EDWARDSVILLE, Illinois – A Madison County Grand Jury indicted former Collinsville police officer Luke Tillman Thursday on four counts of Obstruction of Justice from his actions at a traffic stop in November 2011.
According to documents, Tillman pulled over a 50-year-old female for failure to display any registration in November. Later reports found that the women had a valid driver’s license and no warrants despite Tillman’s contradictory claims.
After pulling the women over, Tillman searched her car and found a potential “crack pipe”. He took her into custody to get lab results on the pipe. After examining the pipe and a review of the facts from Tillman’s report in January, the woman was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance.
While the woman’s case was still being figured out, the defense attorney notified the state attorney’s office that they come across some information that the female driver had in fact shown Tillman a valid temporary registration stuck to her car.
This finding drove the defense attorney to ask if there were video and audio recordings from the November traffic stop. There was no mention of this in Tillman’s report. According to Collinsville police, it is protocol that audio and video recordings are to be collected at all traffic stops. It’s also police policy to log the video if the end result is a felony charge, similar to the circumstances of the female driver and Tillman.
Investigations uncovered that there was no mention of the posted valid temporary registration of the driver’s vehicle. Also, video and audio recordings were available but there was no mention of this in Tillman’s report. The video recordings provide evidence that the women driver showed her temporary registration. More importantly, the audio recordings indicate that Tillman and the driver were neighbors.
With this information, in March the state’s attorney’s office dismissed the felony charge for the female driver and began investigating Tillman. Tillman was eventually suspended by the Collinsville Police Department.
“Our system is not based upon convicting persons at all costs,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas D. Gibbons. “When filing felony charges against any citizen, causing them to be arrested, fingerprinted, booked and separated from their families we must rely on the police reports being factually accurate, truthful and without omissions. In this case my Warrant Officer was presented with a police report that was false, misleading and not factually accurate. I commend Chief Williams and the Collinsville Police Department for immediately investigating this matter and bringing it to our attention. The public must be able to have confidence that the justice system is fair and that no one is above the law. I am committed to maintaining the highest standards of justice for the people of Madison County.”
Prosecutors presented evidence to a Madison County Grand Jury resulting in the indictment. If convicted, the maximum penalty for a Class 4 Felony is probation up to 3 years in prison.
Tillman’s bond was set at $10,000.