahead,” the officer responded, the suit alleges.

When Powers said that he wasn’t joking – and really had to go – the officer slammed on his brakes in the middle of the street, exited his vehicle, “violently yanked” Powers out of the back seat and slammed him to the pavement, according to the suit.

Because Powers was handcuffed, he was unable to brace for the impact when he hit the ground, the suit said. Powers then relieved himself while the officer had him pinned down, said Powers’ attorney, Louis Meyer.

The officer then returned back to the Loves Park police station where Powers realized his knee was bleeding, the suit said.

An ambulance was called and Powers was taken to St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford to treat a laceration to his leg and injuries to his neck, back and shoulder, the suit said.

The two-count suit claims excessive force and seeks to the hold the city responsible. Powers is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

Neither a representative from the city of Loves Park nor the Loves Park Police Department could be reached for comment on the suit Wednesday evening.