Initial Hearing Held On $5M Lawsuit Against Dodge County, Feds

(Juneau) In a federal courtroom in Chicago Thursday, an initial status hearing was held for a civil case brought by a Beaver Dam man who says he was held illegally in the Dodge County Jail. Selepri Amachree is seeking $5-million dollars in damages from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department Homeland Security and Dodge County, among others. Amachree was arrested by Immigration agents on February 27, 2017 and released on a judge’s order on September 8, 2017.

The complaint alleges that Sheriff Dale Schmidt conspired with Immigration agents to detain Amachree, who was born in Liberia but came to America when he was three-years-old. A legal resident who has not applied for citizenship, Amachree had deportation ordered following a drug arrest nearly 20 years ago. However, the Supreme Court determined in 2006 that such drug offenses did not rise to the level of deportation.

In the lawsuit, Amachree claims his illegal detention was motivated by his work with recovering drug addicts in the county court system. His business, Xtreme Intervention, seeks to help people overcome addiction. His approach apparently clashed with the district attorney, who – according to emails included in the civil complaint – sought dirt on Amachree.

The sheriff apparently had a background check conducted that turned up Amachree’s sordid drug history, which he has never denied, along with other accusations. Among them, Amachree took money intended for rehabilitation programs and was blacklisted by rehab programs in some states, specifically Teen Challenge. Emails between the sheriff and DA obtained by Amachree through open records request – and included in the lawsuit – paint him as a “conman” who was arrested decades ago in Illinois for breaking into homes and touching women’s feet and then, more recently, was accused of rubbing client’s feet.

Amachree calls the claims defamatory and baseless. Foot rubs, he contends, are therapeutic and supported by reflexologists. The records from Illinois do not exist and conversations with retired law enforcement there, his attorney argues, is mere hearsay.

Amachree says he collects a $3500 retainer from clients for intervention services, successfully helping over 300 people get clean while emphasizing that he is not associated with a rehab facility, i.e. Teen Challenge.

Amachree says the conspiracy is bolstered by an email in which the sheriff writes “I have no evidence at this time to proceed with a criminal investigation.” Another email from an Immigration officer to the county states that ICE would arrest and book Amachree into the Dodge County Jail (quote) “so long as everything checks out.”  The plaintiff’s attorney says in 800 pages of records obtained from the Chicago and Milwaukee Immigration offices, there is no record of an attempt to check on his status.

Amachree tells that the most difficult part was missing his father’s funeral. County officials say they cannot comment on pending litigation. A status hearing on the case is scheduled in Chicago later this month.


Read the full complaint here:

434 (1)