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Qwantrell Ayers was brought into a courtroom Friday morning, Jan. 21, 2011, in a wheelchair. He claims that the previous Friday, Jan. 14, he was kicked in the back, his groin, and had his leg injured by Sgt. Johnson in the Champaign County jail. He has been in and out of Carle Hospital three times since the alleged beating due to internal bleeding described as “excessive.” A colostomy bag was attached during surgery after he was having difficulty urinating. His leg is also swollen making it difficult to walk.
He was in court for a ruling on his fitness to stand trial for criminal charges against him. After a report filed by Champaign psychiatrist Dr. Jeckel, Qwantrell was ruled to be unfit by Judge Heidi Ladd and will receive treatment at the McFarland Mental Health Center in Springfield. Also in the courtroom was Qwantrell’s mother, who I spoke with in order to get her son’s account of what happened.
Qwantrell’s mother says she was speaking on the phone with her son in the jail that Friday when their call was cut short. She said there was dead air briefly, she heard her son screaming, and the phone was hung up. This was when, according to Qwantrell, he was brutally beaten by Sgt. Johnson.
Curiously, Chamapign County Sheriff Dan Walsh stood at the back of the courtroom during the hearing with folded arms. During recess, I approached Walsh to ask why Qwantrell was in a wheelchair, but he said he would not talk to me. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has been filed for any public documents related to the incident or subsequent investigation by the Sheriff’s office.
The afternoon of the hearing, Qwantrell’s mother received a call from her son who had already been moved to the Kankakee County jail. Why, she did not know.