Self-Defense Claim Based on Evidence That Demonstrates That Defendant Was Afraid
In People v. Sims, 374 Ill. App. 3d 427, 871 N.E.2d 153, 312 Ill. Dec. 753 (2007), the defendant was prosecuted for battery and resisting arrest.
The trial court rejected the defendant's request for a self-defense instruction based on the officers' use of excessive force.
The evidence produced at trial showed that the defendant submitted peacefully to being handcuffed and was placed in the squad car without incident.
He did not use force against the officers until after his girlfriend arrived at the car.
Defendant asserted that he only resorted to force when one officer put his hands on defendant's girlfriend and then one of the officers threw defendant to the ground. Sims, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 433.
On appeal, the Sims court found that the trial court incorrectly denied the defendant's request for a self-defense instruction because the defendant produced evidence that demonstrated that he was afraid and was struggling to try to get away from the officers. Sims, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 435.
In addition, a jury could have reasonably believed that officers used excessive force where photographs of the defendant showed that he had sustained a swollen eye and numerous cuts and bruises. Sims, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 435.