Weather Updates

Coal City firefighter sues for false arrest over post-tornado looting charge

Updated: December 25, 2013 6:49AM

A Coal City firefighter who was arrested on a looting charge after tornadoes struck last week has filed a federal lawsuit claiming a Will County sheriff’s officer made up the story he used to justify the arrest.

The firefighter, Michael Barrow, was arrested in downstate Diamond and charged with looting a tobacco shop last Sunday after a tornado, Will County sheriff’s police said at the time.

Prosecutors later decided there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge Barrow, and the case was referred back to the sheriff’s police. According to the lawsuit, the charge was dropped Monday.

Barrow and his wife, Kaylie Barrow, are asking for at least $1.75 million in damages.

Kaylie Barrow’s great-grandmother, the owner of the property, called from Arizona and asked the Barrows to search for keepsakes, according to the lawsuit, filed Friday.

They were near the barn when Will County sheriff’s Deputy Michael Blouin approached and “immediately” handcuffed Michael Barrow and accused him of trespassing and looting according to the suit, which says: “To justify the arrest, defendant Blouin fabricated a scenario in which he found Michael at a commercial establishment located several acres away.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.