Officer Howard Bethel, Williams was detained and not released until bail was posted.
Williams subsequently brought a two-count complaint, alleging: (1) a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and (2) a state violation for false arrest and imprisonment.
Defendants request dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the Eleventh Amendment grants immunity from suit in federal court. The Court agrees.
Williams, in response to Defendants' motion to dismiss, concedes that the Board of Trustees (captioned as "The University of Illinois") is immune from suit in federal court. See Kroll v. Bd. of Trustees of Univ. of Illinois, 934 F.2d 904 (7th Cir. 1991).
Regarding The University of Illinois Police Department, the Court does not believe that--like virtually all city or local police departments --it is a suable entity. See Reese v. City of Chicago Police Dep't, 602 F. Supp. 441, 443 (N.D. Ill. 1984). Rather, because the police department does not enjoy a separate legal existence independent of the university (or, more accurately stated, the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois), it and the university/Board of Trustees are essentially one in the same. See Ladien v. Bd. of Trustees, Univ. of Illinois, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10216, No. 93-C-6573, WL 395078 *7 (N.D. Ill. July 27, 1994) (research division established by the Board of Trustees entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity). Accordingly, as indicated above, as the Board of Trustees, it is immune from suit in federal court.
Regarding the individual officers, each was sued only in his official capacity. Indeed, as stated in paragraph seven of the complaint:
Each and all of the acts of defendants alleged herein were committed by defendants, and each of them, not as individuals, but under the color and pretense of the statutes, ordinances, regulations, customs, and usages of the State of Illinois, the University of Illinois, and under the authority of their office as police officers for said state and university.