Federal lawsuit against Freeport Police and mayor dismissed - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Federal lawsuit against Freeport Police and mayor dismissed

Chief Deputy Jeff Davis (left), Mayor George Gaulrapp (middle) and his sister Mary Leverington talk about lawsuit against them. Chief Deputy Jeff Davis (left), Mayor George Gaulrapp (middle) and his sister Mary Leverington talk about lawsuit against them.
Artman's property in Freeport. Artman's property in Freeport.

A federal judge tosses a lawsuit alleging Freeport Police, the mayor and his sister harassed another Freeport couple. Now the defendants are speaking out about the claims.

The complaint says this all happened in 2010 when Mayor George Gaulrapp was running for congress. It claims the plaintiffs' support of Gaulrapp's opponent sparked all of this.

"Very surprising. All the allegations that I read I felt they were false. There were no basis for them." says Deputy Chief Jeff Davis, Freeport Police Dept.

In the complaint, Rhonda and Douglas Artman say their neighbor and Mayor George Gaulrapp's sister, Mary Leverington, repeatedly called police with complaints about them. The complaints ranged from things like the Artmans leaving their outside lights on to not wanting their son to play baseball in his own driveway.  They say this happened more than 50 times. The Artman's say Leverington made the complaints because her brother told her to and that it was the same reason the police made repeated stops to Artman's home.

"People think they can go after elected officials no matter whether they are innocent or guilty what my main concern is that they tried to put a stain on the Freeport Police Department. Jeff Davis, he is independent. He and Chief Whitmore do what is best for the citizens of Freeport and our police department," says Mayor George Gaulrapp.

A judge threw out the lawsuit. But Leverington says it doesn't take away what she and her husband had to go through. Leverington had to pay $9,000 to fight it.

"This cost us financially and emotionally especially to my husband who has a heart problem. This should have never happened. Innocent people shouldn't be allowed to be sued like this," says Leverington.

WREX contacted Rhonda Artman but she did not want to speak on camera. She says despite the dismissal they have hired a new attorney and plan to re-file their harassment case. They were representing themselves because their original attorney asked to be withdrawn as counsel before the case was dismissed.

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