Newly obtained bodycam footage appears to show a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy, who is now under criminal investigation, put a woman into a chokehold during an arrest.
The video, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) by Lake and McHenry County Scanner, is from a June 17 arrest of four suspects in Woodstock.
The Woodstock Police Department responded around 5 a.m. June 17 to Blain’s Farm and Fleet, 11501 Route 14, for a report of a burglary.
Woodstock Police Chief John Lieb said officers found a fence that surrounds the rear of the property which had been cut and damaged, and property had been taken.
Officers developed information that identified a possible location of the stolen property, Lieb said.
Four people, identified as William M. Culley, Benjamin M. Holden, Andrea R. Nielsen, and Cody A. Shambo, were located by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.
They were found to be in possession of a vehicle and an open trailer that contained two riding lawnmowers, Lieb said.
The two riding lawnmowers and trailer were confirmed to be property of Blain’s Farm and Fleet and had been stolen from the business.
During the four suspects’ arrest, a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy can be seen on a Woodstock police officer’s bodycam approaching a vehicle.
The sheriff’s deputy pulls out a woman, identified as Nielsen, from the passenger seat of the vehicle.
The deputy then appears to put Nielsen in a chokehold as she resists arrest. The woman yells “Stop! You’re choking me!”
After the deputy and another officer take Nielsen to the ground to put her in handcuffs, she continues to yell “You choked the f–k out of me!”
Illinois law prohibits police officers from using chokeholds unless deadly force is justified.
“Chokehold” is defined as applying any direct pressure to the throat, windpipe, or airway of another with the intent to reduce or prevent the intake of air.
A chokehold does not include any holding involving contact with the neck that is not intended to reduce the intake of air, according to Illinois statue.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said on July 25 that the Woodstock Police Department sent them the bodycam video a month prior. The sheriff’s office said that the video appeared to show “inappropriate use of force.”
Sheriff’s officials conferred with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office and it was determined that sufficient evidence existed warranting a criminal investigation into the deputy’s actions.
The sheriff’s office placed the deputy on paid administrative leave and stripped the deputy of his law enforcement powers.
“The Sheriff’s Office holds all of its employees accountable to the criminal statutes set forth by the State of Illinois and its internal policy and procedures, in order to ensure that it can uphold its mission to protect and serve those in McHenry County,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement.
The nameplate on the deputy’s uniform showed “T. Bengston.” Public records show only one employee at the sheriff’s office with that name — Timothy Bengston.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office refused to comment, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.
Shambo, 32, of the 100 block of East Railroad Street in Sandwich, and Culley, 39, of the 300 block of Wellington Street in Elgin, were both charged with burglary, theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal damage to property.
Holden, 23, of the 400 block of Bluff City Boulevard in Elgin, was charged with burglary, theft and possession of a controlled substance.
Nielson, 30, of the 1000 block of Perry Drive in Algonquin, was charged with burglary, theft and criminal damage to property.
All four suspects were taken into custody and transported to the McHenry County jail.