A judge found an O’Fallon woman guilty of resisting arrest but said the arrest was unlawful on July 24 during an interaction in December between her and police.
Kathryn Mister alleged an O’Fallon officer wrongfully arrested her during an altercation about a rescue dog she had taken in on New Year’s Eve. Mister runs the nonprofit animal foster program Once Upon A Prayer at 970 Old Vincennes Trail.
On July 24, Judge John O’Gara found Mister guilty of resisting arrest. She was issued a $350 fine, 100 hours of community service and court supervision.
Mister, however, said O’Gara agreed with her that the arrest was unlawful.
“He said because I resisted at all, even if I stepped back an inch, I was resisting arrest. Even if the arrest was unlawful,” Mister said.
In Illinois, citizens cannot resist arrest even if the arrest is invalid, according to Illinois case law.
Mister also said the judge ordered her to do community service but said she could perform it at her own rescue program.
On New Year’s Eve, O’Fallon Police Sgt. Eric Buck went to Mister’s house after getting a call that Mister was keeping a dog that did not belong to her. Mister said she was taking care of a husky named Frost that had been shot with a BB gun and was found in a dump.
Surveillance video from Mister’s house on Dec. 31 shows about an hour-long interaction between Mister and O’Fallon Police that ended in Mister’s arrest.
Mister refused to give up the dog, and Buck told her that she could either give up the dog or be arrested.
“I told him it ‘was a civil matter, this is overstepping what you’re supposed to be doing,’” Mister said in a previous interview. “He said he can do whatever he wants.”
At 8:54 p.m., surveillance footage shows another officer going to the house, and Mister let him in. The officers and Mister stood in the kitchen talking for about 7 minutes.
Buck asked the second officer, identified as Officer T. Bates, to get a dog leash from the police department, which is about half a mile from Mister’s home. At 9:02 p.m., Bates is seen walking outside and talking on the phone.
Mister started talking on the phone on the opposite side of the kitchen from Buck. She said she had asked Buck to leave multiple times and when he refused, she called 911.
At 9:04 p.m., footage shows Buck suddenly walking across the kitchen, where he began to put Mister under arrest for “making a false 911 call,” the report said.
Mister said the officer “put his hands on me” and “jerked me” as he put handcuffs on her. In the report, Buck said Mister tensed her arms, attempted to pull away from him and physically resisted the arrest.
In a previous interview, Police Chief Eric Van Hook said he could not comment fully on the pending case, but he believed his officers “do an excellent job of gathering all the facts, evaluating them and applying discretion appropriately.”
He added, “I stand behind the officers’ decisions and think they used a great amount of restraint in the situation.”